Leaving That WhatsApp Group, WhatsApp, Message

Chances are you don’t believe that any amount of decorum can be mustered when one has to leave a WhatsApp group. Sometimes, neither do I. Not when the words ‘Renee left’ will hang on the group’s timeline for all and sundry to see, judge and possibly get offended to no end.

Sometimes, you don’t even think you need decorum when leaving a group, especially if decorum was not applied when you were being added to the group in the first place. There are groups that don’t bother to check with you before adding you. Someone has your number, decides to form a group and bam! One morning, or afternoon, or evening, you just find yourself smack in the middle of a group of people not knowing who some of them are, why they are here, why they felt you had to be a part of them and what objective informed the formation of the group.

There are however some groups, and I was impressed to be added to one such group recently, that seek your consent first to find out if you would be interested in joining. Before adding me to this group, one of the members reached out to me and expressed their interest in adding me to the group with the reasons why. I got an idea of who else formed part of the group before saying yes. This was such a simple gesture but one that meant a lot. More people should try this.

Being added to a WhatsApp group is the easy part. The hard part is leaving the group. If you feel that you are not adding value to the group, or the group is not adding value to you, or you keep getting notifications for discussions that do not interest you, or only one member seems to always hold a conversation with themselves without any contribution from other members, you might find yourself itching to leave. And you might prefer to sneak out. But how do you sneak out?

The thing with WhatsApp, which I am sure annoys a lot of people, is that one’s actions are not discrete. Just like someone can tell if you have seen their message, or if you are typing a reply to their message, one is also able to see when you leave the group. There is no sneaking in, around or out. Which is such a bummer!

There is the option of muting the group so that you don’t get any notifications. This is a good alternative to leaving because you can always unmute it should you feel the need to go back.

Should you decide that all you want is to leave the WhatsApp group entirely, there is no saving face. It is like taking off a band aid from a wound. You just yank it once and forget about it. You just leave. Do it and hope that the members in the group will understand. Do it and hope that yours is not the kind of group that adds people back even after they have left (what’s up with that?)

It’s a free world. Don’t feel obligated to be where you don’t want to be.

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