WhatsApp groups: our new rooms – News
I’m petrified these days when I’m “added” to another WhatsApp group – especially those with a large congregation. At home, when you invited people, there was usually an accepted criterion: “like-minded”; alas, with non-virtual salon meetings now a thing of the past, I have to make my peace with tenuous connections – sometimes with ones I would never meet in real time in the real world (one at the Khan Market in Delhi or the Dubai Oasis Center food court for an intense one-on-one) because, well, they’re not “my” kind of people.
It is rare that our permissions are sought before being caged in a group. Another person just needs to have your number and one day you might find yourself looking at “so and so added you to XXX”. “Hey, I don’t want to be here,” you might say, but it’s too late. You are already there.
After being enslaved by several of these groups, I realize that the fundamental difference between true socialization and its online group version is the time limit. The entertaining evenings often lasted until the wee hours, but then they ended, and everyone went their separate ways.
On WhatsApp groups, the engagement is endless.
There is no Cinderella hour.
Especially now when everyone is desperately trying to overcompensate for the shortage of face-to-face (or face-to-face) dating.
Every day is someone’s or their grandfather’s birthday or anniversary or a (random) congratulation or vaccine photo op. Cakes, sparkling bottles, balloons and hugs should be neatly preserved and glued with a lame message about how proud / joy / wonder I am that you managed to stay married for two years or take the second dose of your vaccine. The scary part is that a lot of “groupies” keep an eye on who is saying what in “qualitative” terms. A trivial “happy birthday” will be considered cheap. It can be said behind your back that you are a skinflint of love and affection; we can talk about the circumstances of life that prompted you to transform yourself into a “cold fish”. So it is safer to send (emojis of) flowers, gifts, red hearts (not black) and so on with “Dear xxxx, have a great birthday, I love you, muah”, and lie there or she may be 45 but does not appear to be over 30.
I heard this telling anecdote from a friend who revealed that she recently found out that there was a subgroup of a larger WhatsApp group that she was (reluctantly) a part of. In the smaller one, participants discuss what is happening in the larger setting. “Did you see the picture of ___’s new car, the one he posted in the other group?” He claims it’s worth half a million but I know he is lying: it’s worth half that! I told him it was like the living room-bedroom analogy. The larger group would be in a living room to discuss fact and fiction, while a smaller group would retreat to the bedroom to chat about “some” people sitting on sofas in the next room.
I have heard a lot of bitter complaining about WhatsApp family groups, but I have to say that I am incredibly blessed in this department. No one in my family – immediate, mid-range, extended – wants to thicken it; in fact, they border on harshness, as months go by, no one posts any security protocol documentation or asks everyone what kind of precautions they are taking to keep Covid away. They don’t care, and thank God for it.
Is there a way to sneak out of a group without announcing you are leaving? Usually a message goes out to all the members, “So-and-so has left the band”, and that’s something I prefer to avoid because, yes, I’m a shy coward. I searched online. There was an article, ‘How to leave [WhatsApp] group without being noticed, ”who said,“ The easiest way to leave a WhatsApp group is to simply opt to turn group notifications off or off. This way, you will never be notified of the ongoing chatter on the WhatsApp group. You can always enable this notification setting at any time. “
It doesn’t work for me because in any case all my notifications are turned off. So how do I get rid of this immense mental pressure of being nervous every time I open the WhatsApp app and see hundreds of “ unread ” messages, like virus clusters, attached to groups, which I don’t want to read but should I be able to respond – because if I don’t respond, I could be judged?