What Does TBH Mean on Instagram? All You Need To Know

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Oct 31, 2023

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With more than one billion active monthly users, Instagram is a popular social media platform among adults and teenagers worldwide. Gen Z kids heavily rely on Instagram to message their friends and family. If you use Instagram, you’ve probably come across a few acronyms commonly used by Gez Z. 

So, what does TBH mean on Instagram? Or the other abbreviations? 

They’re everyday slang that people use in conversations or texts to make lengthy text short. For instance, TBH stands for “To Be Honest,” but it can also have other meanings on Instagram.

This article will walk you through everything you need to know, including TBH’s meaning on Instagram and more. 

A girl communicating with her friends on Instagram.

What Does TBH Mean on Instagram Exactly?

TBH stands for “To be Honest.” It’s a common slang that people use on Instagram to express their honest opinions. This honest opinion can either be about people or posts. It can also describe changes in opinion during conversations. While TBH refers to positive thoughts mostly, people might also use it to express negative opinions about something. 

People use this slang term widely in daily conversations on social media platforms, particularly on Instagram. Gen Z often uses TBH in their stories, posts, and comments. While scrolling on Instagram, you may encounter Instagram stories like:

  • “Reply for a TBH”
  •  “Send a heart for TBH.”
  •  Or a comment like, “TBH, cuz I feel bored.”

When someone requests a TBH, people typically respond with candid statements like ‘You’re funny’ or ‘I have a crush on you.’ Here’s another example of how to use TBH during conversation:

  • User 1: Hey, you alright? You look sad.
  • User 2: TBH, I don’t know.

An influencer doing a quick "AMA: Ask Me Anything" session. 

TBH No Longer Just Means “To Be Honest” on Instagram

TBH, which stands for “To Be Honest” or “To Be Heard,” has evolved significantly over time. A report in The Washington Post highlights how a 13-year-old teenage girl uses “TBH” on Instagram to increase her likes and comments. She posts, “Like all my pictures for a TBH, comment when done.” This prompts her IG follower list to engage with her posts using likes or comments, increasing her account’s popularity. 

While TBH traditionally means “To Be Honest,” she writes “positive comments” for her followers, keeping them engaged. 

Likewise, you can use TBH to start conversations with people you don’t know well. Instead of sending random messages, exchange TBHs to make conversations easy. It also helps teens connect with their crushes. Nowadays, TBH often involves rating, like “TBH and Rate,” where users give a numeric score, typically on a 1-10 scale. 

Social media users continuously create new slang and acronyms from these existing terms. Now that you know TBH and other slang abbreviations, here are some essential Instagram terms you can use in conversations:

A content creator browses through the latest online slang.

Trending and Popular Internet Slang Users Use on Instagram

Both teens and adults use a multitude of short words (acronyms) on popular social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Some common internet slang used during conversation include TBH, FOMO, and PM. If you use social apps, especially Instagram, you must know what these words mean. 

Here’s a list of trending and popular words and what they stand for on Instagram:

  • D.M. means “Direct Message.”
  • PM means “Private Message.”
  • AMA means “Ask Me Anything.”
  • BRB means “Be Right Back.”
  • BTS means “Behind The Scenes”
  • BTW means “By The Way.”
  • DAE means “Does Anyone Else?”
  • DYK means “Did You Know?”
  • FBF means “Flashback Friday.”
  • F.F. means “Follow Friday.”
  • FOMO means “Fear Of Missing Out.”
  • FYI means “For Your Information.”
  • GTR means “Got To Run.”
  • HIFW means “How I Feel When.”
  • HMB means “Hit Me Back.”
  • ICYMI means “In Case You Missed It.”
  • IRL means “In Real Life.”
  • LMK means “Let Me Know.”
  • LMS means “Like My Status.”
  • MCM means “Man Crush Monday.”
  • MFW means “My Face When.”

Potential Problems With the Online Slang

Online abbreviations or slang are common on the internet, and a Gen Z likely knows more of them than anyone else. But it’s important to note that not all acronyms are friendly, and you may not be aware of this. Below are a few instances to be aware of when dealing with social media. 

1. Cyberbullying

Teenagers are the biggest targets of cyberbullying. According to a report, 41% of U.S. internet users experience online harassment. And internet slang might be a contributing factor. Cyberbullying includes demeaning behavior, embarrassing remarks, threats, and harassment on online platforms. 

The “Cyberbullying Research Center” reports that 31% of young adults say peers misunderstand their texts or social media posts. In addition to that, 38% of users experience daily cyberbullying on various social platforms, including Instagram. Many use hurtful internet slang or take advantage of misunderstandings. 

2. Online Predators

Online predators, including sex offenders and drug dealers, exploit teens’ internet lingo to connect with them. The “Journal of Adolescent Health” reports that one in five youths aged 9 to 17 will experience unwanted sexual content online. Moreover, one in nine teens will receive unwelcome online solicitations. 

It’s crucial to stay informed about current internet slang to protect young people around you from such predators.

An older woman learns internet slang from her daughter.

Online Slang: Tips and Tricks for Parents

It’s natural for parents to worry about online slang risks and their teen’s online activities. However, there are practical tips you can take to ensure your kids’ online safety and peace of mind.

  • Teach Tech Skills: Don’t assume your kids are tech-savvy. Teach them essential digital skills and responsible online behavior, and encourage them to communicate openly about internet issues.
  • Discuss Sexting: Have open conversations with your teens about the risks and legal consequences of sexting.
  • Online Stranger Safety: Focus on the dangers of interacting with strangers online, whether through messaging, calls, or sharing personal information and pictures.
  • Parental Controls: Employ parental control settings on shared devices to restrict access and set time limits for internet usage.
  • Limit Screen Time: Encourage a healthy balance by limiting screen time, allowing more time for homework, family activities, and a good night’s sleep.
  • Address Cyberbullying: Discuss strategies for dealing with cyberbullying, including how to block on Instagram.
  • Enforce Consequences: If the teen engages in inappropriate online behavior, establish clear consequences, such as temporarily restricting device usage to promote responsible use.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with internet slang and Instagram trends. You can use various online resources or ask your children and community members about slang terms you don’t know. 

By following these tips, you create a safer online environment for your teenagers and maintain open communication about internet experiences.

Scale Your Instagram Profile With Path Social

So, what does TBH mean on Instagram? It means ‘to be honest.’ People use it to express their opinions, placing it at the start or end of sentences. You can use TBH in various ways on Instagram and in daily conversations. Whether you talk to family, friends, clients, or coworkers,  TBH shows you’re being honest and upfront.

Want to know how to use TBH the right way to increase Instagram engagement and follower count? Choose Path Social! We provide customized tips, tools, and strategies to empower your Instagram profile. We aim to empower you to unlock the true potential of your account, increase followers, and go viral.  

Don’t wait to learn what TBH means and how to use it – let Path Social help you get there. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!