I woke up to 119 texts this morning. 119. I’m in two group texts — one that’s tight-knit, and one that’s gotten wildly out of control. As I sifted through the novels of both groups while attempting to wake up, it dawned on me that a change needs to come.
I can’t be afraid every time I get a notification. I can’t live with myself opening the group text only to exit so my badges get cleared. I can’t live my life in fear of group texts. Which is why it was essential that some rules get spelled out, once and for all, surrounding the dos and don’ts group texting.
I. Thy text shall never exceed five people.
You know when you’re going to a club and the person coordinating the event gets all quiet and sketchy when too many people chime in about wanting to go? Yeah, that’s kind of how group texts are. If you’re not rolling deep, you’re bored. If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, the thread turns into a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.
Think of it this way: if you’re all seated at a restaurant, is the waiter going to automatically add gratuity? If yes, squad too deep. If no, you’re good.
II. Thou shall all have iMessage.
Let me reiterate a point I’ve made time and time before.
iMessage, ever heard of it? SMS is for homeless people and Android devices, neither of which I want anything to do with. You could give me a burner Android with only Candice Swanepoel’s number on it, and I’d still probably never use it just because iMessage is how I operate.
I can barely figure out iCloud let alone how to sync a text conversation across all devices. The second you walk into a service provider and make the conscious decision that you want anything other than an iPhone, you’re accepting the realization that no one is ever going to want to casually text with you ever again.
III. Thou shall leave emotions at the door.
Plain and simple: if you’re getting fried in the group text, you cannot let the beef affect you IRL. Once the parameters have been set with the members of the text, it’s circle of trust where you need your emotions to be even keel. Group texts are personal. You don’t get included in one unless people want information streamlined directly to their phone from your fingers. Register that.
If someone’s tossing around a screenshot of a drunken Snapchat that you tossed out willy-nilly the night prior, that’s on you for sending it in the first place. But if that screen shot leaves the group text? Well…
IV. Thou shall respect the sanctity of the squad’s privacy.
Group texts are a safe haven where anything said stays within the group text itself. If someone goes out on a limb with some dicey info that they may not want in a public forum, you need to respect that. No screenshots, no copy/pastes, no tomfoolery.
There are a number of places where anything can be said and no judgments are allowed to be made, including but not limited to: golf courses, airport bars, public bathrooms, and (most importantly) group texts.
V. Thou shall take it outside.
We’ve all been there. Two members of the group text decide it’s a dandy idea to make plans or discuss something topic-specific that doesn’t affect the rest of the group text. The next thing you know, everyone that’s no longer emotionally committed to the topic at hand is rolling their eyes with every notification and turning their phone over on their nightstand waiting for it to end.
You’ve got plans to make? Take it outside. Only two of you going to an event that no one else was invited to? Take it outside. Have a question that’s going to result in a 3+ message exchange? Take. It. Out. Side.
VI. Thou shall be brief.
If you can’t tweet it, you can’t text it. You’re not F. Scott fuckin’ Fitzgerald. Unless you’re having a full-blown existential crisis that requires someone talking you off the ledge, keep it airtight within the text. This isn’t your personal journal. No one’s trying to read your life story. If your text takes up the entire screen, find a therapist. If you are sending multiple texts in a row with no response, get a grip.
VII. Honor thy curfew.
If you’re texting too late, you’re either going to cause that person to lie awake all night listening to iMessage tones, or you’re going to give them a heart attack in the morning when they wake up to 119 texts wondering who died.
Furthermore, if you’re texting too early, someone’s going to hear that before their alarm goes off and borderline hate you for the rest of the day because you interrupted their REM cycle.
You know you’re in an A1 group text when no one feels the need to put the text on “Do Not Disturb.” Text with intent, text with purpose, text with respect.
VIII. Thou shall break news to the group text first.
If you’re dropping personal press releases on social media before unloading it on the group text, you’re just asking for trouble. You’ve gotta put the horse before the cart here. I don’t care if it’s a pregnancy announcement or a new pullover just in time for Thanksgiving — when you’re in a group text, you’re on the inside. Don’t isolate anyone by getting trigger happy outside of iMessage.
IX. Thou shall vote on new members.
The coordinator of these aforementioned group text personally crafted the present day crew. With that crew comes a rapport, a slew of inside jokes, and personal information that’s sacred to the original members. If you think someone would be a good fit, it’s poor form to simply add them without consulting everyone first and getting an overwhelming majority in this greenhorn’s favor.
This isn’t the Wild West. You can’t just come in guns blazing ambushing everyone without their approval. Ignoring this is suspect at best, and grounds for removal at worst.
X. If thou remove oneself from the group text, thou is gone forever.
Gang mentality. Once you get jumped out, you’re not coming back in. You need to have a long conversation with yourself before you decide to hit “Details” and “Leave this Conversation.” Sure, if you’re an essential gear in the conversation, they’ll add you back in. But if you leave with your middle fingers in the air? The odds are not in your favor. .
Image via Shutterstock