We all use emojis. But have you ever wondered about emoji meanings?
What if I told you there was something you could add to your texts that would make you more likable to women?
And that that something was already on your phone?
I’m talking about emojis, gentlemen.
If you’ve ever been on the internet or used a smartphone, chances are you’ve seen an emoji before. The tiny images used to add flair or meaning to messages have flooded pop culture for almost a decade.
Despite their cute appearance, emojis are extremely powerful communication tools – especially when it comes to dating. According to a survey conducted by Match.com, single emojis users go out on more dates and have more sex than singles who don’t use emojis (54% vs 31%).
But it doesn’t stop there. According to the data, emoji users are two times more likely to get married. Want to level up your dating game? Read on for the definitive men's guide to emoji meanings.
1. A Brief History Lesson
The word emoji is an anglicized version of two Japanese words: e for picture and moji for character. These little pictures might seem new to you but emojis have been around in some form or another for decades. The emojis we know today evolved out of emoticons – the text-based faces that once littered chat rooms and message boards in the 1990s.
From your basic smiley face : ) to a flirtatious wink ; ), emoticons allowed internet users to add additional meaning to their messages.
Emojis – Where Did It All Begin?
The first true emoji didn’t appear until 1999, when Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita designed 176 images that could be used to easily and quickly convey information. They were rapidly popularized in Japan but weren’t internationally adopted until the Unicode Consortium (aka the Senate of technological text standards) recognized emojis in 2010.
And it wasn’t until Apple introduced the first emoji keyboard to their operating systems in 2011 (with Android following in 2013) that emojis really went viral. Once they could be easily accessed from every phone, emojis took off like wildfire.
Emojis And Emoji Meanings
From the original 176 emojis, there are now over 2,800 different emojis within the Unicode Standard. And every one of these has an associated emoji meaning.
There are emojis that represent different people, places, animals, foods, hobbies, and more. Emojis can be used to convey emotion, add connotation, or as replacements for actual text.
Instead of the usual text-speak (lol, lmao, ttyl, xoxo, g2g, etc.), people send laughing emojis, kissy face emojis, waving hands, peace signs, and more. Emojis became such a cultural phenomenon that the Oxford English Dictionary named the face-with-tears-of-joy emoji the 2015 Word of the Year.
And their popularity hasn’t died. In 2017, an entire movie was released, The Emoji Movie, that centered on an emoji-world. Today you can find emojis on everything from slippers, backpacks, and pencils, to exhibitions at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
2. Real Men Use Emojis!
Emojis and emoji meanings: I know they’re cute, and small, and abundantly popular with the younger female population – but emojis are not just for girls!
While women are more likely to use them throughout the day, a 2016 study by Emogi reported that 55% of monthly or weekly emoji users and 51% of daily emoji users are male.
Think you’re above using them? Think again.
Popular male emoji users span from rapper Drake, who has the praying-hands emoji tattooed on his arm, to basketball star Mike Scott, who says that around 85% of his tattoos are of different emojis.
Some male celebrities have taken to emojis so much that they created their own emoji apps. Stars such as Justin Bieber, Kevin Hart, and even Charlie Sheen had emojis in their own likenesses made for everyone to use.
Emojis – Male vs Female Usage
So, what’s stopping males from using emojis as much as females do?
Part of the reason is that females are generally more expressive when it comes to emotions – which is exactly the reason why men should be using emojis. They can allow you to express thoughts that you otherwise might not want to put into words.
Too shy to tell her how you feel? Drop hints by including the smiling-face-with-heart-eyes emoji in a message.
Don’t know how to respond to something? Use the face-without-mouth emoji or the man-shrugging emoji.
If you usually have trouble getting your message across – emojis can help. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it processes text. Including an emoji with your message can help the reader better understand what you’re trying to say and avoid any confusion that might be had.
Take these two messages:
The first could easily come across as angry. The added emoji in the second changes the interpretation entirely. It lets the reader know that you’re joking and aren’t mad.
There are hundreds of ways to use emojis and just as many unspoken rules about how not to use them.
It can feel daunting. I get it and I’m here to help.
Let’s dive in on when to use them, how to choose the right ones, and which emojis to never, ever send a woman when flirting with her.
3. Context is Everything
When it comes to using emojis, context is everything. There are situations that call for them and situations when they are definitely not needed. If you’re not an emoji pro, here’s a hard and fast rule: wait until someone sends you an emoji before bringing one into the conversation.
Otherwise, think about the conversation you’re having, what platform you’re having the conversation on, and whom you’re talking to. Writing an email to your boss? Best to leave emojis out of it. They don’t mesh well with a business setting. An OfficeTeam survey reported that 39% of senior managers thought including emojis in work-related communication was unprofessional.
Here’s where the hard and fast rule applies. Don’t message emojis to a coworker you’ve never talked to before. If it's a coworker that you already have rapport with, an emoji here or there might work. Use your best judgment, and if you have to think twice about it, don’t send it.
Wait until someone sends you an emoji before bringing one into the conversation yourself. If you have to think twice about it, don't send it.
There are certain platforms that are more suited to the informal dialogue that emojis breed. Emojis work best in text messages and on social media platforms – and the numbers prove it. A 2016 study by linguist Tyler Schnoebelen showed that 92% of all internet users sent emojis, a number that has continuously grown.
Additionally, nearly half of all Instagram posts include an emoji and on Facebook Messenger, 5 billion emojis get sent every day.
Another platform perfect for emojis? Dating apps.
Emojis are frequently included in bios on dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Clover, and Plenty of Fish. In fact, when dating app Clover studied 90 million messages sent on their app, they found that women were 5% more likely to respond to messages that contained an emoji.
And when you're trying to attract a woman vs. millions of other men, it’s the little things that can help catch the eye of someone special.
Remember – no matter the platform – it’s important to keep who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about in mind. Sending a flirty message on Hinge? Add a winking-face or smirking- face emoji. Sending condolences to a friend on Facebook? Skip the emoji and just leave a heartfelt message instead.
4. Don’t Overdo It
There’s a fine line between using emojis and overusing emojis. While you can occasionally use emojis to replace text entirely, no one wants to solve a riddle to figure out what you’re saying. And you definitely don’t want to be known as ‘that emoji guy’ by the people you talk to.
According to GQ’s Rules of Emoji, men should stick to one or two emojis per text. Pick emojis that add meaning or emotion to your message and include them at the end of your text, not interspersed throughout. One exception here is that multiple of the same emoji can be added at the end of a text to add emphasis.
Want your friends to know you’re joking? Hit them with the triple face-with-tears-of-joy emoji.
Think something is a great idea? Add the triple fire emoji to let them know.
Sometimes an emoji is all you need. It’s extremely common to use emojis to replace the usual one-word response texts (okay, good, haha, lol, bye). Popular examples include the thumbs-up emoji, the face-with-tears-of-joy emoji, and the waving-hand emoji. Sending a single emoji in response to something is a good way to both get your message across and effectively ‘sign out’.
Want to show mom you read her text, but don’t have time for a full-blown conversation?
A single thumbs-up emoji should suffice.
Not every message needs an emoji. Emojis are used to convey meaning and are useful if the context or tone of your message isn’t necessarily clear. They are especially helpful when you’re trying to be ironic or sarcastic over text.
Look at the difference here:
An emoji can completely change the meaning of a message. If you’re sending a pretty straightforward text or message – skip the emoji and let your words speak for themselves. When it comes to flirting and dating, emojis are definitely your friend, but moderation is key. Overusing emojis can give a bad impression, especially when someone doesn’t know you very well. Avoid writing complete texts in only emojis.
A good rule of thumb is to use emojis in every three or four messages. Words are still the gold standard. Women aren’t talking to you to find out what emojis you use –although that can be important. They want to actually get to know you. So, make sure the bulk of your conversation is made up of actual words.
Let her know you’re articulate enough to form a sentence, but playful enough to throw some emojis in when necessary.
Remember: everyone responds to emojis differently, so make sure to mirror your partner. If your partner doesn’t send a lot of emojis, it’s probably best to follow suit.
5. Choose Your Emojis Wisely (Remember Emoji Meanings)
Which emojis you use are just as important as how you use them. Emojis can have multiple meanings and there are a lot of odd emojis out there.
You might see the upside-down-face emoji and wonder what it could possibly mean. It’s most often used to convey a sense of joking around, sarcasm, or irony. Similarly, the face-with-rolling-eyes emoji might seem rude, but it can also be used to enhance a sarcastic message.
When you’ve just started talking to or dating someone, stick with the most mainstream emojis. A 2015 report from SwiftKey showed that face emojis (both happy and sad) accounted for around 60% of all emojis sent.
And emojitracker.com, a website that tracks real-time emoji usage on Twitter, counts the following emojis as among the most used (I’ve included example uses of each):
Now you might be thinking, “I can’t use a smiling-face-with-heart-eyes emoji. That’s not masculine at all!” Get over yourselves, gentlemen.
Emoji Meanings & Romance
Using romantic emojis like hearts, kissing faces, etc. with your significant other is an easy way to show you care. She’ll love it and you don’t have to tell your friends about it if you’re easily embarrassed.
When you’re comfortable with the classics, feel free to start branching out to more unique emojis. It can be a good way to see if she gets your sense of humor or starts an inside joke. Just make sure whomever you’re texting has already shown interest in emojis themselves (aka don’t send a ghost emoji to someone who only sends you smiley faces). And always be ready to explain your emoji choice if it misfires.
One group of emojis I would think twice about sending a love interest? Animals. Sure, they look cute, but sending animal emojis can get messy. If you want to suggest that your brother or best friend is a pig, go ahead and send them that emoji. But be careful when sending these emojis to women. If you haven’t built up a strong relationship with her, she might get offended.
Remember: Google is your friend. Websites like Emojipedia exist for a reason. If you can’t figure out what an emoji means, be safe and look it up before sending it out.
6. Emojis Women Hate (And The Ones They Love)
While emojis can definitely help you in the dating world, they can also hurt you. Sending the wrong emoji to someone you’re interested in can be a death sentence. She’ll ghost you before you know what hit ya.
Flirting? Avoid These Emojis
We all know that men can develop bad habits which repel women. And these include bad emoji usage. Dating app Clover’s study of 3 million users revealed that women do not reply to the following emojis: the eggplant (duh!), clapping hands, the flexed bicep and the fist bump.
The eggplant emoji (and the peach emoji, for that matter) have more sexual connotations than any other emojis. You should never send these emojis to women you don’t know on dating apps. They’re too forward for women looking to date and will most likely lead to you being ghosted. The only time these should be used is when joking around with friends or a significant other with whom who you have an established relationship.
As for the other emojis on Clover’s blacklist? You shouldn’t use emojis to show off your masculinity when talking to women. They don’t want to see a fist bump or flexed arm in their inbox – they’re not your bro. Show her that you’re more than just muscles and that you actually took the time to read her profile.
Other emojis to avoid? Be careful with the tongue emoji. Many women find it confusing or just plain gross. There are plenty of other emojis to use if you’re trying to be playful or flirtatious. Try using the winking-face emoji or smirking-face emoji instead.
Want To Make A Good Impression? Use These Emojis
Clover’s study also found that women respond well to some of the following emojis: Information Desk (commonly referred to as the Sassy Girl), the Smirking Face, Speak No Evil and Smiling Face with Heart-Shaped Eyes.
It’s no surprise that women respond more positively to these more subtle emojis. They all refer to the person you’re messaging, instead of being about yourself. When preparing a first message on any dating app, a fool-proof strategy is to make a playful comment about something in her pictures or bio and then enhance it with one of these emojis.
When chatting on a dating app, a fool-proof strategy is to make the conversation about her: try a playful comment about something in her bio and then enhance it with a GOOD emoji.
The sassy-girl emoji might not seem like an obvious choice, but it’s perfect for letting a girl know that you read her bio and think she’s clever. And what girl doesn’t love a compliment? The smirking-face emoji perfectly enhances your flirty, but not forward messages. It’s an easy way to add meaning to an otherwise innocent text. And the speak-no-evil emoji works well when you’re trying to be playfully embarrassed about something.
Finally, the smiling-face-with-heart-eyes emoji is an easy, straightforward way to show her you’re interested.
Try one of the suggestions below next time you’re swiping and see how it works.
Emoji Suggestions (Take Note!)
If her bio is full of witty, sarcastic comments, try:
“You’re just like the real life (sassy girl) and I love it.”
If she has a picture of an exotic beach in her profile, try:
“Swiped for the beach, but you're pretty cute too (Smirk)”
If her bio mentions her favorite band/movie/tv show, try:
“Confession: I’ve never actually seen/heard _____ (speak no evil) ??”
If she mentions something you like in her bio, try:
“You like ____ and you’re cute?? (hearts for eyes) ”
All in all, emojis are a fun, playful way to enhance your messages. Don’t be afraid to use them every now and again! Just keep in mind who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about. Take the plunge, gentlemen, and see for yourself how using emojis can help you express emotion, avoid miscommunication, and maybe even snag a date.
This is a guest post by Claudia Cox, founder of Text Weapon. Sign up for your FREE 30 day Texting Club trial. You'll receive access to 300 messages and tips on how to use texting to improve your relationships.