Sympathy Emoji

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

As the emoji character set gains cultural prominence, the world is still navigating its use as a communications medium. Recently, I saw emoji used in response to the passing of a loved one. Some friends messaged simple, encouraging smiley faces (“Keep your chin up! 😃”), while others offered virtual flowers (💐). These digital pictures may not the most appropriate tool for use in conveying sympathy, but I appreciated the gesture nonetheless. However, it certainly would be possible to truly offend with emoji. So, allow me to present:

An Incomplete List of the Least Appropriate Emoji to Send in a Sympathy Text, Which Probably Should Not Be a Thing Anyway, But That’s The Age In Which We Live

  • Skull emoji Skull (💀) – It should be fairly obvious why this is no good.

  • Ghost emoji Ghost (👻) – This emoji is just called “ghost”, but I’ve always thought of it as the happy ghost. He may also be flipping the Double Deuce, and that’ll hurt a guy’s feelings.

  • Astonished Face emoji Astonished Face (😲) and Dizzy Face emoji Dizzy Face (😵) – The double X’ed out eyes, often used to indicate a dead cartoon character, are truly problematic.

  • Face with Tears of Joy emoji Face With Tears of Joy (😹) – “Crying Face” (😢) might be alright to use, and at first glance, this may seem to be an extra sad version of that. However, the name and larger version make it clear that those are actually tears of joy, so this emoji is right out.

  • Crying Cat Face emoji Crying Cat Face (😿) – Even if the aforementioned ”Crying Face“ is OK, adding a cat to the mix just wrecks it.

  • Weary Cat Face emoji Weary Cat Face (🙀) – This cat is even worse. It’s unclear what exactly makes it “weary”. It looks far more like Munch’s “The Scream”, with its depiction of agony. Even so, it’s just not appropriate.

  • Pile of Poo emoji Pile of Poo (💩) – “Pile of Poo” is a tremendously versatile symbol to convey many different things. While it’s functional in many different situations, it’s best left out in these circumstances.

Ultimately, you’ll be best served by using real words to express your condolences. If you must use emoji, however, at least be sure to avoid the worst offenders.


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