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8 emojis I’ve been getting wrong this whole time

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by emojis 🙋‍♀️

As a 27-year-old with an average daily screen time I’m too ashamed to admit, I assumed I had emoji use down to a fine art. Turns out I’ve been using half of them wrong and sending some very mixed messages to my chiropractor.

To help others avoid my mistakes, here are my do’s and don’ts for using emojis in 2023.

The Skull

I don’t know about you, but I always thought this was just the emoji of death. Apparently nowadays the cool kids use it when they’re having a good ol’ laugh (you know: I’m dying of laughter). Tread carefully with this one.

Yes: Omg, that cat video was hilarious 💀

Maybe: I’m running late. My car has carked it 💀

Hard no: Soz, your fish is dead 💀

The Goat

You may have seen this emoji in texts or on social and wondered ‘Why in the world are people calling each other goats?’ (Not that I’d ever think something like that hahaha). Turns out it’s an acronym for Greatest of All Time. Make someone’s day and call them a G.O.A.T.

Spot on: Bob brought donuts to work. He is the 🐐

Not great: Let’s go to the farm and feed the 🐐

The Snake

I’ve been using this wrong for years (which might explain why I got kicked out of Slytherin). The snake emoji is now used when someone cannot or should not be trusted – like whoever takes those photos of a microwave meal to make it look like a 5-star dining experience on the box.

Go for it: I can’t believe she sold you fake Shania Twain tickets. What a 🐍

Not quite: Your principal just called. School’s closed until they sort out the 🐍 infestation

Upside Down Smiley Face

Truth be told, I’ve never sent this emoji because I had no clue what it meant. Now I've learnt that it’s used to express sarcasm, I’m sure it’ll make its way into my most-used emojis in no time (no sarcasm intended).

Spot on: Uncle Roger has been talking about rocks for an hour straight. Riveting 🙃

Just don’t: That dress looked fantastic on you, Barb 🙃

Cold Face

I’ve been using this emoji when I’m freezing my butt off in winter, when all this time I should’ve been using it in response to heartless behaviour. Like in Grade 3 when I let Bethany take care of my Tamagotchi and she killed it. Thanks a lot, Bethany.

Perfect: I can’t believe you forgot to feed my Tamagotchi 🥶

I’ll allow it: It’s freezing out today 🥶 (and the iciness reminds me of Bethany’s heart)


If someone sends you this emoji, there’s a chance they’re commenting on the weather. But there’s an even better chance they’re calling you a weakling. You know, because you’re delicate, like a snowflake.

Bang on: You thought my chilli was too spicy?? ❄️

Not quite: Hey look at all the ❄️

The Ghost

Like me, you might use this one around Halloween or when the vibes are generally spooky. But these days, it’s more commonly used when someone’s been ignored or rejected (AKA ghosted). Avoid sending this one to anyone who’s just been dumped.

Perfect: He didn’t call. Again. 👻

Not so much: Have you seen The Haunting of Nightmare Lake 3? 👻


Bow to your new emoji sensei (me) because I’m here to tell you most people use this emoji to show they’re bored, not bowing. Remember that next time you’re about to send it to your boss to congratulate them on their preso.

Bang on: I’m at my sons school recital 🙇‍♂️

A hard no: Loved your Ted Talk! I was on the edge of my seat 🙇‍♂️

Hopefully you’ve found this guide high-key (or whatever the kids call it these days) helpful. Now, go forth and share some love or throw some shade using emojis.