You're waiting for a text from a very important person of the opposite gender. Three dots pop up on your iPhone, indicating that the other person is typing a new message.
If waiting for a reply makes you anxious, rest assured it's not just you; most of us feel "texting anxiety" from the typing bubbles that pop up in chats and texts.
The New York Times reported that those text bubbles, which seem so superfluous now, have their roots in the era of dial-up Internet. In those days, users needed to know that their contacts were fully connected. The "typing" bubbles were a way of indicating connectivity.
But that indicator is no longer needed, so the bubbles have picked up something of a social significance. They are the too-long pause of an ex-boyfriend typing, the endless wait for plans from a friend and the uneasy lull in a fight.
The New Republic noted that digital communication's biggest benefits should be the endless time and freedom you have to respond to messages. But instead, the texting indicator shows up when you type, letting others witness your thought process.
It also explains that when people take more time to reply, the recipient expects to be let down in some way.
We never watch those little bubbles as closely as when they hold some key to our future. No matter how long and eloquent the response actually is when it comes, it's not what we expected.
David Auerbach, who invented the typing bubbles, said that their innate problem is the anticipation they build.
According to Auerbach,
If there’s any unease associated with the typing indicator, it’s not from the added immediacy per se, but a lack of enough immediacy. It tells you that something is going on, but leaves you to wonder what it is.