I’m too uncool to know which thumbs-up emoji is uncool so someone help me.

me: So apparently we’re supposed to stop thumbs-up emojying young people at work.

Victor: I don’t even know what that means but it sounds like something I already don’t do.

me: According to the internet Gen Z finds the thumbs up emoji passive-aggressive and hostile, but Gen X uses it all the time because they don’t understand.

Victor: I don’t understand.

me: Fucking same, dude. But we’re Gen X so I guess we’re not supposed to? But I don’t know if I’m still cool because I never use the thumbs-up emoji but I’m always using the thumbs-up reaction and I don’t know if that’s different.

Victor: Aren’t those the same thing?

me: The thumbs-up emoji is yellow and stand alone. The thumbs-up reaction is blue and is attached to the person’s text bubble.

Victor: I’m so confused.

me: BECAUSE WE’RE OLD. Apparently we’re also supposed to stop using thumbs-up, okay fingers, kissy face, red hearts…

Victor: Eggplant emoji?

me: Eggplant emoji did not make the list. But please don’t send it anyway.

Victor: Huh. Can I still do thumbs up in real life?

me: Just to be safe? I’d say only if you’re Fonzie.

Victor: What if I’m ironically pretending to be Fonzie?

me: Does Gen Z even know Fonzie?

Victor: Fuck. We’re old.

This is where I’d put a thumbs up emoji but I literally don’t know how to do that in wordpress and Hailey isn’t home to help me so I texted them for feedback:

100 thoughts on “I’m too uncool to know which thumbs-up emoji is uncool so someone help me.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Pretty sure all the Gen Z-ers already know we’re not cool. But they love us anyway

  2. I didn’t particularly care for the thumbs up before but now I’m going to thumbs up the heck out of everyone. No one puts Baby in a no thumbs up corner πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

  3. I’m an elder millennial with gen Z tendencies and this made me laugh. Also I hate the thumbs up. All iterations. My usage of emojiis= wrong answers only. You text me, you’re getting πŸ‘»πŸ

  4. There is a nbc news article is from 2008… Titled “Why the thumbs-up won’t go away” which says (in part) – “The thumbs-up gesture has its roots in ancient Rome, where gladiators would literally live or die by it. Pollice verso is the Latin term for the gesture, meaning “with a turned thumb.” …During World War II, American pilots gave the thumbs-up a new spin. …”Pilots would use a thumbs-up to indicate they were ready to go up. That’s how they would indicate to the crew that they were ready, that everything was good.” It’s here to stay in the work world – MSTeams uses it…

  5. Don’t get too cool, you might try to give a thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ», let go of whatever you’re using for balance, and fall down. Not only are you uncool… Now you’ve broken your hip! πŸ‘ŽπŸ»(These are flesh tone, so I’m not accused of using racist thumbs!!)

  6. What’s wrong with red hearts? There needs to be a reference website for olds called “Is It Still Acceptable?” so we don’t mess up.

  7. I’m a millennial and I am super confused…other millennial friends and I use the thumbs up unironically! Oh well, I’m not cool anyway lol.

  8. I’ve always thought the recent use of people saying R.I.P. after someone passes sounds sarcastic as fuck πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

  9. I send my Gen Z kids two thumbs up and a red heart all the time. That’s, like, the MOST wrong possible. Good Lord.

  10. I feel like the Gen Z’ers telling everyone that the thumbs up feels more like a middle finger just ruins the perfect opportunity to use it against the clueless older generations. Like, I’m thinking back to all the thumbs up I sent to my old boss and loving that I can re-interpret them as snarky.

  11. Personally, I think whatever Gen Z does that it thinks is cool, is most definitely not. Also, it will be a forgotten fad by next week.

  12. Actually u know what, I’m an old millennial, and whenever my friend replies with a thumbs up emoji, I worry that there’s a sarcastic but polite eyeroll behind it. Not sure why!
    But then I also try not to use thumbs up in real life after learning that many countries consider it to be the equivalent of flipping the bird at people. Maybe this is related lol.

  13. I’m a Xennial and I don’t generally use a thumbs up for anything. That being said you have to take it in context. If someone sends a Sar article text then yeah it’s sarcastic. But if you say great job on getting that A on your test and send a thumbs up that is meant as a good job. The problem with text is there is no facial expressions or body language attached so it’s hard to know.

  14. I’m a clueless boomer so I just use the cat with heart eyes for everything but I can’t even find it on the computer, only the I-phone. Old age is hard.

  15. Tell Victor the eggplant emoji is the best. So you guys think you do t understand, try being a baby boomer. Anyway I love your work and I’m just gonna end this with a πŸ‘ and a ❀️ !

  16. Just received a WHITE heart text from my 23 year-old…not red…LOL!!! You are always so SPOT ON, Jenny…and, many thanks for making me aware of things that I do not know!

  17. I love that they call you Momma. That makes me all happy when my grown kids do that πŸ™‚ πŸ₯°πŸ‘πŸ‘Œ and I am sure I could find many other not cool emoji’s to add

  18. I’m a boomer. I rarely consider using emoji’s, I use two spaces after a period, and I always spell out words completely. I also proofread before sending texts. That’s how old I am. I’m cool with being uncool.

  19. Elder millennial here, I use thumbs-up all the time as a confirmation, usually an “I saw your message about what time we should meet up this weekend, and that sounds like a good plan to me” sort of reply, though I don’t text much so it’s mostly in Discord with my similar-age friends.

    I never much cared about being cool with my own age group, let alone small children.

  20. Gen X here, I read the same article & it made me πŸ™„ because I work at a high school & I’d be more concerned if Gen Z DID think that I’m cool. I’m like, “sorry if πŸ‘ offends you, b/c my goal is not to please you, so 😘 off, kids.

  21. The youngest generation always thinks their parents and grandparents are uncool, parents in an annoying way and grandparents in a β€œisn’t that cute/sweet” way.
    Anyways, Gen Z calls Gen X Boomers, as in β€œOkay Boomer,” when Baby Boomers are Gen Xers parents, or their older siblings, in most cases. So what do they know?
    Besides, I’m going to use any reaction or emoji I feel suits my intentions, and if someone decides it’s uncool, or misinterprets it, I’m not worried about it, their kids will think they are uncool someday, too. πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ‘

  22. I just can’t with Gen Z. I recently asked my young therapist if they were a Millennial or Gen Z. They said they were a Millennial. I was so relieved.

  23. Another issue: You know when a younger generation feels that using ending punctuation is uncool that written English language is dying. People who cannot communicate in writing are doomed to be misunderstood. They say “ending a text with a period is SO RUDE!” So use emojis! (No, emojies are now uncool!) Fuck you, younger generation. Get your shit together. Yes, language evolves, but it should not DEVOLVE.

  24. I just chatted the Senior Vice President of Communication about this. As a global company, has she been told that emoji’s are out with some of our newer colleagues. Her private reply to me “What the fuck!” Her public reply will likely be a special inclusivity class about Gen X not being jerks at work.

  25. So if my new Gen Z babysitter sent me a thumbs up emoji does that mean she’s secretly hostile? Or maybe she’s just uncool. I like an uncool kid.

  26. I think the issue is people using the thumbs up to be passive aggressive.
    I only use it when I cannot reply but want to acknowledge that I did receive, and read the message. As an “okay, I’ve seen but I can’t answer back right this second”. But I generally only do that for my mom, my boss, and a couple of my friends.

    I like the rule of sarcastic or ironic thumbs up only because it reminds me of a GIF which clearly makes me heckin’ old.

    πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ But I wasn’t cool even when I was young.

  27. I agree with Hailey. Who cares what the kids are doing? My audience isn’t “youths” anyways. I have not made it to my late 30s to feel compelled to change to trends decided by teens.

  28. I’m millennial and can’t stand the thumbs up. To me it’s the same as sending ‘k’. Drives me up a wall. It’s a text or a chat, I expect shorthand, but thumbs up or ‘k’ comes across as ‘can’t be bothered to give a response’. Even just ‘ok’ is much better. Think of the other options as reading either very sarcastic or very curt and dismissive were they spoken aloud. I have many other millennial and gen x friends who feel the same.

  29. I’m old. As far as I am concerned the thumbs up image has been ruined forever by you know who. I never use it in any of its iterations anymore.

  30. The people I most often text are my siblings, and the thumbs up abounds. We care not one whit for being cool. I also still (and always will) text in full sentences with proper end punctuation, though I’m not stickler for commas in texts.

  31. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ€”πŸ”πŸ±πŸ† This Gen Xer will NEVER bow down to what those whippersnappers think I should or shouldn’t do 😁

  32. Gen X here. I have reached the age where I don’t give a flying flip if I am uncool. I’m gonna πŸ‘ if I want to. And maybe even 🀣🀣🀣🀣, because I know those are uncool so I’m just gonna lean into it xtra.

  33. I’d rather be uncool than spend time and energy worrying whether the “Zoomers” think I’m cool.

    And I feel like as long as I’m only using 1-3 emojis, I’m okay… my Boomer MIL uses about 20. 🀣

    Also – if stumblingfaith doesn’t mind, I totally want to steal the word Xennial! I guess I’m technically an older Millennial, but I’ve always identified with Gen X more.

  34. Gen Xer here who found emojis way too much trouble to use, so I win there, but I still put two spaces after periods.

  35. “Geriatric” millennial here. I’ve always struggled with thumbs up because it’s always felt a bit passive-aggressive to me. And kissy face has made me uneasy too, because I never knew if I’d come off wrong with it. I’d much rather πŸ˜ΈπŸ’•πŸ₯³πŸŒˆ.

  36. I quit using the thumb’s up emoji at work because it seemed so trite. I started using the horse head emoji instead. I felt it better portrayed my feelings, with the added bonus of being vaguely threatening in a Godfather kind of way.

  37. For anyone who or wants needs to know: you can change the skin tone of your emoji’s by holding down the thumbs up (for example) button for a couple of seconds and it should show you a selection of different skin tones to choose from. I use an iPhone but I’m pretty sure it’s an option on other kinds of smartphones. Nobody actually has yellow skin, outside of the Simpsons, who are fictional and also cartoons. Strange that that is the iPhone default

  38. There are few things in life that amuse me more than trying to use slang and internet culture to convince my teenager that I’m actually 85 years old.

  39. I only and always use the πŸ‘πŸ½ ironically. I just didn’t know it until now. πŸ˜–

  40. LMAO! I’m Gen X and I don’t understand and I don’t care. Yup I’m old. You kids, Get off my lawn! πŸ‘ πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜˜πŸ˜πŸ₯°πŸ†πŸ’— Love you! You’re the best! I love Jenny – Victor dialogue!!

  41. Flip phone user here, and all emojis come through as a black box in any text message. I’ve told my brother (who abuses this information the most) that I’m assuming any emoji from him is the pile-o-shit one. He’s okay with that.

  42. It’s hard when one feels young but is actually old in years (also 49 and Gen X) It is a very confusing time before full forgetfulness and blunt reactions.

  43. Hearts, thumbs, kisses…. I’m 43, I use those towards people I care about, and now I don’t know whether to just take my introversion to the next level and shut up completely. Can’t get it wrong if you don’t say anything at all! (Seriously, this is making me even more anxious than I already was when communicating with people, which I keep to a bare minimum as it is!)

  44. I’m so old I don’t understand why anyone would use an emoji in communication to a co-worker. It seems unprofessional. And yes, I still use whole sentences and punctuation and proofread things before I send them. And I do indeed drive an Edsel to the office, why do you ask?

  45. I’ve never used an emoji. I’m old, and I can’t see them well enough to recognize what most of them are. So I tell people, please use your words. Much easier to communicate that way!

  46. Kathi (responder #32) wrote: β€œI’m a boomer. I rarely consider using emoji’s, I use two spaces after a period, and I always spell out words completely. I also proofread before sending texts. That’s how old I am. I’m cool with being uncool.” I am exactly like Kathi, and will add that I also always use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. It bothers me how many people write β€œyour” instead of β€œyou’re”, and β€œthere” instead of β€œtheir” or β€œthey’re”. So I’m also cool with being uncool. Thanks Kathi! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  47. Any group that thinks something as trivial as emoji use is uncool doesn’t understand what it means to be cool.

  48. “One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere, like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. “Give me five bees for a quarter,” you’d say. Now, where were we? Oh yeah, the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..”


  49. I couldn’t figure out how to make my phone generate emojis so I’d always just type them out. “We’re all going to get a drink after work. Can you make it? Astronaut Emoji Cigar Emoji Ninja Emoji”

  50. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜…

  51. When emojis began to take on different meanings, I lost all hope of ever knowing what anyone actually meant. If I use an eggplant emoji, ot means I’m cooking one for dinner, or I scored a beauty at the market. I’m even insecure about adding a birthday cake emoji to a Happy Birthday text. Is that OK? Does anybody know?
    I recently found out that using punctuation in a text indicates that you are angry. Really? Well I am angry all the time, so take that! And this.
    Now it’s thumbs up? Wtaf. Can I still use it to end a text conversation? Gah. Why is everything so confusing?!

  52. Also, as someone here has said RIP is emotionless, but also, the 😒 emoji has always felt disingenuous to me.
    I think there is a whole new field of psychological study here: why do certain emojis “feel” one way or another? Bah. From now on, it’s random emojis for me. πŸ–βš½οΈ

  53. “GenX here. I hate the thumbs up emoji – it feels like a big F.U.”

    Except, there is already a perfectly good and more accurate emoji for that?

    “It’s a text or a chat, I expect shorthand, but thumbs up or β€˜k’ comes across as β€˜can’t be bothered to give a response’. Even just β€˜ok’ is much better. ”

    Which is interesting, because I read a *different* article which said “ok” was aggressive and (mils or gen z, don’t remember which) found that to be either passive aggressive or outright rude. We are *supposed* to use “k” or “kk”.

    I would straight up not use emojis at all, but my work team chat, it’s expected (as reaction after comment read).

    (quotes above were from two different commenters, for the record.)

  54. Ok us Baby Boomers think (or used to think until today) that the ability to use any emoji is cool. Granted I sometimes have to ask my Gen X daughter what some of them mean. I’m going to continue because us Baby Boomers don’t give a you know what as to what any one else thinks. Mostly. πŸ˜‰

  55. Omg. I just realized we are the new Boomers. Fuck. So what does that make Boomers? Oh god I’m having another existential crisis. If you need me I’ll just be sitting in the corner on my pink bean bag chair, laying in the fetal position, gently rocking myself back and forth with Nirvana playing on my Sony Walkman.

  56. I’m 77, and will continue to use whatever emoji I want. Who cares? If some of the younger gen x or z’ers don,5 like it, I’m not bothered.

  57. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  58. Heck, I use the thumbs-up to show that I received and/or like a message. I’m a latecomer to texting and it just looks like a quick way to say “okay” to me. I’m not trying to end anything. It’s like body language–People don’t always read it the same way.

  59. Does gen-z mean the human race has reached the end of recreation ( as in recreating others like us) as we know it? But wait, who was gen-a? gen-b, gen-c?

  60. Meh. This was based on one reddit post once you dig down to sour ing, so I wouldn’t give it much credibility… I work with tons of Z’s (they’re amazing) and none of them feel this way

  61. Oddly enough there was a piece re all this craziness on NPR this AM. I give up, just don’t do any of it.

  62. Millennial and I use the thumbs up reaction in MS teams every day. What other reaction am I supposed to do when something doesn’t warrant an actual response but I’m letting them know I’m good with what they said? I feel like everything is passive aggressive to gen z even when it’s truly not. Good thing i work with a bunch of millennials and gen X.

  63. GenX here. You know why GenZ finds the thumbs up emoji uncool? Because most of them have their thumb up their arse while they scroll through Instagram all day long. As an editor and a fully functioning adult, I’m tired of older generations allowing GenZ to dictate our language. My grandparents would’ve told me to go play in the traffic if I’d tried that πŸ’© with them. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

  64. Gonna continue using the thumbs up emoji. If it’s good enough for world football players (not soccer), it’s good enough for me.

  65. The heck with being cool, why should I start the now?

    I have always been out of step. I bet I’d trip over more invisible objects than I do currently!

    The originating post on Reddit might already be outdated anyway.

  66. I feel like I left the womb mid-life but I’m an elder-ish Millennial, and I HATE the thumbs up emoji – so does my husband (who, conveniently, also seemed to leave the womb as a middle aged man). For us it has nothing to do with being cool or uncool, and *everything* to do with passive-aggressiveness.

    It doesn’t help that the two worst offenders are one each of our closest living relatives left (his father, my grandmother) – my grandmother has been texting for over 20 years so don’t give her a break! But say they text about what they are doing, we’ll text back a response and ask when would be a good time to chat, they will text back something like β€œtomorrow afternoon should be fine, but also Wednesday or Thursday.” And we’ll respond with the equivalent of, β€œokay great! Call you around 4 tomorrow if that’s okay. Really looking forward to it – love you!”

    The response is an effing thumbs up emoji. Nothing else.

    Does that make sense? For us it feels like we’re *really* putting in effort to make them feel seen/loved/not lonely and they are like β€œChrist be less desperate.” Like we have teenage elders, hahah! And it doesn’t have to be a sign off – it could be like, a message wishing them a happy birthday or a happy Halloween or whatever β€” the point is, the thumbs up emoji comes off like the other person is just *way too much* and you really wish they would eff off.

    The word equivalent I think best describes it is β€œmessage received.” Like, just put on read receipts if you are only going to respond with the thumbs up emoji, sheesh! I have other people I can talk to/text with πŸ€—πŸ˜œπŸ€£

  67. This explains why my Gen Z kid feels my very existence is an umbrage to her.

    At least my Gen Alpha kid still loves me. I think. It might be contingent on me knowing the passcode to unlock the Nintendo Switch, though.

  68. Elder millennial: yea thumbs up is like β€œfuck you/yeah right”

    Oh suuure you turned your life around Karen (thumbs up emoji)! You totally don’t lock your kids in the closet when you drink wine anymore so you’re great (thumbs up emoji). That possum you ran over was CLEARLY suicidal (thumbs up emoji). You’re the best mom ever, Karen (thumbs up emoji)

  69. How can you take anything seriously from Gen Z? The only material possession they have is the cell phone case holding the device mom and dad bought them. Now enjoy living in eternal poverty and never experiencing what realestate ownership feels like. *Thumbs Up*

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