Everyone on social media has been reminiscing on their past with the most recent internet meme going around.
Whenever someone tells you that “you just had to be there,” it means that they are trying to avoid telling you a story that is personal or anecdotal from their past. This phrase existed long before it reached Twitter comedians and TikTokers this past February. In fact, the “you just had to be there” meme reached the internet as early as 2013 but only recently spiraled into becoming a series of nostalgic jokes and out of context photos.
The post that brought this trend back was from Twitter user @Billionbus, who tweeted photos of the interior of a 1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Estate car with the caption “The comfort… you just had to be there.”
The comfort.. You just had to be there. pic.twitter.com/nLfYQoQBpq— Bus, the Art Guy🍊 (@BillionBus) February 18, 2021
This tweet alone inspired other users to put their own twist on the trend, using photos from pop culture references, old movies or TV shows, and other influences. With there being a large majority of Millennials and Gen Z on the internet, these memes have only gotten more hilarious, with people making references that go as far back as legendary 2000s Nickelodeon shows.
You just had to be there pic.twitter.com/Fbeijjy5cJ— 𝓢𝓱𝓪𝓫𝓲𝓷𝓮𝓖𝓸𝓭𝓭𝓮𝓼𝓼🇱🇨✨ (@ShabineGoddess) March 4, 2021
There are even references to classic Nintendo DS games we all loved to play as kids, as well as other video games that have had impacts on our childhoods.
you just had to be there pic.twitter.com/JzroKbNlPi— mo 🥢🥡 (@saintlynna) March 4, 2021
A lot of these tweets have also become centered around bringing attention back to older internet trends, such as justgirlythings, a Tumblr account from the early 2010s that posted photos with captions that “only girls would understand.” The juxtaposition of putting these two internet trends with each other makes the meme even more funny and relatable, alongside other “quirky” things 2010 Tumblr girls used to post about.
you just had to be there pic.twitter.com/E0olTujULj— f 🍸 (@LOVESONAS) March 3, 2021
Even popular clothing brands and businesses are taking part in the trend. PrettyLittleThing, a UK-based fashion retailer, went out of the box by tweeting a picture of “the dress” from the 2015 trend where people had differing views on whether or not “the dress” was blue and black or gold and white. Like they said, you just had to be there to understand the controversy surrounding that one viral picture.
You just had to be there... pic.twitter.com/66TUgg1eOL— PrettyLittleThing (@OfficialPLT) March 4, 2021
Knowing Twitter, this trend may be around for a while as users will continue to find more obscure references to apply the phrase to. The “you just had to be there” meme is constantly being recreated by users and businesses alike in order to keep up with the trend. With the rate in which people are participating in this trend, this meme may stick around on Twitter and other forms of social media for a while. Until the next popular internet meme of 2021 comes to fruition, the “you just had to be there” trend will continue to unlock nostalgic memories for people and provide comedic relief for those wanting to remember the good old days.