It's 2:02 am in Dubai, and I'm lying in bed while my loved ones and friends go about their daily lives on a pretty Saturday afternoon.
Back home, it is 6:02 pm the day before.
The eight-hour time difference can take a toll on these relationships. It's difficult to keep conversations going when I wake up just as they go to sleep, and vice versa.
Even though its late, I can't help but read and reread the string of text messages I'm receiving from this guy I recently stopped “seeing”. He messed up, and I decided that I didn't want to put up with any more BS.
So, I cut things off.
He kept messaging me emojis: his version of making things right.
The only reaction I had was laughter.
I'd be more inclined to respond if he manned up and stopped using emojis instead of actual words to get me to talk to him again.
Sometimes, I think people can't find the words to express themselves, so emojis become the perfect way to communicate their feelings. Over time, this becomes a habit and then people start relying on emojis instead of words.
The problem manifests when emojis are used in place of words in serious situations, like an argument. They can misrepresent your emotions to the other person, or — even worse — undermine what you're saying.
For instance, how many times have you confronted someone via text, and in response the other party sent a frowny face (or something similar) as a surrogate for admitting guilt?
But why is this happening, and do men and women use emojis differently?
Personally, I find that more men use emojis when texting me than any of my girl friends. Usually it's a cry for attention because I've stopped responding, or to flirt with me.
For example, a guy will see a picture that I posted on Instagram and text me a heart-eyed emoji. I find that so unappealing.
Just use your words, man! Charm me! Tell me I look beautiful instead!
But using emojis can also have some benefits. When used properly, they can reinforce emotions like excitement and happiness in a non-verbal way. In certain situations, I think this means that emojis can depict feelings more accurately than words.
Sometimes, I wonder if I could've patched things up with my ex if his vernacular hadn't just consisted of tiny digital images... But nah.
But hey, maybe your relationship can be saved if you express yourself in words, rather than depending on pre-made graphics to do the job for you.
This article originally appeared on the author's personal blog.