'Don’t EVER use cat emojis.' A 2020 guide to dating through emojis.

If you’re someone who's new to the dating world, firstly, welcome. 

Secondly, DO NOT SEND THAT EMOJI. Okay good... that was close. 

As a prevalent texter and social media enthusiast, I always thought I’d just send a smiley face [😊] so they know I’m nice and approachable. WRONG.

Emily, along with her roommate and co-worker Lucy, is the host of Mamamia's newest podcast The Undone, all about navigating the 'adult' world without a GPS, friendship, love, sex, personal politics, and... air fryers. 

The brutal reality I quickly came to realise is that emojis in the dating world have a completely different meaning to what we all thought. 

We all know what the classic eggplant [🍆] and smirk face [😏] represent, so I’m here to educate you on those subtle emojis that most people just glance over. Because understanding their true meaning will make a big difference to your dating experience. 

Let’s begin with my downfall. 

Smiley emoji 😊

What this emoji actually means: I’m trying really hard to be a nice person but I would really like it if you could stop talking about yourself and ask me a question for once. Pro tip: It’s also a good emoji to use when you want to close off a conversation but don’t want to look mean doing it. 

Eyes emoji 👀

This emoji is one of my favourites and veers on the riskier side of things. It’s most commonly used when you have to ask a serious question and the emoji signals to the other person that their response could either make or break the interaction. For example, “Are you a Republican? 👀”

Wink emoji 😉

Ew. Don’t ever use this emoji. It's gross and we don’t need that kind of presumptive behaviour here. If someone under 35 sends you wink emojis, delete them from your life. You’ll thank me later. 

Cute sad emoji😔 (Not to be mixed up with not-cute sad emoji😞)

This emoji has a permanent spot in my most frequently used emojis list. Mostly used to signal “I’m sad” but in the dating world this emoji is used to signal “I’m cute, give me attention”. 

I love using this emoji with an “I miss u 😔” or an “I’m so tired today 😔”. I promise you, you will get results. Just please - and I cannot emphasise this enough - DO NOT use her sister emoji because she genuinely means “I’m sad, send help”.

Grandma emoji 👵

This is one of my favourite forms of rejection. Grandma emoji signals that I am tired and I am way too old and mature to keep playing these games. For example, “Sorry I’m not really in the mood to come out tonight 👵.”


Tree emoji 🌲

If someone uses this emoji, it means that they’re purely into one night stands and/or getting high. Use this emoji to suss out what the other person wants from this interaction.

Any physical sporting emojis ⛷️🏂🏋🤽‍♀️🚴‍♂️🏀🏈⚽

Another one to avoid (unless you’re into it). If someone uses any form of sporting emojis, it means they have a super hectic personality and zero chill. They also love bragging about themselves and you will find yourself using a lot of smiley face [😊] emojis when you’re messaging them. These sporting emojis are the reason why I have sleep paralysis. 

Watch: What the horoscopes are like virtual dating. Post continues after. 

Video via

The cat emojis 😺😸😹😻😼😽🙀😿😾

People who use these are probably serial killers and should not be trusted. I rest my case.

The IDK emojis 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️

This is used when someone has literally nothing else to say and is either confused or wants to stop the conversation altogether. If someone sends you this emoji, it means they're no longer going to put any effort into the conversation and will let it taper off without being called a ghoster

The alcohol emojis 🍷🥃🍾

Don't be fooled, all of these mean something different so let me quickly break it down for you. 

Wine glass emoji 🍷: “I’m drunk and you need to talk me through this situation.” OR "I’m ready to get drunk so keep an eye for weird texts from me." 

Whisky glass emoji 🥃: “I’m going to have one drink and have to head home early 👵.”

Champagne bottle emoji 🍾: “Let’s see where the night takes us 😏.”

And there you have it. Your beginner's guide to dating through emojis. 

Just don’t be me dating in 2015 and try to have a conversation purely with emojis. See below. 


Image: Supplied. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

 Want a cheeky $50? Tell us what you think