When to use the heart: 14 guidelines for emoji etiquette

Male Models 'Heart' Emojis

How do you know when it's appropriate to use certain emoji with acquaintances?

SEE ALSO: 16 of the most useless emoji and how to make them useful

We asked colleagues when they reached their own emoji "smilestones." Get it?

1. Wait until after the first date for flirty emoji.

14 emoji tips

Image: vicky leta/mashable

This was a common answer, especially if they're a person you met through a dating app. Says Erin, events manager, "I think you need to establish that you can speak IRL" before using emoji like hearts, winking faces or romantic smilies. Similarly to the so-called sexual emoji listed in No. 14 on our list, if you try to seduce too quickly, your Tinder date could turn into a Tinder "don't text me again."

2. Rely on more basic emoji, unless you're super close...

Before you send a monkey emoji, ensure you're good pals. Some people we asked said it was "awkward" to get a poop emoji from an acquaintance. Rather than be perceived as juvenile, wait until you know the person well enough to send the more quirky or obscure emoji.

3. ...or use out-of-context emoji to see if their sense of humor matches yours.

14 emoji tips

Image: chelsea frisbie/slack

Says Cailey, travel intern, "I'll send a really, really...random emoji to those texts that really don't merit a response. If they text back an even weirder emoji, then they cool and we can hang. But if they're like, 'What does that mean?' they don't get my brand of humor and we probably don't have a future."

4. In general, use emoji to calibrate friends 👯.

14 emoji tips

Image: vicky leta/mashable

"I use emoji as soon as possible because I like to test new friends," says Kellen, tech intern. The best way to tell if using emoji is cool with the other person is to see if they send them back. If not, don't take it personally; they may not be an emoji fan. From there, either tone down the smilies or you do you anyway.

5. Bosses should use them first.

Us interns unanimously agreed: "I would never use an emoji with my boss until they used one first, especially the first few weeks of working there. How do you know if they like emojis? Do you think they like me? Where's the printer?"

6. When you unlock an inside joke

14 emoji tips

Image: chelsea frisbie/mashable

This was an exchange between myself and coworker Katie, establishing we were friends and that we could both send one another emoji and memes, the basis of a true friendship.

7. Different color hearts 💜 💚 have different meanings.

14 emoji tips

Image: vicky leta/mashable

Using the red heart early in a conversation may come off a little love-aggressive. Green, blue and pink are a bit more casual for flirting or friendships, agreed colleagues.

8. A simple smiley tells your boss you're a team player...

14 emoji tips

Image: vicky leta/mashable

When texting with your boss, it's important not to come across as juvenile. It's also important to show you know who's -- for lack of a better term -- boss. When Kelly, humor intern, was an assistant at the start of her career, she would send a simple smiley. "When I had to ask him to do things he may not have wanted to do, adding a simple smiley would convey that I still knew I was his employee."

9. ...but it could also come off creepy.

Another employee, who prefers to stay anonymous in fear of being sent the simple smiley, says it's never okay to use it. "It's creepy! Use something else. I prefer the upside down smiley. If you're going to be a creep, go all out."

10. Don't send your teacher the beer emoji 🍺 .

Unless, of course, it's your college professor who's hosting a wine and cheese gala. Emoji, in general, indicate a casual conversation, so be wise about who to be casual with.

11. Don't add an emoji after their contact until you're really sure.

14 emoji tips

Image: stephanie buck/mashable

This is a personal superstition. It seemed that every time I added emoji to the end of a potential bae's contact it would be over within a few weeks. With my ex, I felt the only appropriate emoji for him was the bomb. (It was only a matter of time.)

12. "I use the sparkle heart emoji to establish I am a princess as soon as possible."

14 emoji tips

Image: vicky leta/mashable

If you're speaking with someone and want to establish who is in charge early on within the conversation, Cailey, travel intern, recommends using that shiny pink emoji with the stars.

13. Be extra cautious of the kissy heart emoji 😘 .

Parents seem to love emoji, but they don't always get it right. "My dad uses the kissing heart in texts and I know he means it in like a loving parent way, but it makes me want to run for the hills," says Proma, entertainment intern. You might need to have "the talk" about emoji meanings. Please grandma, do not send the eggplant again, I don't care what's for dinner.

14. Wait awhile to send your mother-in-law an emoji.

It can be hard to gauge what your significant other's parents think of you. Out of respect, maybe hold off...unless they ask about grandkids too soon 😡 .

RELATED: More about emojis

Emojis, emoji meanings
See Gallery
When to use the heart: 14 guidelines for emoji etiquette
Emojis are ideograms or smileys used in electronic messages originally in Japan

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Read Full Story