Group chats make it so easy to share info with a bunch of friends and relatives. It’s one of the easiest ways to pick a time for a get-together or share viewpoints. In fact, group texting is on the rise with 63% of Americans now using them, according to a survey by the market research company YouGov.
But sometimes, one or more people in the group gets carried away. Then, group chats can quickly slip from efficient to annoying with each alert and off-topic text. You sit down to dinner and ping! There’s an alert from the group. You’re heading out the door and ping! – another one comes in. If your group chat has gone off the rails, here are a few ways to rein it in.
Make your exit
When you’re totally done with the gang, you can simply leave. If the messaging app doesn’t have an option for leaving a group tucked into the settings on the thread, you may have to ask whoever started it to remove you.
- Verizon Message+ and Android texting: Ask the group administrator to remove you. That’s usually the person who started the group.
- iOS texting: In a chat with more than 3 people, open the thread, click Information at the top and then scroll down to Leave This Conversation.
- Facebook Messenger: You’ll find a Leave Group option in the settings for the thread.
Make them hush
You can opt to stay connected but put an end to the endless alerts. Some messengers let you turn off alerts from just the chatty group. If this option exists, you’ll find it in the settings when you’re in the group chat thread. If there’s no way to silence alerts from the offending group, then you can choose to silence all text alerts. For an easy short-term break, mute your volume with your phone’s Do Not Disturb, or Flip to Hush if you have the Google Pixel 3. If you really need to take that break, choose a lasting effect by going to your phone’s settings and turning off alerts for text messages. You can always turn it back on, if you start to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out).
Make some guard rails
Some groups prevent or correct chat overload by setting ground rules for communication. Consider these 10 smart ideas for group-chat etiquette:
- Stick to the topic.
- Avoid sending a bunch of short texts with partial ideas. Finish your thought in one message unless it’s longer than a full screen.
- Consider silence. If your message doesn’t add value to the conversation, resist the urge to talk. For example, if someone asks the group a question, it usually doesn’t help to respond “I don’t know.”
- Keep it polite, unless the group agrees to a different tone or more raucous vocabulary.
- If you need to chat with one person in the group, do it one-on-one, not in the group chat.
- Avoid texting at times most people are asleep; be aware if the group has members in different time zones.
- Keep in mind that people in the group may have data limits; make sure photos and videos are highly relevant and welcome or share them a different way.
- Never add kids to the group without their parent’s permission.
- If you didn’t start the group, ask before adding others.
- Let people know if you are leaving the group; otherwise they might think you’ve been informed about topics you’ve missed.
For more commonly asked questions about managing your text messages, click here.
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