Hello and good day. Have you been doing a lot of texting lately? Me, too — and my thumbs hurt. With all of that typing comes more conversations and more reasons to use reactions (the name for those symbols on iMessage that you can and probably do use to add some flair). Maybe your digits need a little break and this is the best you can do right now. Fair, but let me remind you that solely reacting to a message is not a response, In fact, if all you send is a heart or !!, it is very annoying. Still, since this is the world we live in, allow me to engage in a good, old-fashioned decoding.

Heart

A heart is a profession of love or, at least, heavy like. You may get this reaction when you send someone something a lil’ bit cute or perhaps a compliment, and it means, “awww thanks!” It’s also possible to get back a heart when you send a message and someone loves that journey for you. For example, you may say you’re ordering pizza, downing a bottle of wine, and binging whatever the new “Tiger King” is tonight. A heart indicates that the recipient of this news fully supports your endeavor and sends the warmest regards. 

Thumbs Up

Above all else, this reaction is used for function and efficiency. It comes in lieu of a “got it” or a “thanks.” Someone will like your text when you say “gimme 5, then I’ll call you” or “just Venmoed you.” It’s an acknowledgment. Like, if you’re dealing with a seven-part texter, the thumbs up can acknowledge a point made five messages ago without running the flow of the convo and bouncing between topics too much. It serves its purpose and gets the job done. I like to think of it as the missionary position of reactions. 

Thumbs Down

Facebook thumbs down walked so iMessage thumbs down could run. And although the former has since ceased to exist, it’s still in our hearts. It is very important to be able to disagree in any text relationship, and the thumbs down makes it happen in a less than one centimeter image. If you receive a negative digit, it’s safe to say someone really did not like what you said. Maybe you told them some bad news, like that you won’t be able to FaceTime tonight, and they’re disappointed but trying to make it cute with a fake thumb. This also may work a different way, suggesting that they agree with you about something being super shitty.

If you receive a negative digit, it’s safe to say someone really did not like what you said. Maybe you told them some bad news, like that you won’t be able to FaceTime tonight, and they’re disappointed but trying to make it cute with a fake thumb.

HaHa

If someone HaHas my text, I am instantly validated, because I know that they know I’m funny. A plain old “lol” wouldn’t adequately convey the level of hilariousness. But the HaHa can also be used to diffuse some sass. Someone may find what you’re saying amusing when you did not intend for them to be entertained in any which way. Their Haha may make you angry — and rightfully so. (In this case, you should just react to every text with a question mark forever.) I’ve also been known to HaHa my own text when it did not get the attention it deserved.

Exclamation Points

Two exclamation points are my favorite way to punctuate something sarcastic. “Keep dreaming, sweetie!!” has so much more punch than “keep dreaming, sweetie!” See? Two is better than one. If you get this cute duo, it most likely means that someone wants to emphasize something you just said — it’s basically a more exciting way to express agreement. It can also mean that they too have been hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked, or led astray by what you have just shared!! In other words, they are shocked and using the double exclamation as a stand-in for “OMG,” “NO WAY,” or “GET OUT.”

Question Mark

If you receive this curious piece of punctuation, it can mean 1. “I’m giving you an opportunity to explain what you just said, which is potentially offensive.” 2. “I literally have no idea what the fuck this means.” 3. “I know what this means, but I don’t know how to respond, so I’m going to make you explain it to buy myself time to think of a response.” Want to passively call someone out for their (literally) questionable comment? Throw this squiggle mark all up on that text.