Let Me Tell You About the World’s Most Underrated Emoji

Emojipedia refers to the bodiless yellow ball below as the “Slightly Smiling Face,” but I’m here to petition that it deserves to be renamed “Shapeshifting Fucker.”

This face contains multitudes.

At first glance, “Slightly Smiling Face” (or “SSF” for short) appears to wear the quiet grin one might slap on while passing a coworker for the 30th time in one afternoon. But after you take your socks off and engage in an intimate staring contest with this emoji, you’ll observe that its eyes are barren, like two holes in a wedge of Swiss cheese. Its smile is…there, but it isn’t passionate enough to draw color into its cheeks or generate eyebrows like the smiles of its brethren, ☺️ and 😊.

The paradox here is that SSF’s apparent lack of sentimental depth isn’t a setback. Instead, it acts as a blank slate for a myriad of purposeful digital emotive expressions that can only be conveyed by an emoji without a soul. I will now demonstrate eight of the most important scenarios in which SSF should be used as an emcee for your textual feelings.

1. “Patience in the Front, Passive Aggression in the Back”

Use SSF to punctuate your polite, accommodating responses to the person who repeatedly takes advantage of your kindness and/or (generally) open schedule.

Demonstrated in a conversation with a flaky someone you went on one okay Tinder date with as it becomes apparent there’s no hope in a relationship (thank god) unless you morph into her/his couch:

2. The Covert SOS to Send to Your Best Friend When She Checks in on a Terrible Date

This emoji can be used as shorthand for “Please call me with a fake-yet-credible medical emergency before the dessert menu arrives.”

Demonstrated in a conversation with your platonic soulmate during a date that’s headed straight for the litter box:

3. The Prelude to a Ghost

Why go through the trouble of making plans that you have no intention of fulfilling when you can let this emoji do the talking?

Demonstrated in a conversation with the aforementioned terrible date, who ended dinner by burping and blowing it in your face:

4. The iMessage Poker Face for Your Messy IRL Persona

Your world might be crumbling around you, but the people you’re texting don’t need to know that unless they’re FaceTiming you, right?

Demonstrated in a group chat of friends who know that, for you, Mercury has been in retrograde all year and that your daily existence resembles the “This Is Fine” meme:

5. The Hypnotist

Verbal persuasion is most effective when it’s paired with a sturdy smile and inescapable eye contact.

Demonstrated in a conversation with your sibling who’s trying to get “creative” with parental gift-giving:

6. The Bookmark on an Argument You Will Pick Up When You Have the Energy

You’ll swing back on this unwarranted “k” AFTER you take your 3 p.m. Saturday nap.

Demonstrated in a warm confrontation with your slob of a roommate who you try so hard not to resent:

7. The Placating Lollipop You Can Give to Mom When You’re Too Tipsy to Text Her Back

A little smile is all it takes to reassure mom that you’ll hit her up *after* you leave ~the club~.

Demonstrated in response to a *terribly* urgent request from mama dukes:

8. The “Don’t @ Me”

You’re not weird because you’re the only person in your friend group who enjoys eating ice cream in the winter. You’re just more evolved than they are.

Demonstrated in a conversation with a so-called friend in which you are trying to convince them to meet up with you for some frozen dairy goodness during a winter weather advisory:


When used correctly, SSF and Upside-Down Face emoji can combine forces and roOoOoOoOll!


How do you use Shapeshifting Fucker?

Collage by Emily Zirimis.

Mia Lardiere

Mia Lardiere is a New York-based writer and multimedia content producer with a penchant for cooking. She hopes that Ina Garten will someday return her texts about Trader Joe’s truffle butter.

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