“Ya”. The word. The slang. The bane of my overly-communicative existence. This post is about why I hate “ya”. I don’t actually hate you, although if you’re the kind of person who uses “ya” regularly, you probably think I’m talking about you – in which case I am and I do sort of hate you for using it in the first place. Well, not really you. But definitely the “word” (if it can even be called that).
Why all the hatred? Plenty of words get shortened in our txt-heavy society. Srsly. I mean I really shouldn’t worry about this particular one when “orly” and “LMAO” plague me on a daily basis. I fully understand that we often only have* 160 (or, for the Twitter-savvy, 140) characters to communicate in, so the poor defenseless vowels get dropped on a regular basis to save space so that, to an extent, even “txt” makes sense – but “ya”? “Ya” makes no sense. Last time I checked there wasn’t an “a” in “you”, making this one of those pointless abbreviations that only serves to diminish further the already truncated communication between people.
*You know, outside of actually talking to each other.
And actually, as much as I hate senseless abbreviations**, it’s not the illogical abbreviation itself that bothers my logical right brain so much as the overly casual usage of the word. It’s the context in which “ya” is often used that really gets me. “Ya” seems to most often be accompanied by a little bit of guilt or insecurity on the part of the sender that makes the message in which it resides feel slightly insincere, like there’s an ulterior motive attached to it.
**For the record, I’m guilty of “shud”. I know, right? Hypocrite.
Consider the following:
(Note: Texts and messages listed here not in any way based on actual events or individuals.)
Text: “Haven’t heard from ya in a while! ;-)”
Message: “Hey! I’m feeling kind of neglected and am going to make this message seem all casual and breezy by not saying ‘I haven’t heard fromyou’so that I don’t seem accusatory but I’m going to guilt you just a little by saying the word without saying the word, because I really haven’t heard from you and I’m irritated about it. Call me!”
Text: “Didn’t hear from ya last night – what’d ya do?”
Message: “I didn’t hear from you when I thought you’d call and was waiting around all night and by 11PM had convinced myself that you didn’t spend the night at your friend Amy’s like you said and since you were out at a bar you probably got drunk and took someone home and are feeling pretty guilty this morning aren’t you you little whore?! P.S. I miss you, love you baby. ;)”
Text: “I’ll txt ya.”
Message: “You’re exactly like every other person in my address book and have no importance whatsoever for me to communicate with you in a way that’s specific to this relationship and as such you probably shouldn’t expect to hear from me any time soon.”
I’m well aware that “ya” is becoming (or perhaps, has become, and I’m just a late adopter) a standard and acceptable slang word in social networking communication – whether that’s texting, Twitter, Facebook or others. I know that sometimes “ya” doesn’t mean any of the above snarky messages that I personally interpret it to mean – that sometimes it’s just subconscious use of a social norm, or a way to save space while texting, or whatever. But at least in my experience, the people who most often use it aren’t comfortable with themselves emotionally to use the weightier “you”, or with the depth of the relationship*** or lack thereof) that we share. Traditionally “ya” isn’t used in actual conversation, much like how you don’t say LOL, you only write LOL (thanks Happy Hour Sue and Jesus for clarifying), so for some reason, seeing “ya” written out always feels like a slap in the face – like somehow our relationship isn’t worth using the actual words. While the word “you” doesn’t have to carry more weight than its poorly abbreviated counterpart, it does convey more respect. In my mind, at least, the use of “you” as opposed to “ya” means that we’re willing to open the door via SMS or social networks to a real conversation – regardless of the topic.
***”Relationship” being used loosely here to denote friendship, romantic connection or professional interaction. Also if we’re speaking as professionals, don’t ever say, “I’ll call ya!”. ‘Cause guess what? I won’t call ya back.
It’s not all about me and what I want. I know this. I’m sure my overly effusive (“OMG hiiiiiiiii how are you I haven’t heard from you in forever!!!”) emails, texts and face-to-face conversations are a little overwhelming for my more reserved friends (for the record, I don’t really understand why you don’t want a hug, but I’ll work on respecting that) – and I’m sure my more proper grammar and sentence structuring via text irritates recipients when they get 176 character messages from me (176 characters = two messages, for the non-SMS savvy) that could have easily been sent in one. While I’m never a fan of formality (blog post to follow about that), it’s a fine line in this fast-paced society between functional messaging for the sake of immediate response and informality to the point relational irreverence.
But, hey – that’s just me.
When I receive those messages, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about me – it’s about how the other person communicates, and that’s fine. If I know the sender well enough, and have a sense of our relationship, it will be almost always obvious when there’s something else going on that’s buried in the “ya” – insecurity, guilt, frustration or just lack of basic communication ability – and that’s the point when, if the relationship is worth it, it’s time to have a face-to-face conversation.
And sometimes, I need to just count to 10, accept the word, and txt ya in return. Why? ‘Cause at the end of the day, I’m just happy to hear from you.