Real life

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This article is about the phrase. For other uses, see Real Life.

The phrase real life is generally used to mean life outside of an environment that is generally seen as contrived or fantastical, such as a movie or MMORPG. It is also sometimes used synonymously with real world to mean one's existence after he or she is done with schooling and is no longer supported by parents.

The phrase is most often used to refer to events that the speaker believes more important than those in which the addressed has indulged. However, many speakers use the phrase "real life" in an ironic sense as a better alternative for their own activities, which may be objectively valued as important.

This phrase may relate to the American saying "Get a Life", allegedly popularised by William Shatner on the television show Saturday Night Live in 1987 in a comedy sketch where he played himself interacting with a group of Star Trek fans. The phrase in the show implied that none of the fans had a "real life", and that they needed to move out of their parents' basement, get a job, a girlfriend, and buy a house with a mortgage.

However, many people involved in activities not seen as "real" admit that they feel some or all of the time that they would be happier without a "real life".


RL abbreviates for "real life", with the meaning "not on the Internet." For example, one can speak of meeting in RL someone whom one has met in chat or on a message board, or of inability to use the Internet for a time due to "RL problems".

"In real life" often abbreviates to IRL.

Contrariwise, some claim that the Internet is real life; after all, the people on the other end of the connection exist as real people with real lives. Some prefer the expression f2f (face to face) for that reason.

"Real Life" forms the physical home to the controllers of the avatars and the builders of Second Life.

Some cybernauts use another idiom to convey the concept of "real life" or "in real life": meatspace, which contrasts with the cyberspace of Internet life.

See also: quality timede:Real Life (Netzkultur) nl:IRL

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