It is a truth universally acknowledged that men on Twitter are sacks of garbage. Tweets are painfully conducive to “mansplaining,” where a dude condescends and explains something obvious to someone, usually a woman. (Basically, I just mansplained mansplaining.)
Thankfully, Japan has a handy phrase we could learn a thing or two from.
As explained by Kotaku‘s Brian Ashcraft Tuesday, Japanese Twitter users have taken to the phrase “FF外から失礼します,” which translates to something like “we don’t follow each other, but please excuse me, [I have something to say].”
To get a bit more specific, “FF” is slang for “follow/follower,” and the character “外”—read as gai—means “outside of.” (Thanks, college Japanese class!) In the context of Twitter, the overall phrase is basically a polite way of saying, “excuse me for commenting outside of the follow/follower relationship.”
For example, here’s a user replying to a stranger seeking advice about the mobile game Mitrasphere. The user begins their response with the phrase before launching into the rest:
— かじきん☆ですとろい (@kajikin_0524) August 30, 2017
The original user then replies, “FF外大歓迎ですいらっしゃいませ,” basically welcoming the outside response before launching into the actual discussion about the game.
Anyway, the most pernicious strain of mansplaining is when some doofus leaps into a conversation he’s not actually a part of and offers an unsolicited opinion. We’d argue that, perhaps, a little self-awareness and courtesy could go a long way toward shaving down the condescending edge slightly, if you are a loudmouth oaf who absolutely must mansplain. (Although, pro-tip: don’t!)
The Japanese phrase wasn’t invented for mansplaining, of course. As Ashcraft notes, Japanese culture places a lot of meaning on uchi-soto, meaning how you communicate with a person depends a lot on whether you fall within their “in-group” or if you’re in an “out-group.” Hence the extra courtesy on Twitter.
Still, lesson learned: remember your manners. Especially on Twitter.