Humans 101

What Your Most Frequently Used Emoji Says About You

Your (over)use of a certain emoji may hint at your values and flaws

Mark Starmach
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readOct 19, 2020

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Illustration of two hands over a crystal ball with emoticons inside.
Illustration: Mark Starmach

Here’s an instant personality test. Get your iPhone out and bring up the keyboard. Tap the emoji button and look to see what your most frequently used emoji is. It’s the one at the tippy-top of the list (unless you’re using an Android device, which will show your most recently used emoji, not your most frequently used emoji). This is the emoji you go to time and time again when communicating with others. And this byte-sized blip may say more about you than you think.

Mark’s most Frequently Used Emoji

This isn’t a far-fetched proposition. Over time, this single emoji has subconsciously surfaced as the one emoticon you most commonly wish to convey to others. As far as psychometric measures go, that’s about as honest and unbiased as you can get. It may just yield important clues about your psyche, strengths, weaknesses, values, and flaws — as well as how you typically relate to others and the world around you. For better or worse, that most frequently used emoji offers a litmus into your general mood or modus operandi at any point in time. And that could be incredibly useful.

Professional psychotherapist and counselor Charlotte Stapf helped me to discern what these emojis might say about us — both positive and negative — and what areas they may suggest for improvement.

Why did I consult with a psychotherapist for this? Well, Stapf explains her role as one where she listens without judgment until her clients know they have been seen and heard. Then, together, they identify behavior and thought patterns that are not working well for them. With Stapf’s outside perspective, she can help them find new ways of being within themselves and with others. Jokingly she calls this unpacking people’s “psychological baggage” and then helping them find better ways of carrying whatever they keep.

Which brings us back to emojis: What baggage might be hiding within these little emoticons? Stapf and I considered the most commonly used emojis according to the Unicode

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