IBF – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you chatting to your best friend on Facebook or WhatsApp? You could call them your “IBF.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this acronym.


The acronym “IBF” stands for “Internet Best Friend.” You’ll often see people post it as “ibf” because they don’t want to take the time to enter capital letters in the chat. The expression describes a person you only communicate with online, not in the real world.

In most cases, you will have never met the person. They could live close to you, or in another country far away. If someone is your internet best friend, you speak to them frequently and communicate through platforms like messenger, WhatsApp, forums, or message boards.

You might want to meet your IBF at some stage, or you might enjoy the fact that you don’t ever have to meet them in a face-to-face setting. If someone is your IBF, you have a good relationship with them, and you get along well together.

Example Usage

“I’m going to meet my IBF this weekend. I can’t wait to see her for the first time. We’ve been chatting about this moment for years, and it’s finally here!”

“There is no way I would even want to meet my IBF. There are some boundaries that you don’t cross.”

“So, your internet best friend doesn’t want to meet up with you? That probably means he’s a 400-pound dude living in his parent’s basement, not a 13-year-old girl.”

“My IBF lives in Malta. She’s so far away, and I doubt we’ll get to meet each other.”

“My IBF and I communicate through Instagram DM’s and through WhatsApp. We’ve known each other for years.”

“I need to get hold of my IBF and let her know about my day. We speak to each other online every night, regardless of how we’re feeling.”

“My IBF is a huge source of support for me. I always feel more inspired and confident after talking to her for a bit.”


Language experts are unsure about the origin of the acronym “IBF.” The term originated sometime around 2005, after the introduction and mass adoption of instant messaging and cellphone messaging apps. The phrase would appear in chatrooms and message boards like 4Chan and Reddit as a way for people to say that the person they are communicating with is their best online friend.

The acronym experienced more adoption as the use of the internet spread during the first decade of the 2000s. By 2010, the phrase was already commonly used online. It’s a popular acronym in use today, and you’ll probably see it from time to time when browsing your text messages or reading online message boards.

Phrases Similar to IBF

  • BFF (Best Friends Forever).

Phrases Opposite to IBF

  • Troll.
  • Online bullying.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • IBF
  • Internet Best Friend.

Ways People May Say IBF Incorrectly

Some people may confuse IBF with other acronyms that don’t have anything to do with friendship. It’s common for people, especially men, to associate “IBF” with the “International Boxing Federation.” Other acronyms include; Integrated Body Frame, Intent-Based Filtering, Input Buffer, and International Banking Facility.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase IBF

You can use “IBF” as an abbreviation for “Internet Best Friend” when talking about someone you keep in regular contact with online. You won’t know the person, and you may or may not have any intention to meet them in real life. The phrase is commonly used by young girls and teens to describe their best online friends, but boys won’t use the term very often.

You can use “IBF” in text messaging or in real-world conversation, so you don’t have to draw out saying the words. It’s a time-saver acronym that saves you from typing things out on a keyboard. When typing the phrase online, it’s unnecessary to use capital letters as most people will understand the acronym in lower case letter format.

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