As a millennial woman and man who are active on social media, I often see people ending messages or captions with '3'.
This numeric shorthand has become popular to signify 'less than three' or love.
However, as with any slang or trend, there are layers of meaning and nuance - especially across genders.
In this article, I aim to explore the varied interpretations of ending a message with '3' from my perspective as a 20-something female and male social media users.
My goal is to provide insight into this popular social media phenomenon and unpack how such a simple symbol can carry different meanings for people based on their gender and other attributes.
For those not immersed in social media or online communication, this shorthand may seem perplexing or unnecessary.
However, for those of us who have adopted '3' into our digital vernacular, it has become a quick way to convey affection or closeness, albeit in an ambiguous fashion.
The Origins of Using 3 as Slang on Social Media
The use of the number 3 as slang or code on social media originated on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
On these networks, the number 3 is used as a shortened form of the word “love” or to signify adoration or strong affection for someone or something.
The Meaning of 3 for Girls
For teenage girls and young women, using 3 is a way to express platonic affection for close friends or to show support for peers.
Posting a series of 3’s, such as “333” or “33333,” amplifies the sentiment and indicates an even greater level of care, esteem or solidarity.
Some girls may use 3’s to compliment friends’ selfies or outfits as a way of building each other up with kind words and empowerment.
The Meaning of 3 for Boys
Adolescent boys and young men tend to use 3 in a more casual or playful way to flirt with or tease female friends or crushes.
Commenting 3’s on a girl’s social media posts is a low-key way for a boy to signal that he finds her attractive or likes her without being too obvious about his interest.
Some boys may also use 3’s to gently rib or poke fun at close guy friends in a good-natured, brotherly way.
For boys, 3’s are often a joke or a way to make friends laugh.
When a Girl Sends You 3 Emojis - What She's Trying to Say
As a male recipient of three emoji kisses (whether 😘 or 💋) from a girl, it can be difficult to determine exactly what message she is trying to convey.
There are a few possibilities to consider based on the context of your relationship and conversation.
If you have been casually flirting or dating, three kisses is likely a playful way of showing she's interested in you romantically.
The multiple kisses emphasize her affection and hint she would like to become more intimate or serious.
However, without further conversation, it is hard to know for sure if she wants to officially start a relationship or just continue lighthearted flirtation.
She Considers You a Close Friend
For girls, kisses and hearts are not strictly reserved for romantic partners.
She may send three kisses to a few of her closest friends, viewing you as someone she trusts, values and wants to express platonic love for.
Unless she exhibits other signs of attraction, it is best to assume her feelings are friendly.
She's Being Polite
Some girls feel compelled to add kisses and hearts to conclude a conversation to be congenial, even with casual acquaintances.
The kisses are meant as a social nicety, not a sign of interest.
Look for other messages that show investment in getting to know you before assuming she feels a real connection.
When a Guy Sends You 3 Emojis - Decoding His Message
When a male sends you three emoji icons, he may be trying to convey a subtle message.
As an older female, interpreting modern digital communication from younger generations can be challenging.
However, some insights may provide clarity into this cryptic code.
Admiration or Affection
A series of three heart emojis (<3 <3 <3) typically signifies that the sender holds feelings of admiration, fondness or affection for the recipient.
The repetition emphasizes the strength and sincerity of these sentiments.
In this context, the three hearts can be viewed as a digital way of saying “I like you” or “I care about you” without being too emotionally vulnerable.
Enthusiasm or Excitement
If the emojis sent are other expressive icons like smiley faces, clapping hands or party poppers, the male may simply be conveying feelings of enthusiasm, excitement or celebration.
For example, three clapping hands (👏 👏 👏) could be his way of energetically congratulating you or showing support for an accomplishment or good news you recently shared.
The repetition amplifies the spirited and emphatic nature of the praise or congratulations.
At times, three winky face emojis (😉 😉 😉) from a male suitor could signal flirtatious interest or attraction.
The repeated winks emulate flirty glances in real life and suggest playful banter or a desire to connect on a more intimate level.
However, without additional context, the intent behind these emojis can be ambiguous.
It may be best to respond with a casual but friendly message before assuming a flirtatious undertone.
Does Sending 3 Mean "I Love You" on Social Media?
As social media has become increasingly popular, certain symbols, acronyms, and emojis have developed meanings beyond their literal interpretations.
For example, the number three (“3”) has come to represent “I love you” for some users.
However, the meaning can differ based on the context and the person sending the message.
When a girl sends “3” to a friend or romantic partner, it typically means “I love you.” Girls frequently use this symbol casually with close friends and for expressing affection or emotional support.
In a dating relationship, a girl may send “3” to convey her loving feelings for her boyfriend or girlfriend.
For boys, the meaning of sending “3” is less straightforward.
Some boys do use “3” to tell a girlfriend “I love you,” especially when the relationship is new.
However, boys more commonly use “3” platonically to show support for friends.
For example, a boy may send “3” to a friend to say “I’ve got your back” or “You can count on me.” Boys tend to use more direct phrases like “I love you” to express affection in romantic relationships rather than symbolic shortcuts.
Other Flirty Uses of 3 on Social Media
As an avid social media user, I have come across various interpretations of the number 3's meaning on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
The most common uses tend to be lighthearted and flirtatious in nature.
Using 3 to convey attraction or interest in someone is popular, especially among younger users.
Commenting 3 hearts (<3 <3 <3) or 3 fire emojis (🔥🔥🔥) on someone's selfie is a playful way to signify you find them appealing or "hot." The more 3's, the stronger the sentiment.
Some may view excess use of 3's as overeager or clingy behavior, so moderation is key.
The 3 emoji (😘😘😘) represents blowing three kisses and is used to show affection for friends, family, pets or a romantic interest.
While a single kiss emoji may be platonic, three in a row typically implies flirtatiousness or crush-like feelings.
Use with caution to avoid miscommunication, especially if the feeling is not mutual.
When separated from someone special, commenting 3 heartbroken emojis (💔💔💔) or 3 sad faces (😢😢😢) is a way to convey you're thinking of them and wish you were together.
The repetition of 3 represents the depth and longevity of your melancholy state.
This can be an overdramatic display for some, so again, moderation is advised.
Using 3 in Your Social Media Usernames or Bios
Using the number 3 in your social media usernames or bios has become popular to signify different meanings, especially among younger generations.
As a female social media user, I have noticed many of my female friends utilize the number 3 in their usernames or bios to represent a heart symbol, conveying sentiments of love or affection.
However, some male social media users may use 3 to represent the ‘E’ in the word ‘eat’ as a reference to oral sex.
For many female social media users, especially teenagers and young adults, using 3 in their username or bio is a way to subtly include a heart symbol and share their romantic or affectionate side.
The 3 resembles a sideways heart, so by including 3, 3’s or 333 in their username or bio, they are signifying love, adoration or other tender emotions.
Some see it as a more stylish way to include a heart rather than using an emoji.
Using 3 in this way is a popular trend I have noticed among younger female social media users and their friends.
On the other hand, some male social media users, typically also teenagers and young adults, may use 3 to crudely represent ‘eat’ in reference to oral sex.
By including 3 or 33 in their username or bio, they are signaling in a coded way that they are interested in that sexual act.
While less common, this interpretation does exist among certain male social media users, especially those looking to seem edgy or promiscuous to their peers.
The Significance of 3 in Religion and Numerology
The number 3 holds special significance in many of the world's religions and spiritual belief systems.
In Christianity, the Holy Trinity represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The three wise men who visited Jesus after his birth highlight the importance of the number 3 in the Bible.
In many Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, 3 represents a triad of foundational principles.
For Christians, 3 represents the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The three wise men or magi who visited the baby Jesus after his birth also highlight the importance of 3 in the Bible.
The three gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the magi offered to Jesus have symbolic meaning.
Gold represents Jesus's kingship, frankincense his divinity, and myrrh his suffering and death.
In Eastern Religions
In Hinduism, 3 represents the Trimurti or three main deities: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.
Buddhism's three jewels are the Buddha, the dharma (teachings), and the sangha (community).
Taoism's three treasures are compassion, frugality, and humility.
In numerology, the number 3 represents creativity, self-expression, optimism, and imagination.
People with a “3” in a prominent position in their numerology chart are said to value independence, adventure, and inspiration.
The number 3 is thought to signify talent, wit, and an artistic nature.
Whether in religion, spirituality or numerology, the number 3 seems to represent foundational forces or key characteristics of creativity, imagination and self-expression.
Its recurrence across belief systems and cultures highlights the significance and power attributed to this number.
For many, 3 is more than just a number - it is a sacred symbol.
How to Respond When Someone Sends You 3 Emojis
When someone sends me the “3” emoji, I interpret it in a few ways.
It could mean:
If it's from someone I'm romantically interested in or dating, three emojis likely signify flirting or expressing affection.
The sender may be hinting that they like me or find me attractive.
In this case, I would respond lightheartedly in kind, perhaps with a " ;) " or "You're sweet!" to acknowledge the affection without escalating the flirtation, depending on my level of interest.
From a friend, the "3" emojis could be a form of playful teasing or an inside joke.
Friends commonly use emojis to poke fun at each other in an affectionate, good-natured way.
I would probably tease them right back with a witty retort to keep the banter going.
For example, I might reply with "Oh please, you know you <3 me!" using the heart emoji.
They're Expressing Platonic Affection
The sender could also just be conveying friendly affection or support.
Close friends and family members often send hearts or other emojis to show they care.
In this case, I would respond similarly with "Aww, love you too!" or another message expressing platonic affection to affirm our emotional connection.
They're Being Sarcastic
Some people use emojis sarcastically to convey an ironic or exaggerated sentiment.
If I think the sender is being facetious, I won't take the bait.
I'll ignore the message or reply with a noncommittal but polite response like "Haha, okay." to avoid escalating an insincere exchange.
In the end, emoji usage is highly subjective, so the sender's intent isn't always clear.
But by considering the context and our relationship, I can make an educated guess as to the meaning of those three little hearts and respond in an appropriate way.
The key is not to read too much into it or make assumptions, especially if you're unsure of the sender's tone or motivation.
A light, casual response is usually a safe bet.
What Does 3 Mean on Social Media From a Girl and a Boy? FAQs
What Does 3 Mean on Social Media From a Girl's and boy's Perspective
As an avid social media user, I have noticed the use of “3” in comments and messages has become quite popular recently.
This shorthand has taken on a meaning of its own, so I wanted to provide some clarification on what “3” means from both a female and male perspective in today’s digital world.
From a female viewpoint, “3” is commonly used as a quick way to express affection or convey that you like someone or something.
It is the digital version of saying “heart” to signify love or deep fondness.
Girls will often comment “3” on friends’ social media posts or in direct messages to show they care.
Some see it as a more casual way of saying “I love you” to close friends or partners.
On the other hand, some boys use “3” more casually to express that they find someone attractive or appealing in some way.
For example, a boy may comment “3” on a girl’s social media selfie to indicate he thinks she looks pretty or desirable.
However, others argue this unsolicited expression of interest can make some recipients feel uncomfortable or objectified.
It is best to avoid using “3” in this manner unless you have an established rapport with the person.
In summary, the meaning of “3” depends greatly on the context and intent of the person using it.
For many girls, it signifies platonic affection or support.
Some boys may use it to casually express attraction or romantic interest, but this use can be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful.
If there is any doubt about the implication, it is best to avoid using “3” altogether or to clarify your meaning to avoid miscommunication or hurt feelings.
The safest approach is using words to convey how you truly feel.
As this exploration of the 3 emoji's meaning on social media demonstrates, there are some key differences between how girls and boys tend to interpret and use this popular emoji.
For girls, the 3 is most commonly used as a quick way to express affection for close friends or in response to an emotional post.
For boys, the 3 is more often used casually and platonically, as a way to show general support or approval.
Of course, there is a lot of variation among individuals, and emoji usage continues to evolve.
But gaining insight into subtle differences like this can help foster greater understanding and inclusiveness as we communicate across genders online.
The next time you send or receive a 3 emoji, consider the context and think about how the meaning might differ depending on the gender of the person on the other end.
A small step like that can go a long way toward building empathy and forging stronger connections in an increasingly digital world.