5 Awful Traits Group Chats Bring Out In People
One of the biggest problems with the Internet is anonymity. When people can't be easily identified, they transform into digesting assholes like werewolves under a full moon. So it's only logical that if you were to gather a bunch of real-world friends into a single chat, the friendships would negate the Internet's ability to transmogrify a human into a bucket of pig shit.
But that's not what happens. Humans are resilient. We can be assholes through any adversity. Even when we're locked within a system with built-in anti-asshole force fields, we still find a way. Even to our closest friends we say, "Nope! Not today!" and then dash out of the flesh suit of kindness we masquerade within and rub our demon dicks on everything. Here's how, against all odds, humans find a way to ruin a digital hangout ...
Using Group Chat For Extended Two-Party Conversations
People tend to take a "Well, Dan, since you're here, I might as well tell you about every significant event in my life that shaped me into the person I am today. It all started in '83 on a Vietnam beach -- that's where daddy put the wood to mom" approach to group chats. They could single out their intended target in a separate chat to talk at greater length, freeing the rest of us from having our phones blow up all day over something that we have nothing to do with. Or, no to all of that, because empathy and foresight are for pussies.
"According to this chart, you can go fuck yourself."
Imagine two strangers talking in the real world. Every time they speak they snap and wave at you and point at their mouths, as if saying, "Hey! HEY! Check this shit out. I'mma do a kick-flip with ma mouth words." Then that happens 75 times a day. It's that coming out of a pants pocket. But since most of the chatting is happening on an innocent-looking phone that would never purposely be a dick by making it infinitely easier to distract simultaneous scores of friends with a picture of that fold in your arm that kind of looks like a hairy vagina, it doesn't seem as rude.
That's a baby's-arm vagina. Now you're a pedophile.
But, see, this kind of chat has the word "group" in it. According to the definition I will not look up because I'm an adult and should know what a fucking group is, a group is not when two people wearing balaclavas charge into a conversation firing AKs, telling everyone that they're commandeering it until their demands are met.
Stealing Focus By Abruptly Changing Topics With No Remorse
Redirecting focus onto yourself as other people are obviously in the middle of some other shit is a pervasive little bug affecting millions of self-centered assholes every day. It exists in many forms. Bunny ears behind the head during a picture. Using the "Speak now or forever hold your peace" part of a wedding ceremony to admit you once saw the bride's titty and nothing more, but everyone should know.
"She sneezed, and it just fully came out, dude."
In group chats, it shines through when people actively ignore the ongoing conversation by throwing in an uncalled-for topic change. It's their way of letting everyone know it's time to cater to their every whim. And then feed them grapes and rub their feet with fine oils, too.
In real life, that kind of interruption would lead to a stare so hard it could deflect bullets. In the digital realm, the interrupter is usually placated for a second or two before the conversation resumes. It's even more fascinating in text than it would be verbally. In a chat, you can actually see a derailment in topic. It looks a lot like helicopter footage of a train wreck.
"It's generally around here you wrote the caps-lock N-word."
It makes even less sense when you consider that doing it leaves behind proof you tried to unfurl your penis to establish conversational dominance -- and then failed at it. That kind of humiliation should never be documented.
As a raging river engulfs the boulder that pathetically attempted to changes its course, the natural flow of the conversation swallows the topic change. The fleeting moment of bullshit is obliterated by the way things should be. Or, to put it another way, it's ...
Forming Shady Spinoff Chats To Talk Shit About The Main Chat
There's some sinister shit afoot, an unspoken menace in the shadows of the group chat. Alliances form, then splinter off to judgmentally comment on the main chat, friends taking each other to the side to treat the group chat like it's a bad movie on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The MST3K treatment is a best-case scenario. A pair of friends could split off and treat it like Mean Girls, a gabby gossip-fest where there is no line and no friendships are spared. Group chats aren't immune to the cattiness of the real world. They can be worse. Some people can be fine in person but have an online persona that should be thrown in a volcano.
Confronting them about their digital shittiness creates a drama that no one wants to actually deal with, so the only recourse for working through the negative emotions those dicks wearing silly hats bring to the chat is sidebar shit-talking.
It's poisonous. It's a betrayal of the group's trust and of personal bonds. In an ideal group of friends, such behind-the-back cowardice would not be tolerated. But this shit isn't Degrassi. This is the real world, where people never learn to do the right thing because it's way more work than the wrong thing. So, if someone in your chat is acting like a pompous ass, kick your feet up, grab some popcorn, start a separate chat with the other chat member you know agrees with you, and have yourself a grand ol' time doing the text version of an old cartoon wiseguy punching air, saying, "Ooooh, if I see him, I'd give him ONE OF THESE, and a COUPLE OF THOSE, and a BOOM-POW TO THE EYES!"
Bringing Out Internet Pseudo-Bravery, Even Among Best Friends
The other extreme of fleeing from confrontation is just as awful. As I suggested at the beginning, the Internet's anonymity can turn a frightened sissy into a hardened cowboy, an avenger of the online wasteland. Sometimes a person's dickish online persona will go too far and the timid will don the cape and cowl of Internet bravery and fight back. In real life, watching two friends start a play fight that turns into a real fight is one of the great funny/pathetic moments in life. Online, it's even sadder.
"Bro, chill out, bro. Bro! BRO!"
Long-standing resentment and annoyances that were never brought up for the betterment of the group to maintain an even flow of camaraderie get sprayed out diarrhea-style in an online chat that separates tangible friendships from reality just enough to make room for synthetic bravery. What happens next is a private screening of an '80s movie about a nerdy kid who finally stands up to a bully, and it stars close friends.
The hallucinogenic high of bravery washes out and a sad realization sets in: Nothing gets resolved after the online airing of long-held grievances. Everyone goes back to using the chat to attack workplace boredom -- the group chat's true nemesis and the reason this Justice League of buddies was assembled.
Making People Believe Every Thought Is Worth Sharing
It must have sounded like an incredible idea: You like your friends; they're entertaining. Bet it would be real nice to be able to talk to them to kill time whenever and wherever boredom strikes. Bored in a waiting room? At work? At a funeral? Well, reach into your pocket and pull out your best friends and have a ball!
A casual Friday kind of funeral.
Put that way, group chats sound incredible. Friendships are magically shrunk down to the palm of your hand! But there's an unfortunate detail hiding in chat's fine print: Most people lack sufficient shit to say after about a day. Sometime before lunch and extending through infinity, group chats devolve into people typing garbage thoughts to keep their brains from shutting down. Some impressively boring conversation topics get heaved onto the scrolling canvas of the chat in the hope that they catch the eye of a similarly bored buddy thirsting for a sip of entertainment.
The chat becomes a vision quest to answer one question: Just how interesting are the people I call friends? The bored, tormented ideas of a friend can challenge a person's definition of interesting. They test the limit of how much stupid horseshit people can rationalize as entertainment when their boredom shifts to desperation-mode. Just what kind of stupid-ass, bottom-of-the-barrel, monkey-fuck conversations can we cavity-search hoping to find a diamond buried deep in their cavernous assholes?
Elbow-deep in that conversation.
I'm left with only one logical conclusion: Group chats are haunted houses that make the people who live there turn on each other. The evil chat's most perverse trick was making people think it's everything they've ever wanted, only to slowly destroy the very thing it was meant to keep together.
For more from Luis, check out The 4 Steps Of Adjusting To A Whole New Group Of Friends and 5 Weird Overshadowed Creations Of Famous People.