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The Etiquette of Leaving a Group Text or Facebook Post

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This blog post was inspired by the new technological advance of being allowed to exit a group text conversation or a group Facebook message.  Years ago, if you were trapped in one of these group conversations, you were just stuck.

My mom is the worst about taking a group text conversation and continuing it for a long time.  I used to send pictures of the kids to Brad’s mom, my mom, and maybe our dad’s on a text chain.  My mom always comments how cute the kids are and then proceeds to have a conversation with me on the group text conversation.

Mom “What are you doing right now?  What are you cooking for dinner?  You dad is being a jerk.  Why are you fighting with your sister again?”

Me “Mom, you are on a group text with other people!  They don’t care about dad being a jerk right now.”

Mom “Ok.  Sorry.  I made this wonderful recipe that you have to try.  Do you want the recipe?”

Ok.  Lesson learned.  Don’t put people on a big group text chain that will try to continue the conversation.  It is a lot easier to do a group text but sometimes you have to stop being lazy and individually text people.  I still group text my family members because we are all cut from the same cloth.  We have even adopted our good family friend, Mrs. Pat Smith, to be an honorary member of this crazy group text chain.  


Another problem with group texts is that you may be reading the dialogue and then text another person privately and say “that person is just plain crazy.”  You text back and forth now in two different conversations and then……YEP

You accidently write something in the group text chain that was meant for the person you individually texted.

Me to Michelle: “ I wish Corrin would just take a chill pill..she is being such a baby.”

Corrin (on the group text chain) “What are you talking about Christa?”

Me to Michelle: “Ughhhhhhh…wrong text chain”

This has happened in our family way too many times.


When you are on a group text or group Facebook message, does it hurt your feelings when someone leaves the conversation?

For me, it is about context.

If I text my family “Guess what!  ……” and immediately a family member hits the “leave the conversation button,” I think that is pretty rude.  However, if the conversation goes on for a while and a person leaves, I get it.  You were meant to see the first part but do not have to be stuck for days getting notifications about this conversation that will never end.

I feel the same applies to a group facebook message. If someone that I really don’t know puts me in on a group facebook message, I feel that it is ok to leave the conversation.  


The Houston Press wrote a great article dealing with this topic. “Proper Etiquette for Leaving a Facebook Conversation” by Jeff Blake.  I think that this could also apply to group text chains.  

“For some, these words a simple fact of messaging via social media. For others, them’s fightin’ words. Every since Facebook gave people the power to exit a group message sent to them, they have loomed large over anyone who dares send one. Is it the easy way out of a conversation you didn’t want into in the first place or a breach of “netiquette?” Sometimes, it’s both. Of course, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with vacating a message thread, but because Facebook decides to tell those stragglers left behind that you did leave, it can get a little awkward.

All things being equal, no one should really leave a Facebook conversation shared through a private message. Sure, it’s the opt out we all wish we had when coworkers or family members continue to Reply All over and over again, but it is also the Internet version of turning around and walking away in the middle of someone’s sentence, something very few of us would do during polite conversation. Frankly, this could all be solved if Facebook would simply remove the notification, but since that isn’t an option, there are some guidelines you might want to follow if you are thinking of uninviting yourself from a conversation.


Before leaving, try turing off your notifications or ignoring the message.

The author basically says that it is more polite to just turn off your notifications of the messages than to purposely “leave the conversation.”

Try not to be the first to leave.

Don’t leave immediately after someone tries to be funny or sentimental.

(Ex:  Guess what!  I just got accepted into Harvard!)…person immediately leaves conversation.

Always consider the source of the conversation.

There are some who wouldn’t even notice if you left. But there are others, and we all know who these friends and family members are, who would take great offense at your retreat. Think of their feelings before your own in those circumstances. All you have to deal with is a notification. For them, it could mean hurt feelings or mixed messages about your relationship. They should toughen up, certainly, particularly online, but when you consider the use of the wrong emoticon or even the lack of using one in a text or e-mail can be grounds for a fight, it makes sense to proceed with caution.  (I agree…sometimes you just ahve to igrnore the notifcatins and spare people’s feelings.) I agree with the author on this.  Is it really worth hurting someone’s feelings?

If you do leave, send a message to the conversation initiator.

This is just a polite thing to do, particularly if the source of the conversation is a friend. Just letting them know you aren’t leaving because you are annoyed or dislike them may not be necessary, but it is a friendly reminder of our shared human decency. And, like emoticons, it helps to clear up any confusion.



Here are five situations where leaving might be your best and most reasonable option.

If replies continue for longer than a couple days.

If the message is spam, sales or promotional.

If the message is from a near stranger to you and a bunch of other people you don’t know.

If the conversation is uncomfortable, rude or offensive.

To make a point.

And speaking of that, one of the simplest ways to make a point is to leave immediately following an offensive comment from one of the message respondents. As rude as it might be to do so after a funny quip, walking away after someone drops a racial slur is as much of a message to the person who sent that message as it is a way to avoid stupid people.” 

I think the author of this article does a great job summarizing etiquette on leaving Facebook (and text) group conversations.  You have to first think, am I really going to hurt someone’s feelings over me leaving?  If the answer is yes, you need to just ignore the conversation.  As much as we wish that everyone were just like us or “emotionally tough,” this is not the case.  Some people are tough as nails and others are super sensitive.  It is better to ignore the group text than to leave it and hurt people ‘s feelings.  You may be saying to yourself “too bad, those people need to toughen up.”

My response “Don’t be a jerk.  Be nice”

My question for you is this “What are your thoughts on the etiquette of leaving a group conversation?


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