Smartphones bring us many things. They make it possible for the Internet to always be at our fingertips. They provide us with millions of apps whose purposes range from attempts to simplify our lives to Tetris-like games. And who could forget one of the most coveted features of smartphones — group messaging.
It allows us to stay connected with our cliques of friends all at once, and this can either be a convenient component or a giant pain in the ass. And in most group messaging cases it isn’t one or the other, but instead a combination of the two.
We’ve all heard that patience is a virtue, right? In order to be successful throughout life one must maintain one’s composure in some of the most trying times. We have to stay calm behind the dreaded “gluten free, non-fat, coconut milk, triple espresso” Starbucks guy. We somehow manage our road rage in busy parking lots when cars selfishly take up two spots. We even bite our tongues when the hypochondriac in our friend group is complaining about her newfound ailment of the week. But if there is one time our patience is ultimately tested, it is at the sight of 147 new text messages via group text when you walk away from your phone for a mere 10 seconds.
Group messages can really be a nuisance in any friendship. There are so many ways a group text can go terribly wrong. It is nothing but a total pain when your group text blows up during your absence and you have to spend time playing catch up. Sometimes a group text can be a breeding ground for drama (depending of the friend group of course). You can find fellow group texters getting senselessly upset over your lack of interest in whatever the hot topic of the group text may be for the time being. It seems at times group texts are more of a chore than something positive.
However, despite the potentials for disaster, they also can present positive features. Many can argue you aren’t a real best friend group if you don’t have a group text. I can genuinely say that I know every day, majority of the day what is going on in my friends’ lives thanks to the group text. I never have to ask everyone’s’ plans nor do I have to check in on anyone’s day, because I just know it. My group texts between my friends serve as a constant comedy hour. The ongoing texts I share with friends only create a sense of increased closeness amongst my group.
The group text feature is also essential when you need multiple opinions or want to tell multiple friends’ stories that happened throughout your day. It provides convenience and helps create coveted bonds.
That being said, there are definitely rules of group chat etiquette one should abide by. Thou shalt not multiple text (unless your news is so stellar it can only be conveyed via four texts). Thou shalt listen to thy neighbor when they have a sweet story to share (or at least one they think is worthy). Thou shalt not text when others are in places of solitude (Knowledge Center, job interviews, etc.). And of course most importantly, thou shalt not remove themselves from the group text without proper goodbyes. Otherwise you just look like a drama queen that, for lack of better words, “can’t hang.”
So when all’s said and done, the question remains: Is group texting a time-wasting pain in the ass, or does your group text serve as a vital day-to-day tool? Despite all the text blow-ups, conversation catch-ups and senseless chat, group chats are essential to strengthening relationships, providing convenience and keeping things interesting. Although it might take the patience of the Dalai Lama to not explode when the group chat goes off, patience is a virtue, and preserving the group text is just that — a vital virtue.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.