Does your crippling social anxiety and fear of letting anyone too close keep you from developing intimate relationships with other people? If so, then today is your lucky day, friend! A new study claims you may not be deeply broken — you could just not be using enough emoji.
Research from the Kinsey Institute, which was published in the PLOS One journal, finds that emoji users were more likely to go on a second date with their romantic partners than people who don’t use emoji in communication. Emoji users were also more likely than non-emoji users to engage in sexual activity on their dates, whether sharing a first kiss over dinner or having sexual intercourse.
While the respected sexology research center did not discover a correlation between emoji use and the likelihood that an individual would go on a first date, it concluded that using smiley faces and other symbols allowed study participants to develop greater intimacy with their partners.
“[T]he use of emojis allows daters to communicate important affective information to potential partners which facilitates successful intimate connection and more romantic and sexual opportunities,” claims the study.
What makes the study of particular relevance to LGBTQ+ people is that the Kinsey Institute — named for bisexual human sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsey — polled a disproprionate number of queer and trans folks for the report. Of the 5,000 survey participants, 13.2 percent identify as LGBTQ+. The most recent Gallup surveys estimate that 4.5 percent of the American population is LGBTQ+.
The findings notably do not take into account asexuals, however, who may have reasons for not developing intimate relationships that have little to do with how many dancing ladies they text every day.
But while researchers surveyed participants about their overall emoji use, one thing you won’t find in the report is which emoji will help you become more lucky in love. According to the Kinsey Institute, it’s impossible to “fully know which emojis are most effective at helping to form connections between people.”
It likely depends on context: While it may not be appropriate to text the object of your affections an eggplant and a mouth before you’ve even finished the first cocktail, a well-timed, contextually appropriate peach never hurt anyone’s romantic chances.
And if you just really are shattered inside like that greenhouse in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and all the emoji in the world won't fix it, never fear. You’ll find your gardener someday.