Young people apparently don’t like the thumbs up emoji as its too ‘passive aggressive’

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 13th October 2022

The younger generations are apparently pretty uncomfortable with the use of the thumbs up emoji because they feel it’s “passive aggressive”.

Well, that’s according to a post that’s gone viral on social media recently.

Emojis are a part of our everyday language as much as real words are nowadays, but just as the generations appear to clash on pretty much anything, it’s perhaps not much of a shock that Millennials and Gen Z tend to favour some emojis more than their elders – and it’s the thumbs up that’s found itself in the firing line this time.

It comes after someone took to the r/Adulting thread on Reddit to confess to being “not adult enough to be comfortable with the thumbs-up emoji reaction,” which prompted others to chime in saying they agree.

Another Redditor said they feel it’s “really passive-aggressive” in agreement with the post.


“It’s super rude if someone just sends you a thumbs up,” they added, “so I also had a weird time adjusting because my workplace is the same.”

Other people said the issue with the thumbs up emoji is down to the fact that it can be confusing as a response to a question, and because it could mean a number of different things – from a simple ‘yes’, to merely a confirmation that someone has received a message.

Young people apparently don’t like the thumbs up emoji as its too ‘passive aggressive’ / Credit: Domingo Alvarez (via Unsplash)

Some even claimed it looks like a “lazy” response to typing out a proper message.

Although it may seem a bit bizarre for emojis to evoke such strong reactions, it’s apparently not the first time the younger generations have taken aim at the use of certain emojis, as last year, a survey of 2,000 youngsters by Perspectus Global determined the top 10 emojis Gen Z wants to “cancel”.

The red heart emoji, the “Ok” hand, the poo, and the monkey covering its eyes were some of the other emojis to make the unfavourable list.


Read more:

“With the average Brit sending 76 emojis a week across multiple platforms, it’s clear that these symbols are now a vital part of our daily communication – on both a personal and professional level,” the company said at the time the research was published.

“Yet this research indicates the importance of assessing which ones you use.

“Unless you want to be seen as old fashioned, it seems wise to avoid the thumbs up symbol.”

The Top 10 emojis Gen Z want to “cancel”

  1. Thumbs-up 👍
  2. Red heart ❤️
  3. “Ok” hand 👌
  4. Checkmark ✅
  5. Poo 💩
  6. Loud crying face 😭
  7. Monkey covering eyes 🙈
  8. Clapping hands 👏
  9. Lipstick kiss mark 💋
  10. Grimacing face 😬

Featured Image – Sincerely Media (via Unsplash)