K.

Here’s the second A-Z Challenge guest blogger. Welcome Amanda from Amanda Under Construction


It’s said in response to long meaningful messages, when the sender isn’t sure of what to say or is annoyed/bothered by the recipient. It’s sent when the sender is indifferent towards the recipient. It’s used when the sender is angry and unwilling to compromise.

We dread it— we’ve said it. It’s “K.,” the infamous single letter text response that implies so much, yet says so little.

What makes that one letter so frustrating?

kIt suggests that something is wrong, and it has no substance or feeling. It drives the recipient crazy with worry and annoyance, hoping that he/she hasn’t done anything to hurt the sender. It means that the sender doesn’t care about the person they’re sending the “K.” to, that they’re uninterested and unfeeling, and that they just don’t give a shit, which can be really hurtful.

It’s easy to disregard people’s feelings sometimes, especially when one’s tone is unintended. Especially in online environments, when the interpretation of some messages can literally be anything. For example, I was texting my friend the other day and he suggested something to me, to which I simply replied: “Okay.” It might not have been a “K.,” but he read this as: “Amanda is being sassy and hates me and doesn’t want anything to do with me and doesn’t care about what I have to say,” which just wasn’t true.

Our generation (especially) communicates so casually. We message each other through Facebook and text each other using shorthand, not thinking about what we’re actually saying. A lot of people forget the permanence of words, especially words that are displayed on a screen. They forget that the message oftentimes seems more serious for a lot of people when it’s typed out. They forget the implication of language, and that’s something that needs to be acknowledged.

k2This might be because a lot of people don’t take college life/conversations/friendships seriously. They don’t see/feel a need to be formal in how they communicate, because they assume that no one really cares about what they say or how they say it. They assume that college has this certain level of understanding between peers—that no one cares really about how something is said, just as long as something is communicated in the end.

Sometimes you’ll want to send that “K.” text. You’ll want to let the recipient know that yes, something is bothering you, yes, they did something wrong, and yes, you want them to acknowledge that. I’ve done it before—I’ve made that mistake. What it does is create more drama, creates more problems, and it can strain your relationship with the person you’re sending it to. What has worked for me in the past is open communication—openly stating that something is wrong and there’s something you’re not cool with. That way it can be addressed and you can move on.

Think before you “K.”


Amanda Livingston is currently a student at Ithaca College majoring in Writing. She has previously held internships at Random House, the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and Westchester Magazine. Amanda is the Managing Editor of and contributing writer to The MissInformation, a copy editor for The Ithacan, a contributing writer to Buzzsaw Magazine, and a 2013 recipient of the New York Women in Communications scholarship. She previously ran her own newsletter and created an English language arts tutorial program for middle school students.

This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here

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30 thoughts on “K.

    • “K” is fine if there’s more there, but in isolation it can seem passive-aggressive. If you’re responding to a simple message (“I’ll be there at 8” “K”) then it’s fine, but for anything more in-depth I’d just be conscious of it :)

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    • She probably knows you didn’t mean it in a passive-aggressive way because you’re likely not as immersed in “texting culture.” Our generation knows the implication behind “K” and thus it’s a dangerous weapon.

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  1. Ooops. I often send “K” as shorthand for OK, as in agreeing with something. Texting is indeed dangerous as responses can easily be misconstrued and get the sender in a whole lot of trouble.

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    • I wouldn’t worry about it too much–like I said to another commenter, if it’s a simple question/statement, “K” doesn’t hurt, but for complex messages it becomes flippant.

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  2. I think the use varies from person to person — I use “K” plenty of times, but usually when it’s a short communication: “coffee?” “4. Usual place?” “k”
    But, then, most of my texting is used for just that, coordinating a time in order to meet up with someone face to face.
    With friends and family there’s an understanding of the meaning, but if I’m texting with someone who doesn’t have the same understanding I try to be very careful (as hard as it can be!)

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  3. I do not use short hand to text, but I do not spend a large amount of time trying to figure out if someone is dismissing me over a text message. I only text message with maybe two or three people tops, and I like to keep it that way. On Facebook I might like and comment on a few people’s posts, but I always write all words out. I am sure there is a purpose for the K, I just do not see myself using it.

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  4. Same as other commenters — I use it all the time to acknowledge short, informational texts. But if someone’s told you something personal, or even phrased the short text as a question, “k” by itself is a mean response!

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    • “Kk” is considered the least passive-aggressive response among choices of “k” “ok” “okay”, at least in my generation’s bizarre structure. 3 Ks, though, is definitely not OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: On The #AtoZChallenge | Victim to Charm

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