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Facing the reality of being separated from your friends can be challenging, but luckily for us, group chats are a thing. The quirky name inspired by an inside joke, followed by several ridiculous emojis soon becomes how you refer to yourselves as a collective.
Group chats are an effective way to make plans, share photos and memes, and update each other! But, group chats can also result in drama.
Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to group chats to avoid messy situations, and those dreaded sub-group chats.
1. The Updates
Do Update Each Other
Frequent updates from your pals are amazing. In fact, in group chats, sometimes we (over)share to the point where we apologize, despite the fact that your friends don’t mind at all. These life updates and virtual real talks speak volumes as to how genuinely interested you are in one another’s lives.
Don’t Lash Out At Silence
Updates from everybody are amazing, but life gets so busy that people often don’t have the time (or simply forget) to update the group about what’s going on in their life. And there are some instances where the news is just meant to be shared in person at the next gathering. Don't lash out at the silence, because you think your friends are ignoring you; sometimes, you need to be patient. Also, if your friends aren’t the best at updating you, perhaps they need a reminder; ask them how things are going!
Do Acknowledge How Difficult It Is to Read Tone
Ah, tone… the best part about texting! Regardless of whether or not you can detect my sarcasm here, I think we can all admit how difficult it is to read the tone of texts! Acknowledging this will help you avoid drama. This is yet another reason as to why it’s important to schedule in-person hangouts or conference calls—while they can be time-consuming, and/or complicated to plan, talking to people and having real conversations (yup, people still do that!) is vital to maintain healthy friendships, as opposed to constantly texting and relying on social media.
Don’t Take It Personally
When somebody in the group chat says something that doesn’t sit well with you, don’t take it personally. Of course, it’s often easier said than done, but chances are they could be having a rough day, or you're completely misreading the message(s). There’s a difference between somebody saying something that rubs you the wrong way and somebody insulting you. Know the difference, and realize that some offhand comments mean no harm, and may be hurtful because your tone is ridiculously difficult to read. And if somebody leaves you on read, who knows—the chances are, they’re hella busy. Don’t overthink, but also, don’t be afraid to follow up—after all, these are your best friends!
3. The Drama
Do Talk It Out
Sometimes, it’s not just us overthinking. Who knows, there very well could be an underlying issue within the gang. When this happens, talking about the problems and issues in your friend group can ensure that your group grows and thrives together, post-drama. However, doing this over text may not be the best idea. Try to schedule a group conference call or gathering to have those real conversations mentioned earlier. In the moment, confrontation may feel like the worst thing ever, but real talks are way more effective than texts. Plus, arguments don’t have to be a bad thing! People disagree all the time and sometimes you and all your friends may not be on the same page, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be the end of your friendship.
The issue could either be a misunderstanding or a substantial blip in your friendship; regardless, it’s a chance to learn something new about your friends and the group dynamic. Shoving drama under the rug is probably the worst thing you can do, so talk it out to avoid making the same mistakes, and having the same drama over and over again.
Don’t Be Petty
You may be tempted to add fuel to the fire, and either spit facts or show receipts, but before doing something you will regret, give yourself some time to cool down. Take a minute to think about what you're going to say and if it could be considered hurtful. This includes bringing up exes, past petty drama, touchy subjects... you get the idea. Unless it’s directly related to the issue at hand, and needs to be talked about, save it for another conversation. If the temptation is overwhelming, politely let your friends know that you’re not ignoring them, and take a breather away from your phone.
As much as we like to pretend that everything is perfectly fine in our squads, it doesn’t always have to be. Sometimes things get messy. And while there a variety of articles that tell you how to cut “toxic” people out, don’t confuse toxic behaviour with growth and differences between people. Part of growing up with your squad is understanding that you will disagree on certain things, and embracing these differences testifies to the strength of your friendship. Group chats provide us with a million and one ways to learn about different communication styles and techniques.
Take every possible opportunity to make your friendships stronger by being openminded about personal differences, and you are guaranteed to see a positive change in the group dynamic!