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For far too long, Facebook has hampered your ability to express yourself correctly by only allowing you to comment (“amen”) or like a post, even when liking seemed like the wrong thing to do. But after years of people getting angry at well-meaning friends who “like” the news that one’s beloved grandma has passed, Facebook is finally making things just a tiny bit better by rolling out a slate of emojis you can respond with instead of just clicking a thumbs up.
But how do you use them? How do you go from a simple “like” to some kind of undulating heart or tearful smile? We here at Uproxx know that there’s nothing more embarrassing than messing up on social media, so we came up with a handy guide that will help you figure out exactly which emoji to use in which situation, whether’s it’s responding to a wedding announcement or commiserating with a friend who’s just shared that their dog has butt worms. (Maybe just delete that friend, though.)
The love emoji, which is a more intense form of the classic thumbs up, is meant to show that you muy, muy gusto someone’s post. But while it may seem like you should just start using it willy-nilly, you may want to hold a back a little, lest your friends take it less seriously or start texting you to know why you “loved everyone else’s posts, but only liked mine.”
Always OK: Objectively happy occasions, but use sparingly. You don’t want to be seen as a chronic “lover” because then your reaction means nothing and who wants that? It’s especially good to save these up for when you’ve missed someone’s birthday. Wait until they post the obligatory “thanks for all the birthday wishes” post the day after and then hit them with one of these bad boys.
Sometimes OK: When something bad’s happened, but the person is going to come through it okay. If your friend failed a class or got fired but is posting a pep talk for themselves–you know, the whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing–loving it may be a valid option. Just make sure it’s not the kind of friend who’s overly sensitive and will not assume you’re loving the fact that they’ve been fired.
Never OK: When someone’s just changed their relationship status to single. Like making the mistake of using the like button here, you’re going to either come off as gleeful (which you shouldn’t because how many times has your friend gotten back together with an ex you hate?), or, if you’re single and interested way too thirsty, providing lots of entertainment for people who will then make fun of you for it and post your reaction to cringepics.
This emoji is meant to show that you found a post particularly funny without slowing down your scrolling by forcing you to actually write out “hahaha” in the comments.
Always OK: When someone’s posted a joke or a meme they’ve worked really hard on. It’s also okay to click hard on this one if someone’s ranting about something you find particularly hilarious. Unless it’s something personal and isn’t meant to be funny. Then, you’re just going to be seen as passive-aggressive (which is the worst thing to be seen as on Facebook, right?).
Sometimes OK: When someone’s vague-booking about someone else. You just want to make sure, though, that when your friend is writing out a massive tirade about “fake people who get on my nerves, uuuuuggggggh,” they’re not writing about you. Unless you just don’t care. But then you should probably just defriend them and move on with your life. You don’t need that kind of drama on your timeline.
Never OK: When someone’s posted about the death of a friend, relative, or family pet. You’d think that this is something you wouldn’t have to tell people, but since parents often have no idea what an emoji even is and there are people out there who think they’re hilarious when they’re not, it’s important to be reminded that if you hesitate for even one second before clicking, you shouldn’t do it. Also avoid the “haha” when people are feeling down on themselves or airing their dirty laundry. There should be a “please stop posting” button for that.
The wow button is meant to denote surprise, amazement, and awe, but, like, in a good way.
Always OK: When someone’s posted something amazing they did, like climbing Mount Everest or eating a particularly delicious lunch (it’s a spectrum). If someone got into their dream school, landed their dream job, or is in a dream relationship, a “wow” is also appropriate. It’s nice to let people know you appreciate the things they work hard for, even if that thing is a picture of them microwaving a cup of noodles for lunch. Celebrate people for working with the tools they are given.
Sometimes OK: When the accomplishment your friend’s posted about is of a dubious nature. We don’t know your friends, but you want to make sure that your “wow” response to their admission that they just did a keg stand instead of preparing for tomorrow’s presentation is seen as “you legend!” and not as “I’m judging you” (even if you are).
Never OK: When your “wow” is coming from a place of “I never even knew you were like that.” Save your ire for a Facebook message. Note how we don’t encourage calling people out in the comments. That doesn’t mean anyone will stop doing that, but at least you won’t look like an idiot when you remember to take your fights to DMs rather than out in the open. We know that the emoji here looks like it could be squeezing out a hearty “oh hell no,” but if Facebook refuses to give us a “dislike” button because they’re worried it might hurt people’s feelings, that scenario doesn’t seem likely.
When the bee stings, when the dog bites, and when your friend is feeling bad, you’ve finally got a way to show them, even if you don’t have the right words for it. Nothing worse than ignoring someone’s pain, though, right? So click on this button when you want to offer support but don’t exactly know how the hell you’d help the situation otherwise.
Always OK: If any of the four horsemen of the apocalypse are involved, then the sad emoji is fair to use. If it’s not quite as serious but your friends are having a bad day, that’s okay, too. A status alerting you that someone’s close friend or relative has passed away, is in the hospital, or has been otherwise physically or psychologically injured is also a good time to utilize this button. Who’s going to call you out for being too sympathetic? If nothing else, you can positively bathe in the glow your newfound goodwill has earned you.
Sometimes OK: Political posts or anything that’s controversial. If your friend posts a Trump quote and they’re a Trump supporter, using the sad emoji might be tempting, but it will end up hurting you more than it helps. If you want to be judgmental, of course, (and there are some of us who thrive on that sort of thing), this emoji is the best thing to use. What better way to express disdain than by masking it as disappointment?
Never OK: When your friend updates their profile picture and they just don’t look as good as they used to.
Your friend’s car broke down and their boss fired them anyway? The angry emoji is all you need to show that you care, you’re just as angry, and that you’re down to hang if they need it (but hope they won’t because you used an emoji instead of telling them you want to hang).
Always OK: If a friend’s post starts with “I’m angry” and you agree. Otherwise, you may want to hold off.
Sometimes OK: If your friend isn’t explicitly angry but you’re pretty sure they are or should be, like when their cat knocks over an entire bottle of merlot on their keyboard and they have to go back to using their phone as their primary computing device like some kind of animal.
And the last thing according to Uproxx..
Never OK: In situations where you might be held criminally liable at some point in the future. For instance, if your friend writes “I hate where I work,” you hit that angry emoji and then their place of employ mysteriously burns down, you don’t want anyone associating you with that. The last thing you need is to be called into court and having your use of Facebook questioned. Is it likely to happen? Stranger things have! (Also don’t use when someone on your list announces a relationship change.)”
Live Long And Prosper