A Guide to Emoji Etiquette

I have a serious confession to make: I’m not good at emojis. I mean, I can get down with the smiley and sad-face emojis, and maybe even the thumbs-up emoji if things are going well, but it doesn’t get much fancier than that for me. In light of all the new emojis being released recently, I decided that it’s time for me to update my emoji knowledge, and learn what emojis to use and when.

So, I did what any emoji novice would do, I Googled them. And the results are pretty fascinating (did you know that emojis originated in Japan and mean “picture letter?”). If you’re late to the game like me, or just want some emoji etiquette tips, check out what I learned about how to use emojis.

Attitude/emotion precedes everything.

The attitude or emotion you are conveying must come before the action or symbol. So, let’s say you are feeling happy about love (because why wouldn’t you?), you’d put the happy face first, followed by the heart. Imagine the confusion if you did it the other way around.

Be careful who you use emojis with

Unless it is your absolute bestie or someone blood-related, be careful to whom you direct a long row of hearts or send a message that replaces real English words with emojis. The little symbols are light-hearted and fun and great, but they don’t convey professionalism and/or adulthood. For example, you probably don’t want to be texting your boss and throw in an emoji for effect (seems obvious, but let’s spell it out anyway: No glass ceilings have been broken by using the poo emoji or any emoji for that matter).

If it’s a serious situation, opt out of using an emoji.

Emojis are usually great for lightening the mood, but if you’re texting about something serious, maybe just use your words. If your friend’s grandma just died, for example, it would be beyond insensitive to send the old lady, angel, and ghost emojis.

Learn the location of your most-used emojis

If you’re like me, you have absolutely no idea where to find any of the emojis you want to use. They’re extremely ambiguously labeled, which is actually pretty rude. When you’re in the middle of a witty text conversation (especially with someone you’re crushing on), the last thing you want to do is spend too much time searching for the right emoji and slow the whole fun thing down.

Emojis should happen at the end of your thought

Think of it this way—they sort of act as punctuation. You wouldn’t place an exclamation point in the middle ! of a sentence would you? Same goes for emojis. Unless of course you’re replacing a word. But if you’re saying something casual like “Will you marry me?” You’d place the engagement ring emoji at the end of that sentence.

Also, you can emoji yourself

This isn’t really etiquette, but it’s pretty fantastic. There’s an app called imojiapp, where you can take any picture from your iPhone and turn it into an emoji. I made an emoji of my dog, because it just felt right.

Featured images via EmojipediaEmojipedia, Emojipedia

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