Emojis and flirting: a cautionary guide

Kennedy Brookins

I remember the simple days. The days when texting “(;” to your crush was enough to let them know that it was going down once that final bell rang at 3:00 pm. Now with hundreds of emojis to choose from, sending the right signal to your love interest has become a much harder task.          

As authors Olivia Baniuszewicz and Debra Goldstein put it in their book Flirtexting: How to Text Your Way Into His Heart, “texting has become the new first step in dating,” so it’s time to perfect the craft.

Emojis have deceived our generation into thinking we can express ourselves with less effort. Just throw a cute emoji at the end of a thought and you’re good, right? Wrong! There are rules to using emojis — rules that make the first few conversations with your potential boo feel like you’re walking on eggshells.

Public relations junior Jordan Kasprzynski remedies this awkwardness by texting with words only in the early stages of courtship.

“I try not to use emojis when I first start talking to someone,” Kasprzynski said.          

He has good reason, too. Figuring out someone’s texting style is a process and rushing it won’t help you get that second date.

The way I see it, there are three major rules when it comes to emojis and flirting (results may vary).

First, all smileys are not created equal. I know you think it’s a harmless act to drop the smiley with the open mouth at the end of that “good morning” text, but have you considered the smiley with the closed mouth instead? They are not the same! Search through emojipedia for just a few minutes and you’ll find that every emoji comes with its own unique meaning. How can one possibly learn the connotations of all 845 emojis? Your guess is as good as mine.

Second, keep up with the Internet or die trying. Before B.o.B. blessed Instagram with #EggplantFriday, the eggplant emoji really was, well, just an eggplant. And remember when the peach emoji was simply a piece of fruit? Those days are gone. Not only does each emoji have a different meaning, but these meanings also change over time as the Internet’s imagination runs wild. If social media isn’t your thing, keeping up with these new trends can be nearly impossible.

The last rule is there are simply some emojis that you cannot send depending on who you’re talking to. Personally, a boy sending me any of the monkey emojis is a deal breaker. For Kasprzynski, on the other hand, the “100” and the purple devil emojis are out of the question.

“It makes me think that person is immature,” Kasprzynski said. “I won’t stop talking to them, but I’ll make a mental note.”

Emojis are a blessing and a curse. I will forever be thankful for the fabulousness that the sassy girl and manicure emojis have brought into my life. When it comes to dating, though, emojis have turned me into an over-stressed riddle decoder.

Brookins is a psychology junior from McKinney. Follow her on Twitter @kenneteaa.