New Age Etiquette: How to handle the Group Chat

Victoria Young schools us all in a lesson about social media manners

16th November 2015

Don’t all we millennials know too well the pains and frustrations of the group chat? What was intended to be an innocent discussion, deciding when and where we were meeting for the movie on Saturday night, soon mutates into a violent emoji battle followed by a debate about our favourite cheeses - seven YouTube videos, nine GIFs and a thousand cute stickers later, we’ve forgotten the purpose of the chat… right? This surely poses the questions: “How do we avoid these group chat nuisances?” and “What actually is the ‘etiquette’ of the group chat?”

Well, firstly, don’t be one of those annoying individuals who like to spam the group with innumerable emojis and stickers at every available opportunity.  Emojis are useful, at times, and can definitely lighten the mood of a dying conversation but unless you seriously want to annoy the living day-lights out of your friends then perhaps keep the sticker posting to a minimum.   

“Don’t be one of those annoying individuals who spams the group with innumerable emojis”

   Secondly, if a chat gets so unbelievably annoying that you feel like you will fall into mental breakdown unless you leave, DO NOT leave the group chat without first informing the group of your departure. It’s almost guaranteed that after “Joe Blogs has left the group”, your fellow chatters will talk and talk and talk and probably wait up all night wondering what they could have ever possibly said for you to leave the conversation and, by extension, erase them from your life. If you need to leave, at least have some common courtesy and announce it. Make it clear that you have acquired all of the information that you need from the group chat, and even if you haven’t, politely remind them of the assignment that you have due in tomorrow. You can catch up on the lowdown later!

Every group chat also has that one person who thrives from organising and communicating. If they are trying to redirect a crippling conversation, then the least you can do is to encourage these super keen individuals who maintain the spirit of the chat and want to get back on focus. It can’t be that hard to work with others online and redirect a group chat that is slowly but assuredly falling in to a rambling anarchy. Sensibly select the keen member of the chat who you believe to be striving for productivity and, my goodness, latch to them. After all, they’re probably your only hope in making it out of the group with sanity.

“Nobody enjoys being woken up at 3.00 in the morning to see the words ‘found a chocolate bar #happydays’”

  Finally, set a group chat closure time so that annoying messages don’t come streaming in during the early hours of the morning. Don’t be that selfish person who seeks to send these messages either. Trust me when I say that your classmate won’t be so happy in the morning after they’ve been kept awake all night from a flashy, buzzy, blinding phone. Nobody enjoys being woken up at 3:00am in the morning to see the words “Hey guys, I just found a chocolate bar in my bed #happydays”… its 3am… nobody cares!

  Group chat etiquette is one that few have taken the time to master. It’s a simple application of a few rules and basic courtesies which can easily be applied for a happy and healthy chat history. So, don’t be a spoiler, and don’t be a spammer.

Happy chatting!

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