As an expert in human interactions, I am often asked for advice. “Tessa,” people will say, “you are so good at interacting with humans. Can you help me?” The answer is yes. And so I have compiled for you a detailed description of the best way to react to a common human problem: an unanswered Facebook message from a human you are attracted to.

  1. First, prepare the Facebook message that will have been sent and not responded to. Double check with at least two friends to make sure that your wording is innocuous, low pressure, and spontaneous. Create several drafts in a Word document. Pick the best one. Copy and paste it into Facebook Messenger (make sure you have selected the right conversation to paste it into). Read it over at least three times to ensure there are no typos. Let your finger hover over “send.” Stare at the message. Read it one more time. SEND IT. Let a feeling of slight panic wash over you.
  1. You have sent the message. Good job. Now, you must do something else to distract yourself. Remember, you don’t really care if they’ve read it or not. It is an innocuous message and they will respond when they have time. You don’t even care if they don’t! It’s totally fine. Wash your dishes. Make coffee. Stare at your cat. You are a calm, rational human, and you are not at all concerned.
  1. Notice that it has been some time since you sent the message, and there is still no response. Glance quickly at Facebook’s sidebar. The human you have messaged is online. Do not worry about it. Remember how calm and rational you are. Stare at your cat again.
  1. Check to see if they’ve read the message. Not that it matters to you; you’re just curious. See that they’ve read it. See that they read it only moments after you sent it. Smile a totally normal smile because of how little this bothers you.
  1. Re-read your message. Find new, dark meanings hidden within the words. Hyperventilate a little. Keep smiling.
  1. Re-read the message they sent before the message you sent. Find new, dark meanings hidden within the words. Re-read your message. There’s a typo. Put your head between your legs and breathe deeply. Keep smiling. Keep smiling. You’re so calm.
  1. Think about the last interaction you had with them. When they smiled at you, were they really smiling, or were they just uncomfortable? Was it weird when you touched their shoulder? Oh god, why did you touch their shoulder? What’s wrong with you, you weird, pressuring freak? Oh my god, they hate you.
  1. Close your computer. Walk away. Just walk away. You should never have tried to interact with people. This is a disaster. How could anyone have told you that message was fine? Oh god, all your friends must hate you too. This is a gigantic joke, and right now they’re all somewhere with the person you were messaging, laughing about what a loser you are. Why couldn’t you see it before?
  1. Go to bed. It’s the only thing to be done now. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2pm – it is now bedtime. Try to get your cat to cuddle with you. He won’t. You were staring at him like a freak earlier and he hates you too. Hide under the covers.
  1. Check your phone. Oh. They’ve written back.
  1. Get out of bed. Sit down and open a Word document. Compose the first draft of your reply. Let the cycle begin again.