A few weeks ago, I was out for drinks with a group of friends. The conversation inevitably turned to our respective love lives. When my friend inquired about a former love interest and why I had ended things, I had to tell her the truth.
“He kept sending me texts with the eggplant, the water droplets, the tongue and the one where the monkey is covering it’s eyes. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was trying to say, but it was totally gross and creepy.”
We were talking about emojis – those little illustrated images that can help bring your messages to life or stop them in dead in their tracks, depending on how you use them. While it’s easy to brush them off as inconsequential in the large scheme of things, how we use emojis can impact our dating life.
Online dating app Clover recently algorithmically examined 90 million messages from 3 million users to see if emojis impacted the response rates on the first contact between two users. Their findings revealed that emojis do seem to have an impact on response rates. At least 10 percent of all of conversations start with a message that contains an emoji. When it comes to responses, women reply 5 percent more often to an opening message that contains an emoji and men reply 8 percent more often.
The survey also looked at what emojis both sexes were most likely to send, respond to and be turned off by.
What I found interesting was that many of the emojis that women were most likely to respond to are some of the ones my friends and I find most creepy. For example, the tongue, the smiley face with the tongue, the water droplets and the smirking smiley face. While women are responding to these kinds of emojis, it makes me wonder about the content of their responses. I can only speak for myself, but if someone sent me a message with a tongue in it, I’d respond – but not necessarily in a positive way. On the other hand, I was happy to see that one of my favorite emojis – the smiley face with heart eyes – was one of the most replied-to emojis (and for good reason – it’s adorable.)
The biggest emoji turn-offs for women? The eggplant (duh), the first bump and the flexing biceps, also known as “the emojis most likely to be used by a former cast-member of Jersey Shore.”
However, if you’re looking to get the attention of your online dream dude, you might want to consider using the smirking smiley face, the laughing crying face or the heart eyes face. These were all among the top emojis men responded to. On the other hand, the worst emojis you can use when sending him a message are the crying face, the cute pile of poo and (surprise, surprise) the diamond ring.
When it comes to being turned off by emojis, women seem most deterred by overtly sexual overtures, whereas men seem to abhor emojis associated with feelings, commitment or potential injuries to their ego (we get it, no one likes to receive the poo emoji!), all of which I find incredibly telling.
Aside from keeping this data in mind, is there anything else you can do to improve your online dating emoji game? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
1. Don’t use emojis as punctuation.
As the above research shows, men and women reply slightly more frequently to opening messages containing an emoji. But that doesn’t mean you have to use an emoji in every message you send. I always find it a bit disconcerting when I have conversations that look like this:
Me: Hey, how’s it going? *Smile*
Them: I’m amazing! *Smile* *Smile* *Smile* *Smile* *Smile* How are you? *Flower* *Flower* *Spaceship* *Monkey*
Me: Excellent! So are we still on for tonight?
Them: You bet! *Smile* I’m looking forward to it *Smile* *Smile* *Top Hat* *Smile* It’s going to be great! *Monkey* *Taco* *Knife* *Spaceship*
Friends, don’t be this person. Instead, use your emojis sparingly and only where they actually make sense.
2. Don’t substitute emojis for actual words.
While a thumbs up here and there is totally fine, no one should be tasked with trying to figure out what *Monkey* *Taco* *Knife* *Space ship* means and whether or not the sender is a serial killer.
3. Don’t be creepy.
Unless the other person has given you the green light to take your flirting to a more intimate place, keep your tongues and eggplants to yourself.