by Laura Dawn Lewis

Remember the first time you got one, a little ( :) ) and had no idea what it meant.  It was like this secret language those more e-mail savvy had developed for the sole purpose of making everyone else feel less tech inclined and completely clueless.

Was it programming language? Some industry instruction we were all suppose to understand?  

During 1998, these symbols started showing up more and more in my business correspondence and since I consulted for the high tech community, I didn't dare ask what it meant.  As a quasi-techie, I was suppose to know what they meant, right?   For months, the little symbol drove me crazy.  I felt completely out of it. Soon other funny little symbols appeared, which further exasperated me.   Then, one night a friend of mine who was completing her MBA at Pepperdine University came over.  During the previous night's lecture, her professor had given them an e-mail symbol cheat sheet and suddenly, my email nemesis tilted to the side and became a smile.   Mystery solved.

A little more research and a few more symbols became known. Now it's my turn to pass on the key to e-mail hieroglyphics.  These are great little symbols to brighten up any e-mail or Instant Messenger correspondence and can really soften up a business correspondence with a colleague you are familiar with. There is a caveat though.  Personally,  I wouldn't recommend using them with venture capitalists, government or financial types, unless of course he/she is your spouse or a familiar associate. My experience has been that ultra serious people have a hard time with playful correspondence and tend to see it as immaturity, so use discretion and common sense.  With that said, Here is the key.

Symbol Meaning Symbol Meaning
I'm Screwed


I'm not going to comment
I Feel Like a Dunce
:) or :-)
Smile -or- Don't take me too seriously
:-# or :-x
Censored -or- Not for Publications


So happy it brings me to tears


I'm Speechless -or- tongue-tied
;) or ;-)
Wink -or- Flirting


Doubtful -or- Something is fishy here
Mischievous -or- I'm up to something you'll like
:-( or :(
Bummer -or- I'm sad
Nose to nose


Surprise -or- 
Oh My!
[ ]


I need a hug
8- I
Anxious -or- Nervous
 I'm giving 'name' a hug
Sex When You Get Home!
Blowing You a Kiss
I'm Horny
I'm irritated -or- this does not make me happy.


I'm Dazzled! or I'm Star Struck
I'm angry
((   ))** or
Hugs & Kisses
I'm crying




Anonymous commented on 17-Dec-2011 12:29 AM5 out of 5 stars
yes thanks for the info
Anonymous commented on 23-Jan-2012 08:26 AM3 out of 5 stars
What does :0) mean?

Relationship and support group