Tired of Being Caught in the Tangle of Their Lives asks:
How do I leave a group chat that I’ve been in for years?
I have this non-local friend group, and while we used to hang out IRL pre-pandemic, I now want out of their daily bullshit. Can I just, like, do that? My one friend would take it very badly, and I’m worried that mutual friends outside of the group chat would be on my ass about it.
Tired of Being Caught in the Tangle of Their Lives, it is entirely possible for you to “just do that,” much like it is possible for me to block everyone I’ve ever known and escape, faceless, into the night. However, like most empathetic human beings, we refuse to act upon our every impulse out of respect for other people. The problem arises when others’ feelings conflict with our own happiness and social well-being.
In this way, you seem to be most anxious about:
1. Hurting your friend’s feelings.
2. Your mutual friends berating you for leaving the group chat.
These are both fair and valid concerns. However, you also find this chat annoying enough to seek out advice, which makes your current stasis feel more like avoidance than compassion.
If you don’t want to face the above consequences anytime soon, there are steps you can take to make the group chat less obtrusive. For example, you can mute the chat’s notifications, only contributing when you feel so inclined. Alternatively, you can start to hint at your eventual exit by invoking generalizable excuses: “I’ve been getting overwhelmed with how much screen time I’ve been getting at work lately… I want to cut down on the amount of notifications I have sent to my phone…”
You also may have overestimated your friends’ potential reactions. They may be more than willing to allow you extended respite from their daily chatter! More than anything else, however, I’d recommend having a heart-to-heart conversation with the friend you’re most worried about hurting. It’s the easiest way to avoid misunderstanding—and may allow you to remain cordial beyond this setting, if you so desire.
HYPER/TEXT is a queer advice column for the digital age: a space for subcultural dilemmas that leave offline friends scratching their heads. Should you block your best friend over lesbian discourse? What on Earth is a “kinnie?” Check in biweekly for answers to these questions and more as we explore the lives of the hyper-online!
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Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet born, raised, and based in Philadelphia. They are one of three co-lead poetry editors at Alien Magazine and one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend. Find them on Twitter @circumgender.