I know that "lol" originally meant "laughing out loud", but do you actually laugh when you're typing it? 😳
For me it's literally like this :
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The whisper thing nailed it pretty much right on.
When I say lol (or just a four letter haha for that matter), I actually am either making a joke, or generally feeling positive about my comment. If I say LOL/hahahaha/😂/lmao/rofl and the variants, I am actually laughing at it.
I use lol to convey that I am generally in a good-ish mood or trying to be positive or maybe make a joke.
If you say "Oh wow." That could be taken as a shock/surprised reaction with negative connotation.
If you say "Lol oh wow." It still may be taken as a negative reaction depending on the person, but it softens it up a little. It makes it sound more... Friendly.1