How To Gracefully Exit A Really Annoying Group Chat

PHotographed by Beth Sacca.
We've all fallen prey to an annoying group chat. You know the kind: An innocent and well-meaning person starts a group text with all of her friends for planning purposes, perhaps for a birthday dinner. Logistics are discussed, people double click each others' messages to bestow upon them heart and thumbs up reactions. Until someone abuses the chat with a meme. Chaos ensues. Before you know it, you are the recipient of 74 texts, most of which are "haha."
But luckily, you do not need to remain entrenched in said chat. (Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for annoying group chain emails.) You already know how to leave a group text: click on the Info button at the top of the chat you would like to exit. Then scroll down through Details to "Leave this conversation," which will prevent you from being able to send or receive messages in the chat moving forward. Also, everyone else remaining will be alerted that you left via this very dramatic in-line alert: "[Your traitor friend] left this conversation." It's kind of like the non-passive aggressive version of leaving someone on Read.
So you can't exactly leave quietly. You will, however, still be able to read old messages if you want to keep them for posterity. The exception: if there are only three people in the chat, you cannot leave, since leaving would render the thread a group chat no longer. There must be at least four people. I don't make up the rules!
Leaving might invite attention, though, so if you're going to go for it, you might as well preface your exit with an explanation or meme like this one:
Conversely, there's nothing quite like the power move of sending a text in a group chat (for example, screenshots of the Tinder profile of a prospective date), getting zero responses, and then leaving without a word.
Luckily, though, there's another option for those of us too cowardly to exit conversations altogether, and that is muting. Right above "Leave this conversation" is a Hide Alerts button. Once you click it, a half moon icon will appear next to the conversation in your list of text messages, which means the conversation is in Do Not Disturb mode. This way, you'll still appear as a member of the group chat and receive the text messages, but you won't get notified about them. The best part? No one will know that you have muted them. (This is a tool I recommend implementing on Twitter and Instagram as well, and one that I wish I could implement IRL sometimes, too.)

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