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20th Mar 2024

Gen Z feel uncomfortable about thumbs up emoji because it’s ‘passive aggressive’

Charlie Herbert

As a member of young people, hard agree

Young people have been urging everyone to stop using the ‘thumbs up’ emoji as because it’s too “passive aggressive”.

A Reddit user took to the platform to ask fellow millennials and Gen Zs were also getting wound up by the ‘thumbs up’ emoji.

They wrote: “I started an ‘adult’ job where we use Microsoft Teams to connect with each other for work.

“Currently, there only a few emojis you can use to react to a message (unless of course, you respond, and can use any emoji). Most people at work use the ‘thumbs up’ reaction all the time.

“I don’t use it much. I either ‘heart’ reactions or reply even if it’s a short ‘Great!’ or ‘Thanks!’ (I also feel like I use too many exclamation marks, but that’s a different story).

“Anyway, I think it’s normal for to ‘thumbs up’ messages, but I still feel like it’s such an unsettling response. Does anyone else feel this way?”

And they were meant with a deluge of replies – some in agreement, others not so much.

One person commented: “If you feel comfortable using a heart emoji, I am so confused by why you hesitate using the thumbs up. I used the thumbs up (in my mind ‘I agree” or ‘ok’) way before I used the heart (‘love it’ or ‘feeling the feels’). But that’s just me.”

But a 24-year-old user labelled the emoji “super rude” while pointing out the generational shift in how we communicate.

They wrote: “For younger people (I’m 24 for reference) the thumbs up emoji is used to be really passive aggressive. It’s super rude if someone just sends you a thumbs up. So I also had a weird time adjusting because my workplace is the same.

“So yeah it’s a generational communication culture difference. Everyone my age in the office doesn’t do it, but the Gen X people always do it. Took me a bit to adjust and get out of my head that it means they’re mad at me.”

A third person shared: “It probably feels unsettling because it’s impersonal, and based just off this post, you seem like the kind of person who prefers more genuine interactions with others.”

And another added: “Damn I’m embarrassed to be Gen-Z. It’s just a thumbs-up. Don’t search so deep.”

So next time you’re thinking about popping that pesky thumb at the end of your message, maybe think twice and just leave it out.

Unless you are trying to be passive aggressive, in which case whack about five on the end.

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