We've all been there before: pulse racing, sweaty hands, waiting for that blessed sound you've been aching to hear—the ding of your phone. You sent that message hours ago, and no response has left you wondering what you did wrong. Was the smiley face too much? Or was it the capitalization? No, what killed it was the length of it. Who says "hey" over "hi" anyways? 

Here's the thing: technology is ruining us. 

I don't even mean in the cliché way, like "Oh, you millennials never get off that phone!" I mean that using technology is changing the basic chemistry of relationships and forming them into misguided, confusing "technoships."

Technoship (noun) - a relationship that is more dependent on online interactions than personal communication.

The reason that the above conversation left our protagoso disappointed is because they allowed a relationship to become a technoship. Firstly, if someone is not responding to you, IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE DOING ANYTHING WRONG. A technoship is very frequently based solely on the ease and flow of a texting conversation, which is not only misleading, but also really stupid.

I know it's hard to fathom, but sometimes, people actually aren't on their phones. Maybe their phone fell in the toilet, or they got a phone call, or maybe, just maybe, they fell asleep? But sure, it's totally reasonable to assume that because it's taken them 15 minutes to respond that you are a complete failure as a human being.

Honestly, I can't tell you the number of times I have met people who can text all day and night long, but as soon as they are in person, they are so uncomfortable they can hardly look at each other. Texting means nothing

Believe me, I have been there. Last year, I went out on a date with this boy I really liked. We went out mini golfing, had dinner, and he even kissed me. I was literally on top of the world. The next day, I was still on Cloud Nine, reliving the night, when out of nowhere, my dad had asked me if the boy had texted me today. I fell off that cloud so fast I barely had time to think about what it could mean before I landed in a hole of negativity. I wondered if maybe he hadn't had fun? Do I smell bad? Am I a bad kisser? 

It turns out that the reason he hadn't texted me was because he was too afraid to come off as clingy or annoying, and when I confronted him about it, he was shocked that his (in)action had caused so much panic in me. Now we've been dating for almost a year. 

Another reality that you may come across, however, is that someone may not respond or may stop talking to you simply because they don't believe you have a lot in common. That. Is. Absolutely. OK. You don't need to meet someone's quota or check every box on their list. YOU are the way you are supposed to be, and whoever cannot handle that does not deserve you. 

What's the REAL Problem?

But the main issue of technoships is not the time elapsed between texts, but the attempt to create a sense of expressing emotion through a screen.

The iPhone has over 2,500 emojis ranging from your original smiley faces, to foods and drinks, to all the flags of the world. Those little characters were literally designed to try and replicate human emotion in order for said human emotion to be better shared and communicated.

As if it wasn't hard enough to choose the correct smiley face without coming off as creepy, the pressure increases once you add these random emojis into the equation. What the hell does it mean when someone texts you "What's up?" with a Cuban flag next to it? (But also, why would anyone do that anyway?)

It takes so much more effort to interpret what a text means than to simply call someone up or talk face-to-face to express how you feel. If they don't have emojis in their text, are they mad at you? Are they being passive aggressive if they use perfect punctuation? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Using Technology to Communicate Is Less Useful Than Productive

Face-to-face communication cannot be copied by a phone screen because there is too much room for doubt. For one thing, not being able to hear someone's voice leaves the recipient of every text grasping at straws. For example, remember when you were out late back in the day and you got a text from your mom. It is WAY past curfew. You shakily swiped the screen with your finger, and read the text, "Where are you?"

This could mean two very different things. On one hand, it could be an innocent, "Hey, you're out pretty late, what are you up to?" On the other hand, it could be "YOU ARE SO DONE WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DO YOU KNOW HOW LATE IT IS?!

Between all the deciphering of emojis, crafting the perfect text, and figuring out what someone is actually saying, you're probably so exhausted you forgot to send the message. Look someone in the face, ask them your question, hear their voice, and carry on. THAT TOOK ALL BUT FIVE SECONDS, RIGHT?

Texting and messaging is useful for the small stuff, I get it. You're in class shooting off a quick text to your best friend about dinner later, or reminding your roommate that she has to clean the dishes, or sending just a quick "Call you later" to a parent. 

My Advice for You

If you are freaking out because you haven't got a text from him or her yet, change the way you speak. Don't subject yourself to arbitrary emojis and confusing messages, stand up and demand to hear a voice, look someone in the eyes, and say what you need to say. Let's call rather than text, visit rather than message, and talk rather than type.