Six ways to bin the shade and make positive waves in group chats!
Group chats are a great way to stay in touch with our friends. That is, until the tone of the chat changes starts to shift from inside jokes and sharing funny memes to mean comments, snidey remarks and definite shade. If your group chat is getting dark, here are ways to lighten the mood – or leave, if things don’t improve…
- If you’ve noticed that the conversation is starting to steer towards negative comments about someone, try to change its path. Encourage the complainant to talk directly to the person that they have an issue with, rather than behind their back. Do your best not to get caught up in bitchy pile-on chats and leave the group if you feel uncomfortable at any time.
- Inject your chats with positivity! Share memes to make your friends smile or uplifting quotes. Keep an eye on anyone in the group chat who may have gone quiet or doesn’t speak up very often. Reach out to them in the chat or message them directly to check-in with how they’re doing.
- Reinforce your friends. Hitting a heart emoji or thumbs up from time to time sends a positive “I’ve got your back” message to your mates. Positive reinforcement can go a long way to making your group chat friends feel appreciated, loved and understood. Plus, the more you give it out, the more you get back, leading to warm feelings all round! Win-win!
- Avoid side-chats at all costs! You know the type… you have a great group chat going with all your friends and then, suddenly, up pops an invite from one of the group members who has started a side-chat, usually with the sole purpose of dissing one of the other members of the original group. This rarely ends well, so don’t feel guilty about declining an invite or stating that you don’t feel comfortable talking about others behind their back.
- Manage your notifications. Got a few chats on the go? Your phone is likely to ping constantly when someone drops a new message. If the stress of juggling group chats is getting too much, turn off notifications. You can also leave a few chats to reduce the pressure.
- Know when to leave. If a group chat is making you feel uncomfortable or upset, find the nearest exit. If you see bullying happening in a group chat, its ok to speak up and call out bullying when you see it. It may be difficult to speak up against your friends but it’s the right thing to do. Think about how you would feel if you were the target.
Tell an adult if someone is being particularly nasty – you can take screenshots of anything that you think is inappropriate or mean as you may need to report the individual for harassment, bullying or abuse.
You have the power to make your group chats a positive, fun place to be. If, for whatever reason, you decide to leave the group chat, you can always start a brand new one. Add people who choose to be kind, supportive and love a laugh to make your new group chat a place of positive vibes!
For more help on blocking and reporting on social media: childline.org.uk/info-advice/bullying-abuse-safety/types-bullying/bullying-social-media/#Blockingandreporting