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Tech Dating 101: What's Up With All the Emoticons?

Tech Dating 101: What's Up With All the Emoticons?

I was out with a group of girlfriends last week when one of them received a text from a guy she'd gone on a few dates with. It read, "Great time last night ;)" — with the winking emoticon. Apparently after every single text he sends (and sometimes midtext, too), he includes an emoticon.

One of our friends thinks he's just being friendly, but another is convinced he's downright weird. And the friend-in question is not sure whether to accept his request to go on another date. "It's too weird!" she says. "I'm not sure what he's trying to do, but it's sort of creeping me out."

I've covered a few text-etiquette rules, like if it's appropriate to get out of a date via text and how to decode post-date texts and IMs, but what about the little day-to-day exchanges you tend to have with a potential love interest? What do all of those smiley faces mean? For more of my emoticon advice,



Generally, you seem to feel emoticons are fine for personal use but not for professional. What about dating? I can see where my friend is coming from, and I've definitely decided to check myself when it comes to text and instant-message emoticon use. Turns out I use them more often than I should! I received some solid emoticon advice recently: "Don't ever use an emoticon smiley face with a guy you don't want to make out with."

I asked a few guy friends, and their answers varied from the seemingly obvious: "He types a smiley face because he's actually smiling," to the sort-of charming: "He really likes you and is trying to be endearing," to the less virtuous, "He thinks you're into him and is trying to charm you into another date."

If his emoticon use really bothers you, you could always address it . . . but risk him feeling rejected. Until he starts adding the spoken equivalent of emoticons into regular conversation (think: "I'm sorry you can't hang out later. Sad face."), it's probably not worth getting worked up over. If you simply can't take it anymore, you could always try calling him instead. Have you ever dated an overzealous emoticoner? Is it ever cute? Or just annoying?

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Fifisley Fifisley 8 years
My name is FIfi, i want to tell u gal that i think that guy isnt weired, i think he just doesnt know wat to type. Maybe he doesnt know how to express his feelings to u. Sometimes we judge p'ple wen we really dono much about them. GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO PROVE HIM SELF GO OUT WITH HIM TRY TO UNDERSTAND HIM. WEN UR OUT WITH HIM MAKE EVERY WORLD HE SAYS MAYBE HE DOESNT KNOW MUCH ABOUT DATING
candygirl012 candygirl012 8 years
:) :P :D
kiwishe kiwishe 8 years
I used to use emoticons all the time, until I got tired of pressing buttons to send texts. I wouldn't take the overuse as anything but him trying to be playful with you. He's probably overjoyed with you, not creepy. He's also conveying how the texts should come out.. such as if he didn't include the winks and smileys, you could have taken him saying that he "spilled his coffee" and you're "both klutzes" as something mean. And if it does really both you, just tell him to knock it off.
hannagrrl hannagrrl 8 years
Quote: (Leila07) "it comes across as kinda feminine (in a 11 year old, giggly girl kinda way). It also irks me when guys use to many text abbreviations. That comes across as juvenile as well. " THIS
heatherhas heatherhas 8 years
He was probably just nervous and wants to convey the correct emotions, but I always thought it comes across as kinda feminine (in a 11 year old, giggly girl kinda way). It also irks me when guys use to many text abbreviations. That comes across as juvenile as well.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I always felt that it is never worth trying to "read" into what a guy a is saying. Guys are pretty darn literal.
Juiceee Juiceee 8 years
i completely agree with elfyn about being the body language or even being the epitome of texting. the way i see it, it's like i'm talking to the person and i see what their facial expressions are when they're talking. sometimes, i even get a little worried if there are no emoticons in a text when a guy i possibly like texts me coz what if he's not interested? coz he didn't put a smiley face.. lol been there done that.
Elfyn Elfyn 8 years
I don't think emoticons are weird, they are the 'body language' of the internets/txting. Your friend needs to untie the knot in her panties. ;)
Kadiya Kadiya 8 years
"Don't ever use an emoticon smiley face with a guy you don't want to make out with." Seriously?! Cause I use them all the time and believe me, the guys don't take that as a sign that I want to suddenly make out with them. In fact, the guys I tend to IM also use emoticons a great deal. For me, and I'm sure for most, it is a way to show how we feel as we "say" the words, a way to tell people we are joking or sad. I'm blown that this friend is wierded out about it.
kiwigeek kiwigeek 8 years
I have a friend who always uses the :P and when I first started txting them I thought it was weird, but I've gotten used to it now.
nicolecat nicolecat 8 years
I do add an emoticon when I'm not sure how the message may be received. So maybe a slight overuse is just a nervous tendency. Slightly endearing even...because you know he wants to make sure the message is received in a friendly tone. :) (no pun intended)
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Umm, yeah. I don't think this is something your friend needs to obsess over/read too much into. People use emoticons to give you a sense of how they're feeling/their facial expressions as if you were talking in person. And it's perfectly reasonable I think, because texts can be very easily misinterpreted as sarcastic or mean if they're read flatly - the emoticon just lightens the mood. I agree that your friend sounds uptight.
tsp tsp 8 years
wow, weird. i have zero problem with the use of emoticons (in this context) and it seems a strange thing to obsess over. if you like the guy and had a good time on the date, then go again. if not, don't. but being bummed or weirded out about his use of emoticons seems like LOOKING for an excuse to not see him again. i like emoticons in flirty situations. maybe, i'm a weirdo, though, because to me your friend sounds a little uptight.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i don't think it's weird...i think people do that because they're worried their message isn't coming off the way they sometimes do a winky because you want to convey that you're just joking, or a smiley to make sure your comment is coming off as friendly as you mean it etc. either that or he just has a lame way of communicating electronically and he's making so much effort with you and trying to come off in a positive light so it's overkill
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