GTS stands for “Going Through Some Stuff.” In the context of texting and digital communication, GTS is a widely used acronym for communicating that one is dealing with personal issues of varying levels of severity or intensity. It is a general expression used to inform friends or colleagues of a current emotional and/or psychological state, or to refer to a difficult period one is going through. In this way, GTS provides a platform for vulnerable conversations between people who may not wish to–or feel comfortable–talking about the specifics.
The phrase ‘Going Through Some Stuff’ was first recorded in the Urban Dictionary in 2013. Initially, it was used in spoken conversations as a way of quickly communicating a difficult and often painful emotional state. By 2020, GTS has become a popular internet acronym, often seen in online forums, social media messages, or text messages between friends and family.
Part of the appeal of GTS is its ambiguity. Unlike more specific phrases such as ‘I’m sad’ or ‘I’m having a rough time,’ GTS offers an opportunity for self-expression without having to explain exactly what is going on. This format of communication may be especially useful within larger social networks, where a person may not be comfortable divulging details of their personal life. While this lack of specificity can be distressing to those on the receiving end who may not know what to say or do in response, GTS can provide a discreet and non-threatening way of opening up the conversation and beginning a dialogue.
Besides its practical use, GTS also serves as a form of online solidarity. For many, the phrase carries a sense of shared understanding, and can be comforting during hard times. In a world of relatability and self-care, GTS can represent a collective effort to be kinder to ourselves and to lend support to one another. As with any online phrase, context is key. In some instances, GTS may be used as an insincere plea for attention or sympathy. Whenever GTS appears in a message, it is important to ask questions and check in with the sender to try and better understand what they are going through.
GTS is a modern tool for effective communication, allowing people to share their feelings without fear of judgement. In a giftwrapped world of filtered images, GTS provides proof that we all make mistakes and face challenges—but that’s okay. Each of us is capable of finding our own way, and GTS is a reminder of that.