Whether you grew up with technology or not, chances are you’re in some sort of group chat, communicating with team members from work, your family, or friends. While group chats are a great way to keep people involved and connected while physically distanced from each other, they can get frustrating very quickly.
Your coworkers could be talking about something unrelated to work, or your Uncle Ernie has just figured out how to send GIFs and is now spamming your family’s chat. Either way, it’s 8 p.m., your phone is blowing up for no reason, and you’re treading close to clicking the “leave group” button to get some peace.
The good news is that when it comes to being overwhelmed by group chats, you’re not alone. Secure Data Recovery recently did a study examining the exhaustion over group chats, and this post breaks down the details of what they discovered.
Why Group Chats Are Overwhelming
Group chats have become increasingly common with the advent of accessible technology, as 83% of Americans are involved with 1 to 4 group chats. The average American will spend 26 minutes a day reading and responding to group chat messages. Most of us are way too busy to be devoting that much time to group chats, but that’s a testament to how out of hand they can get.
Some people have compared managing a group chat to a part-time job. Over half of the Americans surveyed in this study agreed that group chats are overwhelming, with 72% of women finding this to be the case compared to 58% of men. These chats can be great for staying in touch or coordinating with big groups, but can get off track easily.
Out of all the different chats you could be involved in, 30% find family chats the most frustrating. That makes sense since 67% of group messages are with family members. While you may prefer to hear from Great Aunt Anne every Thanksgiving, she may be reporting random information every few days that she learned from Facebook.
Group Message Pet Peeves
The major frustration for those stuck in group chats is the massive amount of notifications blowing up their phone—68% report this as their number one pet peeve. A text or two is fine, but once the whole group gets involved in sending message after message, it can be too much.
Content also annoys people, as 37% say too much content or even offensive content (9%) can frustrate others. Another pet peeve is the overuse of emojis and GIFs, and if you’re in a group chat with family members or some other casual chat, you will know exactly what that is like. Baby boomers get especially annoyed with too many emojis, as 46% of boomers say it frustrates them.
How to Deal with Overactive Group Chats
So, if you’re stuck in an overactive group chat, what do you do? Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to give yourself more breathing room.
If the messages are super annoying, you can just remove yourself from the chat. Of the people surveyed, 21% decided to remove themselves entirely from the group chats that they deemed burdensome or irrelevant to their interests. A less nuclear option would be to mute the chats, which 75% of respondents chose to do, meaning you would not receive a notification and could not see the texts until you opened the group chat up.
Like 15% of respondents, you can also choose to engage only at certain times. Don’t look at your phone during dinner or family time, and only respond to group chats at a set time during the day, as you might do with emails. If you’re worried that you might miss something important, you can use the search function, which is a popular choice for 12% of those surveyed, and look up a certain keyword to find what you missed.
If you’re feeling brave, you could ask others to quiet down and stop spamming the chat. Of course, this could easily come across as rude, so save this option for a group chat with people who know you extremely well, probably not coworkers. Maybe the awkwardness of this approach is why only 4% choose this option.
The bottom line is that group chats can be annoying, but they are also just as useful. Technology may have paved the way for pesky notifications, but you can always find a way to give yourself some peace and quiet on your lock screen without damaging your relationship with others.