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If you’re chatting with someone and they send you a heart emoji or emoticon, you might be wondering how to respond, or what it even means. Are they flirting, or just letting you know they care? Next time someone texts you a heart emoji—whether it’s your crush, a friend, or a stranger online—try not to sweat it. We’ll talk you through the best ways to respond, and how to figure out what that little heart might mean in the first place.


Respond with a heart emoji of your own.

  1. This is a simple way to return the sentiment. Whether the other person is flirting or just sending a little love and sympathy your way, replying with another heart is an easy way to say, “Right back at ya!” Shoot back another heart emoji, or even a few of them, to let them know the feeling is mutual.
    • You could even mix it up by sending a different kind of heart emoji back, such as the vibrating heart (💓, to show you’re vibing with them) or the new heart on fire emoji (❤️‍🔥, to demonstrate your passion).
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Reply with a flirty emoji if you’re into them.


Answer with a funny meme or gif.


Tell them how the emoji made you feel.

  1. Whether or not you appreciate it, let them know. You might be thrilled to get a heart emoji, or it might make you feel a little uncomfortable. Either way, it’s totally okay to speak up. For instance, you could say something like:
    • “Aww, that’s so sweet. Thanks for brightening my day!”
    • “Haha, thanks for the ❤️. That’s so cute.”
    • “Hey, I’m flattered, but I’m just not feeling a connection here. Sorry!”
    • If you feel like they’re being super creepy or inappropriate, the best option may be to block and ignore them. Otherwise, they might be encouraged to keep bothering you.[6]

Look at the context of the emoji.

  1. A heart emoji can mean a lot of different things. Before you jump to conclusions about the message your conversation partner is trying to send, think about who they are and what you’ve been talking about. Even though the classic heart emoji is usually associated with romance, it might mean something totally different depending on the context![8]
    • For instance, if you’re chatting someone up on Tinder, a heart emoji probably means they’re trying to flirt.
    • On the other hand, if you just let a coworker know that you’re going to be out sick today, they might send a heart emoji to show support and sympathy.

Pay attention to what kind of heart they used.

  1. Not all heart emojis are created equal. Different types of heart emojis can have slightly different meanings. While it isn’t guaranteed that every person uses each heart the same way, here are some general guidelines:[9]
    • A red heart (❤️) usually means romantic love, but some people also use it to show general affection, care, or sympathy.
    • A blue heart emoji (💙) has a more casual vibe, and might signal feelings of friendship.
    • Yellow hearts (💛) are sometimes used between family and close friends to show non-romantic love.
    • Purple hearts (💜) can have a naughtier, sexier energy—think eggplant emoji in heart form.
    • Pink hearts—like the vibrating heart (💓), the double pink hearts (💕), or the growing heart (💗)—tend to signal a flirtier feeling.
    • The sparkle heart (💖) is cute and playful, but not necessarily flirty or romantic. Someone might use it to show appreciation or gratitude, or to react to something they find adorable.
    • Black hearts (🖤) can be a little tricky to figure out without context. Some people use them as a reaction to dark or morbid humor, or even as a way to show sadness. However, the black heart can also just mean love or affection, like any other heart emoji.[10]
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Ask what they mean when in doubt.

  1. Sometimes it’s best to clear the air. While emojis can be super useful for expressing emotions, it can be really hard to interpret what someone means over text.[11] If you’re getting mixed or confusing signals from the other person, don’t be afraid to come right out and ask them what’s going on. It might be a little awkward at first, but you’ll probably feel better once you know what’s up! Try saying something like:
    • “Hey, what’s up with the heart emojis?”
    • “I notice you’ve been sending some kind of flirty emojis lately. Are you trying to tell me something? ;)”
    • “Is that an ‘I love you’ heart? Because if so, same!”

Try not to worry about the perfect response.

  1. Communicating over text can be stressful. It can be hard to figure out exactly what someone means when you can’t hear their voice or see their face. But in the end, emojis are a pretty low-key, casual way to communicate. Instead of stressing over exactly what they’re trying to say with that heart emoji—or trying to come up with the perfect answer—focus on having a fun and meaningful conversation.[12]
    • If you’re getting frustrated or bored talking over text, you can always ask them to give you a call or meet up in person for a deeper conversation.[13]
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About This Article

John Keegan
Written by:
Dating Coach
This article was written by John Keegan and by wikiHow staff writer, Megaera Lorenz, PhD. John Keegan is a Dating Coach and motivational speaker based in New York City. With over 10 years of professional experience, he runs The Awakened Lifestyle, where he uses his expertise in dating, attraction, and social dynamics to help people find love. He teaches and holds dating workshops internationally, from Los Angeles to London and from Rio de Janeiro to Prague. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Humans of New York, and Men's Health. This article has been viewed 154,452 times.
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Co-authors: 7
Updated: July 31, 2023
Views: 154,452
Categories: Featured Articles | Texting
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