I’ve got a real love-hate relationship with group chats.
On the one hand, no one really has the time or patience to manually copy and paste the same sentence into a gazillion separate messages. We’re not about that. It’s way easier to moan on mass and gather important outfit info in a single shared conversation where, in theory, everyone reads and responds to texts with an suitably lol emoji at the drop of a notification.
But, we all know that’s not quite how it goes, is it?
Group chats are brilliantly chaotic at the best of times. If you’re anything like me and have roughly 19 on the go (and by that I mean 19 that exist but two that are actually ever in use), you might have noticed that they all follow pretty much the same pattern before fizzling out.
If they were all boiled down to seven stages, this would be it. Sound familiar?
1. The name game
What’s in a name, you ask? So. Much. Pressure. I’m pretty sure when Shakespeare threw that line into Romeo and Juliet, he wasn’t thinking about the stress of inviting a bunch of people into a convo and then having to decide whether to name it or not. But it’s about as stressful as what the star-crossed lovers were dealing with*. Kind of.
Obvs, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t name your group chat. But for the sake of knowing which chat is which and avoiding that tragically awkward thing of sending the wrong message to the wrong group, a named chat can be the saving grace you didn’t see coming.
*maybe don’t cite this in your English homework.
2. Who’s missing?
Working out who to include in a group chat is normally straight forward enough. But when it comes to those irregular chats, the ones with a specific purpose outside of your day-to-day gab, there’s always that minor panic of not including someone. After all, no one likes to be left out.
Saying that though, once I panicked a bit too much about not inviting every single person I knew to a conversation and accidentally added the friend whose surprise birthday we were planning. Safe to say it didn’t remain a surprise.
3. Awkward side commentary
There comes a time in every group chat when someone goes rogue. They’ll say something that you’re not happy about, that doesn’t make sense or that really needs some thought.
So you end up having separate conversation with your BFF to talk about what’s been said, which then becomes a live commentary on what is (or isn’t) spoken about. Then you end up chatting about a load of completely unrelated things and forget about the group chat you were originally meant to be paying attention to. Which leads us swiftly on to…
4. The dreaded ‘delivered, read, no response’ fiasco
On a scale from one to annoying, this HAS to be at the top of everyone’s list of blood-boiling, forehead-vein-popping pet hates.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. Sometimes we’re on our phones and then it rings/dinner’s ready/Netflix crashes/you fall asleep. The messages we were meant to reply to are then forgotten, leaving our friends with nothing more than two blue ticks and zero idea whether we’re okay with going as the Seven Dwarf to that fancy dress party. But still, it drives everyone crazy.
5. ‘Oh. Okay. Bye then’
You unlock your phone and open your app. You check into the group conversation to see how many people read your last message because as we mentioned earlier, people forget/get busy/don’t respond. Then you see the five words no group chatter is ever emotionally ready to read…
‘Jessie has left the conversation’.
They’ve left. Like, gone. Without so much of a ‘bye guys’.
Sometimes it’s an accident and they have to awkwardly ask to be re-invited. But it never looks like an accident, does it? Oh, no. The rest of you are left scratching your heads wondering what on earth you might’ve done to annoy Jessie so much.
6. Get a room
Ok, this might be what annoyed Jessie so much. There’s a time and a place to talk about the things that only really relate to a single person, my friends, and that’s in one of those old school one-to-one ‘conversations’.
But eventually, inevitably, someone in every group chat will direct a question an individual rather than the whole group. Next thing you know they’re 58 notifications deep into a conversation that no one else can jump into. Take it outside, people.
If you’re lucky, by this time the whole reason for starting a group chat in the first place will have been resolved. You’ll all know what you’re wearing to that fancy dress party, the surprise birthday will be planned and that thing you needed to moan about will have received a hearty amount of support.
But then everyone runs out of things to say because questions have been answered and you’re left in GCL (group chat limbo). As other conversations overtake, it’s no longer at the top of your screen and your pocket pals are left in the wilderness.
At least, that’s until the next group chat is created. See 1.
Image: Hailey Hamilton