WhatsApp Groups: The good, the bad and the ugly 

There’s this new online texting trend that has me worried. You are most probably in five or more WhatsApp groups. A friend mentioned the other day that he is in many groups and talked about being in a Karatina University class group, the guy gets information on assignments, classes bouncing, exam dates and all the happenings in the school. I found this funny. My friend is in The University of Nairobi, my school. I, on the other hand, is a member of ten WhatsApp groups, and an admin in one.

WhatsApp is a blessing, say one of the best things to have happened in the recent and that is why when one’s phone breaks down or is stolen, they feel left out in all quarters. This is where you always get the much anticipated  “class imebounce” message from the class rep (guys this is not the names that they have on their birth certificates) and the hilarious comments about how someone hadn’t left their bed and how one was going back to sleep. This is also where you get the dreaded “lec ameingia ” message while you are still somewhere on Ngong road stuck in traffic. As though that’s not enough, there comes that “kuna cat sahi” message from the class ghosties on those days you don’t feel like attending any classes. Where else do you get the “nacollect assignment kesho” message (It’s always a ten printed pages document that gets people off guard)  from the class rep.  And the heated conversation that comes after that about how some individuals didn’t know that there was an assignment and how some are done and about how others will turn into nyctophiles- stay up all night copying and pasting answers from Uncle Google.

 Here’s where you get the new and  top trending memes and videos, each group always has that meme guy. You have not experienced Whatsapp groups enough if you haven’t come across that “Forwarded as received” long message that often bear sketchy warnings and are mostly sent in those family groups we have around. 

Class groups, assignment groups, job groups, family groups (Lord have mercy),squad groups (this is home, You can literally fart while here), the Alma mater groups, mchango groups and just the other day i read somewhere that there are estate groups  (new way to locate ones kids easily and the group admin is always mama Michelle). The list goes on.

Most individuals communicate via Whatsapp today. This is where first dates are planned, break ups declared and the fact that its way cheaper than phonecalls makes it even more convenient. Who wouldn’t  want a sample of someone’s work before they try their products and services? Thanks to WhatsApp status feature- we get to showcase our businesses, our moves and most of all flaunt the cocktails we are having on a Monday evening and the weekend getaways; road trip to Limuru with the squad.

One can never say enough about the convenience that comes with WhatsApp  but that is not what I’m supposed to talk about on today’s piece. For a long time I always knew or rather thought cyberbullying only took place on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Unfortunately, today this crop of people that thrive in venting their frustrations on others have found their way closer to us in form of WhatsApp groups. And it is so bad because unlike Facebook or Instagram, these bullies on WhatsApp are people well-known to us and even have our personal contact details. 

Unending battles

How do we communicate in these groups? Take a minute and think about the last time you suggested something with good intentions and then an individual or individuals out of nowhere responded to you very impolitely and rudely that you started wondering if you had a pending beef with them. So being the peaceful person that you are, you try explaining to them what you meant and that they probably got you wrong expecting them to see your point of view. Unfortunately, this brings bitter and bigger blows from the other side. You end up apologizing so to end the conversation, but no, they have more venom to throw, and they won’t just stop so you sit with your phone on your hands and wait for that never ending typing…,  as they try to prove their points in the worst ways possible.

Well, You are not the only one who has gone through this. Many people have been in this situation and since it has become a norm, no one really talks about it, we even glorify how certain individuals are savages and how we are always waiting for them to drop bombs in these groups.

Individuals who use “we”, you would think that other group members asked them to represent the whole group. Then there’s this more annoying lot that use emotional blackmail when they have been cornered and realize that they are on the wrong and end up apologising in sarcastic ways, “haha, so I am wrong, sorry then”.  Zero life skills.

There’s too much negative energy in these conversations that it gets uncomfortable as you go through the messages in your phone from your house, which brings me to the catalysts in the group. These are the individuals who give a two or three structured sentence followed by emojis like the fire one which literally fuels these individuals. They do that knowing that they are sitting on the fence and that no one will have anything against them. Others just read these messages and go to their inboxes to discuss and analyse the conversation. 

Few individuals will speak up and what happens to them is even worse than what happened to the individuals they are trying to back up. This is mainly why few individuals speak up.

You don’t have to respond to everything 

It’s time this trend stopped.  You don’t have to be impolite or rude to prove your point or speak your mind. It only shows how arrogant you are and also how bitter you are at life. Give a reply that you would utter and not feel any guilt or embarrassment. Read that message one more time before pressing the send button. We all have opinions and it is very okay to be opinionated, but let us do this in moderation. Remember that sometimes not all matters need responses. 

Invest in simple courtesy 

Most of these Whatsapp groups we have around are comprised of members that know each other at a personal level, who’ll meet often and exchange pleasantries, save for a few. Surprisingly, once disagreements check in, it’s like we stop knowing each other temporarily and air our dirty linen for everyone to see. It would be better if we settled scores one on one or via a phone call. Insulting people in Whatsapp groups in the name of needing explanations for some things is so rude and such people need to invest in simply courtesy. Call that person you are having differences with and talk things out over coffee. Enough of trolls.

Kind words cost nothing 

Negative thoughts and feelings eat you up bit by bit until nothing’s left of you. It makes people not to want to associate with you leave alone being friends with you. No man is an island, they said. Exhale negativity and focus on being the sunshine in people’s lives. Send people good vibes that they may long to have you around. Kind words cost nothing. 

Lefting never felt so good 

Imagine you’re carrying this heavy luggage on a hot sunny day and all you want is to get home, drop everything and just relax. To breath that heaviness away. Staying in a Whatsapp group where you keep throwing tantrums every now and then equates to carrying that luggage that you wish you could just drop but you can’t. And you still ask why everyone questions your behavior? Leave that group. It doesn’t do to keep annoying people all the time. Take your frustrations elsewhere. Find healing. And stop being on people’s cases, they’ll never be what you want. 

This piece was put together by the amazing Talah & I. 

Thank you so much for dropping by the blog today. 

Happy holidays 💞!


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