After typing the last sentence of my article, I close my laptop and release a long, heavy sigh. I grab my phone and send my boyfriend a text that says, “Finally finished my article.” A few seconds later, I get a reply back–”Good job :).”

My boyfriend and I are nearing our one year anniversary, and I’ve been reminiscing about the time we’ve spent together so far. While doing so, I noticed that our primary means of communication has been through calls and texts. Since we attend different schools, we rely on technology to keep us connected, like FaceTiming every night before going to bed.

Using my phone to stay in touch doesn’t just apply to my relationship with my boyfriend; everyone in my friend circle lives in different parts of town, which means we have to interact the same way to keep in touch. We have group chats on social media to send memes and one on Kakaotalk to update each other on our lives.

Putting in this much effort to stay close to my friends didn’t always work this way. In fact, it wasn’t necessary to rely on technology to stay in touch because we saw each other at school so often. Ironically, being physically away from my loved ones made our bonds stronger because we have to put in more effort to see and talk to each other.

Effective communication is only seven percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal, which includes 55 percent body language and 38 percent tone of voice. That means that healthy bonds are built upon a foundation of interactions, like smiling in response to a compliment.

It is possible for two people to talk to each other often and not have a close bond. There is more to healthy relationships than communication; being able to understand the latter and have some sort of commitment to them are also important. Trust and honesty are examples of traits to a strong relationship. However, these traits are rooted in communication, since truly resonating with someone requires interactions.

If my boyfriend and I weren’t so active with the way we communicated, our relationship could have ended right when it started. If my friends and I never stayed in touch or tried to make time for each other, I wouldn’t have anyone to turn to when life goes south.

Even if you aren’t good at expressing the way you feel, it shouldn’t hurt to let a loved one know that you care. Show that you are putting in the effort so that the love and appreciation are more likely to be reciprocated. A simple, “This reminded me of you,” or, “Can’t wait to see you later,” will make the latter feel loved.

How do you communicate with your friends the most?