What Does RL Mean in Texting?

Woman looking at smartphone

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The abbreviation RL stands for "real life" in the truncated parlance of the internet. It is used to reference "my other responsibilities" or "what I do when I am not on the computer." A variation is IRL, which stands for "in real life." 

RL is a common expression among groups that spend significant online time together, such as IM chat buddies, online gamers, and people who work on virtual teams.

RL can also be used in lowercase letters.

Examples of RL Usage

First user: Come on... let's run another dungeon. Just for an hour!

Second user: Sry, man, RL is calling. If I don't cook dinner for the kids now, they'll hassle me all night for macaroni and cheese.

Third user: LOL! RL is overrated, and you have too many kids anyways, hahaha

Another Example

theRanger: What do you do irl?

Queequeg: Well, I used to be a cruise director. But now I'm unemployed

theRanger: What happened?

Queequeg: The boat sank

theRanger: :^O

Queequeg: FML

Although the RL expression has begun to filter into colloquial communications in modern English, like some other internet abbreviations and memes online, its meaning may still be unknown to many. It should not be used in any formal or professional discourse.