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We Must Stop Smiley Face Emoticon Abuse!

Updated on June 24, 2012
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—anything from hamsters to office work.


Did You Really Need a Smiley Face?

I am here today to discuss a serious issue we must face in our society today: smiley face emoticon abuse. Yes, someone needs to stand up for the smiley faces. For that matter, many emoticons are being abused. I want to stand up for the smiley faces, the frowny faces, the love faces, the cool faces, and the many other emoticon faces of the world. Sadly, it is the smiley face that is most used and abused. I realize I usually do not take on the major issues that plague our society, but shameless smiley face emoticon abuse has gone on for too long. Someone has to stand up for them!

Some of you may not know what I am talking about. You could very well be contributing to the problem! Do you frequently use a smiley face to express your emotions in emails, texts, instant messages, etc.? Do you use a smiley face at the end of completely inappropriate comments just to "take the edge off" of these statements? You are an offender, my friend. Take a long look in the mirror. Shame on you!

Are You a Smiley Face Emoticon Offender?

In order for you to understand if you are an emoticon offender, I have to further explain the offense. You are abusing smiley face emoticons if you constantly use them in inappropriate situations. Many people use an innocent smiley face as way to "soften the blow" of bad news or an insult. It is completely wrong and shameful.

Here are some examples of smiley face abuse:

"Nice photo. Is that your new puppy? Oh sorry, it is your baby's picture. :-)"

This is wrong because you just totally insulting someone. Adding a smiley face does not make that sentence cute or funny. You are a total jerk. Don't force a smiley face to be part of your mean comment.

"I feel like we are not a great couple. You are such a nice person though. :-)"

OK, creep, you can't just breakup with someone via email or text message, but then believe a nice compliment followed by a smiley face will save the entire situation. Next time, call that person.

"No worries. I fixed your mistake. :-)"

Gee, don't do me any favors! This is an insult disguised as a "nice comment." Without the smiley face, it looks like the writer is being nasty. With the smiley face, the writer believes it erases every bit of cattiness from the original statement. Not so!

"You are such a loser. :-)"

This is perhaps the worst of the smiley face abuse offenses. It is really an outright insult. However, the smiley face is supposed to indicate it is all just a joke. Oh, haha, thanks. I was totally bummed out, but the smiley face let me know there is no need to unfriend you on Facebook. Hmmm.

Appropriate Smiley Face Usage

You may ask, "Well, Jeannie, if I can't use the smiley face just to say incredibly rude things to people and then pretend I am being clever, how should I use it?" I am happy to answer that question. You should use the smiley face when you say something fun or amusing. Are you making a happy, positive statement? By all means, this is a great opportunity to add a smiley face emoticon. The smiley face is a harmless, sweet character; please don't abuse him!

Here are some examples of appropriate times to use smiley faces:

I just got a raise! :-)

Yes, I would love to go out with you. :-)

Nice photo. What a beautiful dress! :-)

I just won the lottery and I am going to France. :-)

Guess whose pregnancy test just came back negative? :-)

You see, there are so many times we can celebrate. What better way to charm your reader than with an emoticon that matches the emotion? Of course, one might argue a skillfully written comment does not need an emoticon to convey an emotion.

If you truly know what you are doing, you don't need a smiley face, frowny face, or any other face. Your reader should know the right emotion if you construct a good sentence. For that matter, shouldn't we all aim for that anyway? From now on, how about we all use emoticons a little less and look into writing actual sentences a little more?

:-) I couldn't resist.

Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle


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  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 14 months ago from Baltimore, MD

    That is a good one too.

  • Niki Selken profile image

    Niki Selken 14 months ago

    We all know that laughing till you cry

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    I am with you on this, Linda. There is something so endearing about the smiley face. :-)

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Long live the smiley face emoticon :-)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thank you so much! Smiley face abuse is, of course, a very serious offense. ;-)

  • hazelwood4 profile image

    hazelwood4 5 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

    Ha Ha, this is too funny! I seem to use smiley faces all the time too, I wonder how many times I have used them inappropriate places. Great share! Makes you think for sure.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Hahaha... I am happy you enjoyed my hub so much. Thanks so much for checking it out!

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    I can see I better not read you more often than once a month. Laughing like a total lunatic can hurt sometimes and strain muscles and sprain my vocal cords....and well, it's just not worth my health at this age.....hope you understand.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Don't worry - admitting you have a problem is the first step down the road of recovery. Thanks for checking out my hub! I am glad you enjoyed it.

  • Green Art profile image

    Green Art 5 years ago

    Great HUB! I'm a user of emoticons and never realized I had a problem until I read this hub. I admit that when I just can't find the words to express my true feelings I reach for the keys to ease my dilemma :):):):):) Oh no I'm doing it again. Ahhhhh:):)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Oh no! It is OK. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Thanks for checking out my hub!

  • marketingbloke profile image

    marketingbloke 5 years ago

    Nice hub mate, I am a serial abuser of emoticons sorry =]

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    lovedoctor926 - Thanks so much for the compliment and your appropriate use of the smiley face. :-) Also, thanks for the vote up!

    Sunshine625 - Something told me you would be a fan of the smiley face. I have not used emoticon texting before. That does sound interesting. I remember going crazy with emoticons when I used Yahoo Messenger. They have more emoticons than I ever thought possible. Thanks for the comment! :-) I just had to give you a smiley.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I'm guilty as charged. I wish HP's had emoticons in their comment section. That'll probably never happen, but I could wish :) I have a blast with emoticon texting on my iPhone with a few never know what emoticon is going to pop up next. You would love it...if you aren't doing it already! ;-)

  • profile image

    lovedoctor926 5 years ago

    You are such a loser! Lol.. You are right! I agree with the smiley face offender approach. The examples that you used are very good:) now, this is the right way to use a smiley face since I gave you a compliment. Voted up!

  • josh3418 profile image

    Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

    You are welcome!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Docmo - You are right! It is like a disease. At least admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. :-) See it is contagious! Thanks for the votes!

    josh3418 - Wow, that was a lot of smiley face usage in one comment. :-) Thanks for checking out my hub and thanks for the votes.

    Shaddie - It is just so much fun though. I like experimenting with new faces, but then I figure no one understands what I am trying to say anyway. Thanks for the comment.

    Robin Oatley - Why, yes! You are allowed to use the smiley face in that comment. Thanks a bunch. Thank you for the votes, too!

  • Robin Oatley profile image

    Robin Oatley 5 years ago

    Lol, great hub! And since that was a positive, happy sentence I think I'm allowed to use a smiley now :)

    Voting up and funny!

  • Shaddie profile image

    Shaddie 5 years ago from Washington state

    I am so guilty of this. I am obsessed with emoticons. Smiley faces, sad faces, angry faces, surprised faces... I do it all. It's very annoying, even to me :\

    dangit there I go again.

  • josh3418 profile image

    Joshua Zerbini 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Hahaha, Jeannie, this was an incredible idea! I loved it! So clever, funny and witty! I :) Never :) Abuse :) The :) Smiley :) Emoticon :) LOl

    Great hub, voted up and all that good stuff!

  • Docmo profile image

    Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

    God you're so true. I think the smiley abuse is like an infectious disease 'cuz even if you don't wanna do it, the moment you see others doing it it catches! Funny but so true. voted up, of course. :-) ... sheesh. stop it, Docmo.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    To some degree, I can relate to that. Sometimes I just need to say something a little harsh to someone else. If I smile and laugh while saying it, people tend to take it better. It is all part of customer service. :-) Thanks for the comment!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

    lol! this reminds me of that film Nikita, about a spy, when she was told that as long as she always smiled she could get away with insulting who she liked! so funny, and no, I would never ever abuse the poor little smiley! :)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Jools99 - Thanks so much for the vote up. The smiley faces approve, too, I am sure.

    weestro - Thank you for joining the fight against smiley face abuse. It is a serious, yet seldom discussed issue. Thanks for the votes!

  • weestro profile image

    Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub, thanks for bringing awareness to this epidemic! I'm fighting the urge to type a smiley face now so I will wrap this comment up....Voted up, funny, and awesome.

  • Jools99 profile image

    Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

    Here's to Smileys :o)

    Voted up .....:o) etc, etc :o)

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    tammyswallow - Thanks so much! I am happy you liked it.

    Weekend Reader - I also want the sarcastic smiley face emoticon. Sometimes people just don't get it! Hehe.

    Victoria Lynn - Thank you! I am glad you liked this one so much. Someone has to speak up for the smileys!

    howlermunkey - Uh-oh! I will just have to trust that you are indeed smiling.

    WhydThatHappen - Hmmm... I think someone needs to invent the sarcastic smiley.

    Vellur - Thank you for getting behind my cause. We all need to save the smiley faces!

    PinkPurl - Thank you!

    LocalGuy - I thank you for resisting the urge to use a smiley face, but most of all, so do the smiley faces.

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

  • LocalGuy profile image

    LocalGuy 5 years ago from Breckenridge, CO

    I really wanted to place a smiley face emoticon in my comment but I am going to stand strong and resist becoming a part of the problem.

  • PinkPurl profile image

    PinkPurl 5 years ago from Lowell, Michigan USA

    This is Great!

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

    Smiley Face has feelings too, so let us not abuse. Great hub and enjoyed.

  • profile image

    WhydThatHappen 5 years ago


    Weekend Reader, that's the exact smiley I'm searching for.

  • howlermunkey profile image

    Jeff Boettner 5 years ago from Tampa, FL

    awesome hub! but due to the fact I just had a botox procedure you may not be able to see my smile well :]

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

    I think this is one of my favorites of yours. And yes, I'm an offender sometimes. But I love smiley faces! :-)

  • Weekend Reader profile image

    Cindy D Whipany 5 years ago

    I need the "I'm being sarcastic here" smiley. Often. I try to let the truly happy or funny messages speak for themselves.

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    Such a cute hub. Your sense of humor cracks me up. :p

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    Thank you for your support in this important matter. Smiley face abuse is no laughing matter.... or smiling matter. :-)

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

    Uh-oh, I am so guilty of using this on occasion. I agree though, we should try to use it a little less. Enjoyed your hub!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    RealHousewife - It is so hard to stop! Those smileys can be so addictive. Thanks for the votes.

    Levertis Steele - It is a shame that something so cute and innocent has turned into something so wrong. Let's bring back the happy smiley face emoticons. Let's only use them when it is appropriate. Thanks for the vote up. :-)

    Millionaire Tips - Yeah, I am tired of people saying something totally evil, but then putting a smiley face behind it. Not cool! Oh, hehehe... I mean someone posted a geniunely beautiful dress on Facebook... this was not a catty statement. Thanks for the comment.

  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

    I agree with you, let's save the smiley faces for the happy emotions. Now that it has been used to disguise hateful comments, it makes the smiley face suspect even with the nice comments. What did you mean by, "Nice photo. What a beautiful dress! :-)"?

  • Levertis Steele profile image

    Levertis Steele 5 years ago from Southern Clime

    Yes, I hate the smiley face abuse. I have loved smiley faces for years and often used smiley face themes for kids' birthdays, get well cards, friendly letters, note, and others. After seeing so much abuse of them, Iam reluctant to use them. I see the devilish, hateful smiley faces often. Are the coyright owners producing these ugly ones? Bullies and other mean people love them. That is tasteless, but people come in all flavors, cayenne being the worst.

    Thanks for speaking up for these little happy guys. They have been around for a long time adding cheer to many lives, and it's a shame that many choose to abuse them. I am voting up.

  • RealHousewife profile image

    Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    Alright! Ok! I do it - a lot! I am guilty! :-) lol. Such a bad habit!!

    Up, funny and all that!

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    iamaudraleigh - Oh no, even more shameless smiley face abuse in a comment! :-) That is OK. Thanks for checking out my hub!

    TToombso8 - Oh my goodness! You are going to fight for that smiley, aren't you? I already know what you do to spiders, so I don't think I want to get in a fight with you. Thanks for the comment!

    DeborahNeyens - I think we all abuse the smiley faces a time or two. Admitting you have a problem is the first step. ;-) Oh-uh... winky smiley face abuse from me! Thanks for dropping by!

    Kristen Haynie - I am not sure why it has become OK to post something rude and then put a smiley face after it, but I keep seeing it more and more. It is as if it is OK to be mean as long as you have a sense of humor abou it. Ummm... no. Thanks for joining me in this important mission. :-)

  • Kristen Haynie profile image

    Kristen Haynie 5 years ago from Modesto, CA

    I do tend to overuse smiley faces in text messages and emails. However, I never use them next to a negative or rude comment. It doesn't make sense to me why someone would do that. If they said that to my face, would they be smiling like that? I don't think so!

    I really enjoyed this hub! Glad someone addressed this widely ignored issue!

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

    Love it. And I am so guilty! : )

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    Love it! :) Fabuloso! Bravo! Abusing the smiley is my last joy in life. You can have my smiley when you pry it from my cold, dead keyboard! :)

  • profile image

    iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

    I admit...I abuse the smiley sorry :)! What a fun hub!!!