Human emotions are funny. No, not as in they have a great sense of humor, but as in, the complexity of these emotions. Being happy and being joyful is on the same spectrum as “good moods”. But we know they’re not the same. Each emotion has different levels to it. Most of these levels deepen and as ‘deepen’, they head inwardly. We begin to feel more from the deeper and deepest places than from shallow levels of emotion.
That explains why we wouldn’t cry for a random death in the world but would hunger strike for a celebrity. There’s “closeness” and attachment to that person, thing, animal, anything. And based on the intensity of that intimate emotion, our facial expressions change as well. We don’t have the same expression towards a fictional and a non-fictional death. We could have strong feelings for either and weak feelings for the “other”.
In the current digital age where everything’s going online, human emotions ain’t any different. They’re available virtually too! Via emojis. So, if you were to bring in these “levels of sadness” onto the virtual platform, these sad emojis can definitely read your mind. Face, in this case.
Directly Sad Emojis
Emojis that directly and evidently show sadness.
The slightly frowning face indicates a slightly sad face. The pain expressed by this face is neither that bad nor that intense. But, it could also be the beginning of an intense reaction of grief.
It’s the immediate emotional response to something that’s superficially sad or the first reaction to anything that’s bound to hurt deep.
The pain felt in this emoji is a little more curved than the previous emoji. However, more often than not, ☹️ is a “cute sad face”. It’s essentially the emoji you’d send to your partner if they said they were coming home late.
Honey, I’ll be a little late tonight.
Ugh. Again? ☹️
Yes, love. I’m sorry
That’s okay. You do you, honey (*mutters* Bitch I starved myself for so long just to eat together wtf)
☹️ could also be the reaction to anything that may not hurt that deep. For instance,
Hey, I don’t think the drinking plan is on… My folks have different plans…
Aw, shucks. ☹️
I know. I’m sorry, man.
Aye, that’s alright. We’ll party next weekend!
Sure, there was a tiny prick on the expectation of having fun, but, it’s okay. Shit happens. Now, ☹️ is a reaction to that superficiality of sadness and the ease of accepting unfavorable situations.
This one’s for a close acquaintance. Someone or something that’s neither in the friend zone nor in the stranger zone. The awkward, but very visible zone. But, as mentioned before, any small display of emotion could be the start of a heavy outburst, including 😢.
😢 can be a genuine response to a painful virtual situation as well; a heartbreaking post, a sad picture, a depressing quote, anything. In fact, 😢 seems the most genuine of the crying emojis. Because we all know how over-the-top the 😭 Loudly Crying Face is.
Which brings us to the next sad emoji.
We all know this emotion. An (un)expected breakdown. A necessity, almost. Don’t you just feel the suffocation when you haven’t had a good cry in a long time?
The ugly crying looks better in real life. It’s because the crying is real, obviously. But for some reason, that same emotion online, aka 😭, seems like an overly exaggerated emotion.
Which probably explains why it’s a bad idea to express intense emotions via emojis. It just animates the emotion so much that it nullifies its actual impact.
Check this out:
- Instance 1: Real Life
I’m really sorry about your loss.
It’s alright. *starts to sob uncontrollably*
*receives condolences, a warm hug, and even an empathetic response with mutual tears*
- Instance 2: Virtual Life
I’m really sorry about your loss.
It’s alright 😭
The very fact that you spent that extra few seconds to look for the right emoji or to even add it to the context in such an aggravating situation goes on to diminish the actual pain.
Although 😿 is a variant of the 😢 Crying Face, and it conveys pretty much the same emotion, there’s a teenie tiny gap between the two. While the yellow face shows ‘genuine emotion’, the cat face acts as the animated version of the same. This means, responding with a cat that’s sad, somehow reduces the intensity of the sadness it’s trying to express or reciprocate.
The frown held by this emoji is very similar to the ☹️ Frowning Face, except it’s a more humanized symbol of that emotion. It shows sadness, helplessness, and disappointment. The same is communicated by the gendered variants of this emoji; 🙍♂️ Man Frowning and 🙍♀️ Woman Frowning.
Indirectly Sad Emojis
Emojis that may have sadness as one of the compounding emotions that make up the dominant emotional expression/response.
Perseverance is the definition of willpower. We all make choices that may best suit us, but for every choice we make, we got to be consistent no matter what. And in that journey of unrattled consistency, we face exhaustion, helplessness, and this face.
- Nothing much, man. Just surviving. The current economy is so bad, I need that extra hustle😣
- She was on the brink of moving her last mountain when she was shot to death 😣
As much strength as it needs, perseverance can sometimes be an unattractive phase on the path of growth. Similarly, the emoji representation of this phase is not really a likable face. 😣 resonates with a forced cry or a “crying face” when we don’t like doing or going through something.
Disappointment comes with a blanket of sadness. Only this blanket could be thin or thick depending on our affiliation with the source of disappointment. The sadness that comes with that sense of being let down is more to do with feelings of betrayal, and mistrust, than with the usual kind of sadness.
Also, 😞 is generally used as the OG “sad face” online. It’s the best way to show sadness, be genuine about it, and not extra like our friend, the 😭 Loudly Crying Face.
The expression on this yellow face shows mental exhaustion, stress, and worry. Underlying these complex emotional responses is a faint line of regret and disappointment that emits through the 😓 Downcase Face With Sweat emoji.
- I wish I had more time with him 😓
- This feels like such a heavy load for one person 😓
Every ocean of worry has a streak of sadness in it. Sadness, a different span of emotion, is present in a worried frame of mind. That explains why anxiety has noticeable layers of sadness. This is just sadness being showcased indirectly through a different state of mind.
- I hope things get better 😟
- Sometimes I can’t help but ask, WHY 😟
The dictionary definition of being pensive banks towards a lost headspace, one that’s deep in thought or even making some serious but painful decisions. But, the pictorial description, aka the emoji itself says more on levels of “being low” or sad, than pondering.
Hence, 😔 can be used to suggest sadness, but mostly indirectly.
- Oh, I’m so sorry all that happened to you, love 😔
- I wish we had set things right from the beginning 😔
We’ve all broken down at some point in our lives. Those uncontrollable tears could either result from aches or other reasons such as happiness, contentment, and pride as well. Nonetheless, all emotional tears are accompanied by snot bubbles and a runny nose. So, based on that premise, 🤧 could be added to the “indirectly sad emojis”.
- Geez. Didn’t expect it to get that bad 🤧
- That’s the worst thing I’ve seen all day 🤧
Sadness is as valid as happiness. Expressing sad emotions is often labeled as being “emotional” or emotionally weak, but truth is, even higher intensities of happiness, anger, disgust and even insecurity could be a state of being “emotional”. Try lifting something heavy when you’re bawling in laughter. Now that’s weakness. Is that a bad thing? Not at all.
As recommended a daily dose of good laughter is, crying is that important.
Imagine bottling laughter for months. Scary. It gets suffocating. Similarly, holding back tears, fighting the urge to cry, and trying to “keep yourself together” all the time does get suffocating. Cry. It’s magical. The aftermath is this raw feeling of relief and renewal. It’s always good to have a good cry once in a while. It truly clears the way you perceive the world.
So. The next time you see someone cry, let “Don’t cry, it’s all going to be alright” or “Big girls don’t cry” or “Boys/men don’t cry” or worse, “If you love me, you’ll stop crying” not be your first response. Tell you what, chances are you love that person the most if you let them cry.
Constantly holding someone back from expressing all their emotions would create opacity in the process of building deeper relationships. Plus. You’re just being a huge barrier (a pain in the ass, in other words) in someone’s path towards emotionally redeeming themselves.
Let them cry. Hold them. Cry with them if need be. Let them put their head on your shoulder. Crying is always good.