Is Using A Thumbs Up Emoji Passive Aggressive? Gen Z Thinks So


The generational divide seems to be a common thread in just about every subject you can think of these days. From the word “Boomer” becoming an insult to the relentless demonization of millennials as “lazy,” these intergenerational conflicts can be seen everywhere.

Emojis are the latest battleground in the generational wars. Specifically, there are some differing views on the thumbs-up emoji. Some love it, while others think it’s one emoji that should never be touched if you want to maintain your relationships. So, what’s the deal?

RELATED: Are You ‘Cheugy’? The New Gen Z Word That’s Mocking Older Generations

A recent Reddit thread started by a member of Gen Z asked, “Am I not adult enough to be comfortable with the ‘thumbs up’ emoji reaction?”

It garnered dozens of comments, with teens and 20-somethings sharing their beliefs that using this emoji is “super rude,” “passive aggressive,” or even “hostile.”

“I don’t know why but it [seems] a little bit hostile to me, like an acknowledgment but kind of saying ‘I don’t really care/am not interested,’” one Redditor shared.

This is an interesting take, and is reminiscent of how many feel when someone responds to a carefully crafted text message with “k.” Why not a simple “sounds good?” How about a nice “thanks for letting me know!” Why even bother responding?!

Scrolling through this thread, I started to realize that the use of the thumbs-up emoji deems you “old” in the eyes of Gen Z. But that’s not all.

According to The Economic Times, there’s a whole list of emojis that make you look old when you use them. This list was the result of a poll of roughly 2,000 people between the ages of 16 and 29, so it didn’t just emerge out of thin air. And if you’re anything like me, you use several of these on a daily basis.

  • ❤️
  • 👌
  • 😂
  • 🙈
  • 👏
  • 💋
  • 😬

The communication differences among generations are apparently more vast than ever. But personally, I find the thumbs-up emoji the most efficient way of letting people know I’ve received their message without making a big deal out of it. I may look old (and apparently passive-aggressive), but you can pry this emoji from my cold, dead hands.

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