What Does TBH Mean on Instagram

TBH is one of the more confusing Instagram initialisms, at least for Gen X and millennials. The latter will probably say, “TBH is short for ‘to be honest.’” To this, zoomers will immediately reply, “Not the way you say it!” Indeed, for many of us, TBH is often followed with a curt remark, a bitter truth. But for Gen Z, TBH meaning on Instagram decidedly implies a positive, warm feeling. Wondering how that could be? Let’s try to understand.

What Does TBH Stand For?

The full form of TBH still remains “to be honest,” but the way in which it is used has changed. You see, we can be as honest with compliments as with insults. Teens today have harnessed the power of “TBH” to uplift others by sharing their honest opinions, focusing on genuine compliments and encouraging words that boost self-esteem and foster a positive online environment. Still confused? It gets easier with an example.

cost of instagram promotion

Imagine that a zoomer, Jim, has uploaded a new image on Instagram. He has received quite a few likes and comments on it, but he wants more. So he will add the caption, ‘Like for a TBH!’ Many of us will start thinking, “Why should we like you for your honesty? Shouldn’t you be honest all the time? What are they teaching kids at school these days – to lie?” Ah, now, don’t be so hasty to judge!

‘Like for a TBH’ simply means that if you like Jim’s post, then he will comment on one of your posts something along the lines of, “TBH you’ve got great taste in clothes,” or “TBH I like your hair,” or “TBH I love this look,” and so on. He may also DM you a TBH, complimenting you personally. In short, TBH meaning in Instagram stories or posts is simply a way to compliment someone or appreciate someone for something they did.

It’s usually in exchange for a like or a comment. TBH is a sort of Instagram currency in that regard. If you really need more engagement on your posts, you can increase the price and say, “Comment for two TBH(s).” Both users benefit that way. You get the like or comment you want, and the other person receives a pleasing compliment.

How the Meaning of TBH has Changed Over Time

People have been using the phrase ‘to be honest’ for generations. It is usually followed with a blunt truth, something that will disappoint the listener. But over time, people probably realized that the truth doesn’t always need to be harsh, so they started using it to say something honestly good about a person. And today, teens almost exclusively use it to give out compliments, for that’s what TBH means on Instagram, and we believe it is here to stay. Also, it might be because there is already too much hatred in the world!

Other Trending Terms on Instagram

TBH isn’t the only term that is trending on Insta. Here are a few others to add to your hip vocab.

PM – Private Message, an alternative to DM (Direct Message)

AMA – Ask Me Anything

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out

HMU – Hit Me Up

SMH – Shaking My Head

MTFBWY – May the Force Be With You

Wrapping Up

We hope you now have at least some idea of this trending initialism. All in all, TBH on Instagram still means “to be honest.” Only the kind of sentence that follows it has changed. Earlier, people dreaded hearing or reading what came after, TBH. Today, we look forward to it! 

Maddie Schultz
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