Make It Stop: “Get Me Off My Friends’ Group Text Messages!”

Make It Stop is a new weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — the blogger behind Shmitten Kitten and Shlooby Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.

First up, how to get out of group text-messaging hell:

How do I get out of group text-messaging hell? Some people in group of friends will text message, like, 15 of us at once to make plans. That’s fine but the replies, and the replies to the replies, go on for days with the dumbest follow-up jokes. It’s really annoying. Is changing my number too passive aggressive?

Group text messaging is like a loud fart in an elevator — you try your best to ignore it even though it’s nastiness is bombarding your senses.

My younger sister is constantly involved in elaborate group messages and I think it’s lame as hell. We can’t sit through a round of margaritas without her phone making a constant stream of noises, beeps, and chirps like it’s R2D2 having a nervous breakdown. I usually have to ask her to put her phone away because it’s so distracting.

Personally, I’d rather throw my phone in a pond then deal with some randoms barfing up a series of lame jokes. I understand that group texts occasionally have their place, like when my friend wants to send along a cute picture of her baby to a few select people, or if my friend is announcing that she’s engaged. But, for the most part, group texts amongst friends are for the birds.

I understand why changing your phone number would be appealing when there’s a constant stream of incoming texts interrupting your viewing of “Dating Naked,” but it doesn’t have to come to that.

Here are some strategies:

  1. Respond to the original sender and say, “Please start a new group text message and leave me out of it. Thanks!”
  2. Assign a silent alert to the offending parties — no vibrate, no tones, no nothing. Ignorance is bliss.
  3. Select each unknown number in a group text and block that caller. If they aren’t your friends already, there’s no need to hear from them about which club they should meet you all at later.

Good news for iPhone users: relief is on the way! The iOS 8 update this fall will include a feature where you can remove yourself from group text messages. Keep your eyes open for it. Until then, blocking, silencing, and politely asking to be left out, is your best bet.

I heard that someone who I thought was my friend was organizing a fundraiser, so I volunteered to perform. She said thanks, but that she already had all the performers she needed. I see that she has a bunch of people we mutually know who are performing; two of them confirmed she asked them to perform.  Now I’m kind of paranoid that we’re not really friends and also kind of indignant that she thinks everyone else is more fun to watch than me. I’m not sure why I didn’t get the invite. Should I confront her about it?

If you’ve ever thrown an event, you will know that you have a lot of masters to service. You have to coordinate with the venue, the charity, the performers, the press, and the public. It’s a juggling act. I’m not sure why the organizer turned your offer down, but the bottom line is that she decided that your act, for whatever reason, was not be the best fit for this event. I mean, you’re not going to have Andrew Dice Clay perform at a child’s birthday party, or Slayer play for your grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary party.

Here are some possible scenarios:

  • The other performers have a higher profile and can bring in a crowd.
  • They have a better relationship with local press and can get more media coverage.
  • They have a more robust social media presence and can better promote the event and mobilize the public.
  • The other performers have a history participating with the charity.
  • They’ve been personally affected by the cause and have a burning desire to donate their time to help.

Keep in mind that since this event is for charity, nobody is being paid. It’s not like you’re being stiffed a paycheck. Your pride is hurt, not your wallet.

Sure, you could confront her and make her explain why you weren’t asked to take part, but you will look insane. And I guarantee you that she will never ask you to perform at events she throws in the future, because by pouting that you weren’t chosen, you are being unprofessional. You’re conflating your friendship with your ability to bring in a crowd to fundraise. You need to separate the two.

Instead of getting pissy about her decision, put your energy into sharpening your act, and raising your public profile so you’ll be in higher demand for gigs like this in the future.

Now for the good news: this is a great opportunity to learn how to divorce your professional life from your personal life. You can’t look at these things as a snub. Give your friend the benefit of the doubt that she knows the best event to throw and the best way to drum up support for the cause.

If you don’t like it, then throw your own charity event and you can program it full of performs you see fit. But until you do, instead of worrying about if she’s a good friend to you, why don’t you put your energy into being a good friend and supporting her? Throwing an event is a thankless endeavor, so set yourself apart and see if you can help in other ways besides performing. Who knows, if the event is a hit, she might turn to you to perform at the next one.

Anna Goldfarb is the blogger behind Shmitten Kitten and the author of Clearly I Didn’t Think This Through: The Story Of One Tall Girl’s Impulsive, Ill-Conceived And Borderline Irresponsible Life Decisions. (She is, however, thinking through the responses to these questions very seriously.) Follow her on Twitter!