Woman looking at her phone with a confused or frustrated expression.
DTB stands for "Don't Text Back" when used in a text or online conversation. You usually add DTB to the end of a message to tell the recipient that no response is needed or that you don't want to be disturbed. DTB on TikTok can also mean "Don't Trust Boys."

Have ever seen “DTB” tacked on to the end of a text message and wondered what it means? Or maybe you’ve seen it overlayed in a video? Although it isn’t as common as other online terms, it’s important when you see it to know what the sender is asking you (not) to do.

Don’t Text Back

When it is seen in a text conversation or online chat, DTB stands for “Don’t Text Back.” It is commonly used by someone who wants to keep the conversation temporarily one-sided or doesn’t require nor desire a response to a message.

It can be used in several situations, including when you don’t want to be disturbed or if you no longer want to continue the conversation. Although it might seem a harsh way to end a message, it can also be used during a friendly exchange. Context is important when using DBT and discerning its meaning.

While “text” may technically refer to SMS messages, DTB can be used on almost any platform, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, or Instagram. It is usually included at the end of a preceding message rather than as a separate message. For example, “I’ll meet you after work. In a meeting, DTB”.

DTB’s meaning isn’t perhaps as well known as some other messaging shorthand, so when you use DTB, it’s important to be sure the recipient understands. If your messaging partner isn’t in the know, the response to “DTB” will probably be the exact opposite of what you asked for.

The History of DTB

The use of DTB to mean “Don’t Text Back” has been around since at least 2008 and probably long before. The first DTB definition added to Urban Dictionary is from around that time.

Its use likely began in SMS messaging at a time when most cell phone users had a limited messaging plan. By making it clear that no reply was needed the sender could save the recipient from unnecessarily wasting a message.

While its use initially evolved in SMS messaging, DTB can now be seen anywhere people have digital conversations. And as explored above, it is now used in a slightly different way than it probably was originally.

DTB on TikTok

What DTB means on TikTok is completely different from what it means in a text message. If you see it in a TikTok status or comment, it will commonly be used to mean “Don’t Trust Boys.” It also has a derogatory variant used to refer to females, “Don’t Trust B***hes.”

You will often see it used with a hashtag at the end of a post, video, or story about a failed relationship or when someone has been badly treated. This alternative meaning for DTB seems to have started on TikTok but has now spread to other social media platforms.

How DTB is Used in Text

Just like similar online initialisms NR, BRB, or AFK, the term DTB is used as information or an instruction to the other person in the conversation. But unlike those examples, DTB isn’t often used on its own.

Here are a few examples:

  • “The relationship is over, and I never want to see you again. DTB”
  • “Talk later, I’m in a meeting. DTB”
  • “I’m heading to bed now. When you see this, DTB”

You don’t need to be fluent in online slang and abbreviations, but learning a few key phrases can make online conversations easier.

Profile Photo for Russ Ware Russ Ware
Russ is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology. He loves exploring and figuring out how complex things work, and sharing that knowledge with others, something he has been doing online and in print for more than 15 years. When not writing for How-To Geek, Russ can usually be found planning his first novel or taking something apart to see how it works.
Read Full Bio »