Group Chat Etiquette 101: Tips That Everyone Needs to Keep in Mind

These rules are not meant to be broken, so don’t be the person that everyone is secretly annoyed by.  

With how advanced technology is becoming, being included in a group chat is becoming commonplace. Group chats come in many different sizes and shapes; some are designated only for family members, others are specifically for school projects while others are created to send funny memes and tweets to friends.

Although it makes it much easier to spill tea with your closest companions at once, here are a few rules to follow if you don’t want to be the most annoying person in the thread and get kicked out.

Let People Sleep

For the sake of your friends, don’t blow up the group chat all night long. Trying to sleep while your phone is buzzing is extremely hard and only results in an even more destroyed sleep schedule.

No one enjoys being woken up by a 3 a.m. call, so don’t wake up the group up with your 3 a.m. text. Regardless of whether members live across the hall or across the country, this is an absolute no-no.

You may be asking yourself: “Why doesn’t she just put her phone on do not disturb or mute the chat?” Although turning on do not disturb will provide you with an opportunity for restful sleep, waking up to 100 unread messages can be quite stressful.

If you have friends that are anything like me, they will probably be too lazy to scroll up and read all the texts you sent the night before. That said, put a curfew on when you send your messages and don’t stress your friends when they wake up in the next morning.

Even though you can’t see your friends in group chat, be sure to remember how they’re feeling before bombarding them with messages (Image via Sunrise)

On the opposite end of the coin, make sure to unmute if your friends are sending you too many memes and you choose to mute the conversation.

For example, I muted a group chat because I didn’t want my phone vibrating during a class, and after seemingly-months of being super confused as to why people stopped sending messages to the thread, I realized I forgot to unmute the chat. My friends thought I secretly hated all of them; don’t let this happen to you!

This Is Not an A-B Conversation

The entire purpose of a group chat is to share information with a number of people, not to exchange inside jokes with just one person. Avoid doing this at all costs or run the risk of annoying everyone.

After all, no one wants to read a chat which they have no business being in. If you are desperate to talk to one specific person, send them a private message and spare everyone else from being the audience to your two-person show.

Remember Stranger Danger

Unless you are planning a party and need people to RVSP, don’t make it awkward for everyone involved by including random people into the group. You are basically throwing a person who can’t swim into the deep end and saying “Good luck!”

Adding a friend to a group of people they don’t know can be an awkward and intimidating situation for them. On the other hand, you also make it uncomfortable for everyone else in the private chat as random unknown numbers might make their stomach drop.

Not everyone wants a stranger to have their phone numbers, and you are basically asking for “Whose number is this?” texts. Be considerate and don’t create unnecessary awkwardness.

Allow the Conversation to Flow as Smoothly as Possible

Banter in a group chat can be quite a mess and there are many factors that contribute to that ever-growing pigsty. As a busy college student, you have to realize that you will miss some information.

Messages will come quickly at times, making it much harder to read every single text, so don’t stress too much about that. It is critical to avoid one-sided conversations. Instead, allow everyone who wants to say something contribute their own comments and not be in a rush to shut down the discussion.

It can be hard to navigate an exchange when some people are talking about one topic while a few others are debating something else, with the remaining members scrolling frantically to keep up. This isn’t an assigned discussion board that you have to turn in for a grade, so slow down.

Also, try to be mindful of what other people are talking about to avoid slowing down the conversation. Instead, move on to the next topic. No one likes the person who blows up everyone’s phone about a previously discussed subject.

If the conversation stirs up a little fire, be respectful and mature. No matter how badly you may want to have a temper tantrum, you aren’t a child, so don’t act like one.

It’s crucial to remain engaged when chatting with your friends. Otherwise, politely bow out of the conversation (Image via Sam Manns)

Don’t Ghost Your Friends

If you get busy, announce your exit before you peace out. Don’t pull a disappearing act without announcing it. Instead, explain that you got busy and then dip.

Otherwise, people will continue to wait for a response from you, creating a heartbreaking moment when the thread is filled with messages like: “Did she leave?” “Where is Madison?” “Why did he leave?” Save your friends from broken hearts and tell the chat that you’re leaving.

Don’t Lurk

What is the point of being a group chat if you’re not going to participate? Someone added you to the group because people wanted you to be part of it, so share your thoughts and funny memes.

Everyone mentally takes note of your non-existence and they will assume you’re judging in an area that doesn’t call for judgment. If you believe sending one-word answers counts as engaging with the group, you’re wrong. Spill some tea with your friends, and if you don’t want to, maybe you should look at the previous rule.

Don’t let newer friends feel awkward with the inside jokes and memes being passed back and forth. Introduce them warmly to the other chat members (Image via Jacob Ufkes)

Triple Check Your Messages Pressing Send

Do you remember in elementary school when teachers would preach: “Check your answers before turning in your tests?” This rule is basically the same idea, but the consequences can be embarrassing if you mess it up. To save yourself from embarrassment, check to make sure you are sending the message to your intended audience before pressing send.

For instance, one of my friends that were in charge of a surprise party for one of her brothers made a devastating error as a result of group chat. She sent a text about the party to the group chat she shares with all of her siblings instead of the correct one.

My friend’s mistake may not be as embarrassing as some other stories people may have, but double or even triple checking can save your social life from an uncomfortable situation.

Plamedie Ifasso, Texas Woman’s University

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Plamedie Ifasso

Texas Woman's University
Creative Writing

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