Love & Friendship

Why Group Chats Are More Important Than You Think

words by Ben | photo by @christinamca

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

We all know the answer to this. We reach for our phones, hook ourselves up to internet and check in on all the madness that’s gone on while we were asleep.

A massive part of this, and something that’s constant throughout the day, is our group chats. Sometimes on Snapchat, mostly on Facebook; a stream of messages that keeps our phone buzzing. For a lot of us however, we don’t actually notice how important group chats are.

Group chats, in 2018, are ever-present. We use them for work, for school friends, for sport and for birthdays. They’re an outlet to vent, to send a good meme (or ten) and to procrastinate. If you get a notification, chances are they’re from one of your many group chats. But, if for some reason you’re left without one, it can affect you more than you think.

I remember being in Year 9 when everyone’s groups were starting to change and reform. There was a group chat that only the coolest of the cool were a part of, where all pres and gathos were decided and planned.

I was never friendless, but for a few years I was a bit of a floater. Looking back, worrying about not being a part of this group chat seems stupid now, but at the time, it was a real source of anxiety.

They had created a mini, online world, where they could talk to the other people lucky enough to be a part of it all. But, if you were on the outside looking in, things could be a bit lonesome.

We are the first generation where our cliques transcend the playground. This new territory can be intense to navigate and understand.

Being in an active group chat is a different experience completely and they’re actually a really special way to maintain contacts after high school, especially if you and your friends don’t have the same amount of time as you once did to hang out.

These chats bridge the gap between struggling to maintain connections and avoiding isolation. They make you seem a little less closed off from everything, when your world is finally beginning to open up for the first time.

Older generations are so quick to judge the effect of social media on our lives and relationships, completely disregarding that some of the most integral relationships we form are direct products of social media. Ignoring them is ignoring a part of how we live and communicate. I remember being up at 1am before an exam and messaging my group chat about how stressed I was. Instantly, through messages of support and empathy and gifs, they made me feel less alone.

Respect the group chat, care for the group chat and love the group chat. You’d be lost without it.