Our Best Tips For Leaving A Group Chat Without Starting Drama

Group chats can be a wonderful way for friend groups to stay in touch across wide distances and long periods apart. While you might not have the bandwidth to maintain friendships with everyone individually, these large-scale chats can be an easy dumping ground for memes, relatable Tweets, and fond memories.


Unfortunately, they can also quickly spiral out of control. Whether you're in a family chat that tends to devolve into political debates or involved with a group of overly-chatty acquaintances, group chats can quickly become a burden on our storage, notifications, and attention spans.

So, how do you leave these draining chats? The actual process of removing yourself from a conversation can be relatively simple, depending on the platform. The problem is, the other group members will be notified of your departure ... and the last thing you want to do is leave angry friends behind to discuss why you may have left. Here's how to avoid conflict in every group chat situation.

Place the conversation on mute

There are some ways to avoid a group chat without causing any conflict at all. Putting a thread on "mute" is almost like giving your friends a probationary period. Like, "Okay, you can continue to send seventy cat videos a day ... but only I can control when I finally have to face them."


Apple Support outlines how you can halt notifications from one specific message thread. Right before the more official "Leave this Conversation" button, you can toggle alerts off. Your notifications will be freed up from the group chat chatter, but your fellow members will be none the wiser.

Of course, this doesn't stop group chats from rapidly filling up your phone storage, and it may make your friends wonder why you're in the group chat but no longer engaging. Fortunately, there are ways to completely step back from a conversation without starting any drama.

Put the blame on your own habits

In the past few years, smartphone users' average daily screen time has continued to rise. According to Time, adults are staring at their screens for around 28.5 hours per week ... a startling statistic that can lead to poor sleep, eye strain, and mental health issues.


If you're hoping to cut down your screen time and take control of your days back, removing yourself from overly active group chats is a great way to get started. And it's a goal that supportive friends and family members should completely understand.

By attaching your retreat from a group chat to your own personal health and wellness, you take on the blame and provide a non-offensive rationale. Try out something like: "Hi all! This year I'm trying to limit my screen time and develop better time management skills. I've noticed this group chat occupies a lot of my time and attention, so I'm going to remove myself for now! You know where to reach me if you need to talk one-on-one."

Point out your own irrelevancy

Sometimes, group chats evolve to cover new topics that are less relevant to your own life. Perhaps a "Bridesmaids" chat is still being heavily used by the brides' high school friends post-wedding, but you're ready to dip. Maybe a work "Christmas Party Planning" group now regularly discusses normal work projects ... off the clock.


It's no one's fault, and it may just be innocent tangents, but your presence is no longer needed. If it's causing you stress and you don't need to be there, why stay? You can easily explain away your upcoming departure by pointing out your own "irrelevancy."

Taylor Swift put it best: "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative." Or, you can keep it a bit more casual: "I'm looking to clean up my message threads, and I don't think I need to be a part of this conversation anymore — good chatting with you all!"

Leave it better than you found it

Sometimes, group chats turn toxic. It's hard to leave without some form of confrontation. After all, if your choice to leave comes soon after a large argument, even the best excuse will leave your fellow chatters a little suspicious.


In this case, there's no harm in being straightforward with your friends or family. Best case scenario, they'll learn something from your choice to leave. Worst case scenario ... you still won't have to deal with those frustrating notifications.

Try to condemn the actions or words of the group chat participants without attacking them specifically. This can limit hard feelings while still making it clear where the problem lies. "Some of the conversations in this chat have made me feel as though it's no longer a safe space for me," you might say. "I'm choosing to leave to protect myself, but I hope to connect with some of you in a more productive manner down the line."

Lie a little

Listen ... there's a reason that "lying" is so far down this list. Being dishonest with your friends, family, or acquaintances is rarely a great option. However, if a group chat is really bringing you down and lying a little is the only way you can comfortably get out, the ends might justify the means.


After all, no one's going to know whether or not your phone is actually out of storage. They have no way of verifying if your iMessage app has actually been crashing lately. Both of these scenarios are reasonable excuses to leave a group chat, without making anyone feel as though they're at fault.

Just explain your (somewhat hypothetical) technology situation. "Lately my phone storage has been filling up too quickly! I'm deleting some text threads and group chats to try to free up space. I'll miss you all!" Then dip ... before they can ask any follow-up questions.

If you can't leave, ask to be removed

Last but not least, there are some rare circumstances in which you'll be unable to remove yourself from a group, or you may feel uncomfortable leaving without permission. Maybe you've been added to a party-planning group, but you don't have the capacity to actually do any planning. Perhaps your smartphone is incompatible with group chats, and every text in the thread is coming through as an incomprehensible, out-of-context single message.


Honestly is always the best policy. (Okay, maybe not always ... looking at you, tip number five). Regardless, you can simply lay out your emotional or technological boundaris and make sure that they are respected by those involved in the chat. Text etiquette may be ever-evolving, but you should never feel bad about protecting your own peace. Those who can't respect your absence were probably never worthy of your presence in the first place.