What Is BFF? What Does BFF Stand For?

An illustration of the term 'bff' being used on a smartphone.

 Nusha Ashjaee ©Lifewire

BFF commonly stands for "Best Friends Forever," a form of written digital affection in the 21st century.

BFF is often used as an adolescent expression by teenage girls to express camaraderie, but is sometimes used by twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings to humorously describe their close friends. This expression is used both in uppercase or lowercase format when typed into an email or instant message.

Example of BFF In Text Usage:

(User 1) I need your help.

(User 2) Wut u need?

(User 1) I need you to help paint my living room next weekend

(User 2) WHA

(User  er 1) I'm painting the living room. And as my BFF you are obliged to help me

(User er 2) So that's how it is

(User 1) Yup. This is universal law.

(User 2) And what exactly should a BFF bring with her to your painting party?

(User 1) just wear your ratty clothes and a ball cap.

Example of BFF In Game Chat Usage:

(Stdragon) anyone want to come help me with this world boss?

(Baerli) which world boss?

(Stdragon) Nithogg, up here in Stormheim.

(Jerisiel) I can come help you. Do you need heals?

(Stdragon) Jer! You are the bestest BFF ever! Yes, please bring your healer

(Jerisiel) OK, but I expect warlock cookies as payment!

Example of BFF In Daily Conversation:

(Karen) I need help selling these raffle tickets around the office

(Tuan) Raffle tickets? For what?

(Karen) This is a charity 50/50 for the United Way teen shelter

(Tuan) What do I have to do?

(Karen) Take a roll and this envelope and printout. Sell the tickets for $5 each, or 3 for $10. You need to write the person's name on here with their number of tickets.

(Lilian) I'll help! 

(Karen) You are a true BFF, girlfriend! Thank you!

(Tuan) OK, I'll help too.

(Karen) Aw, you're my new BFF, too, Tuan! Thank you!​

BFF has multiple related abbreviations:

  • BF (Boyfriend)
  • GF (Girlfriend)
  • Bestie (Best Friend)

Similar Expressions to BFF:

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations: 

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon. You are welcome use all uppercase (e.g. ROFL) or all lowercase (e.g. rofl), and the meaning is identical. Avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase, though, as that means shouting in online speak.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations. For example, the abbreviation for 'Too Long, Didn't Read' can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are acceptable format, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L., and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L. 

Recommended Etiquette for Using Web and Texting Jargon 

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. And if you really want to show your BFF some love, you might consider sending them a best friend meme once in a while.

On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, then it is a good idea to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.

If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether. Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than doing the inverse.