The Reason Why I Left All My WhatsApp Groups

About an year ago, in May 2017, I decided to exit from all the WhatsApp groups that I was part of. A decision driven by a realisation that I was in contact with people, I did not really want to be in touch with. And in turn, I was loosing out on quality discussions with people who really matter to me. I later gave this cause for the eureka moment an elaborate thought and discovered that not only were these groups creating an illusion of togetherness but were also forcing individuals to be part of a fraternity, in which, they perhaps do not willingly participate in. Thus, when a critical observation of the system began, many abnormalities in it, surfaced.

I think I could definitely generalise that most groups, if not all, are flooded with terribly framed forwarded messages that are oblivious to the fact that they are either racist or discriminating towards one or another community. If they are not followed with emojis prompting you to laugh out loudly, then perhaps they are slanderous comments backed with a political agenda to glorify one and shame an other. I have my own political views but that does not mean that I have to shame someone else or degrade their credibility to prove the superiority of my own opinion. I feel that people have forgotten that there are graceful ways in which one could disagree with somebody else's opinion. This pathetic trend of mockery that is catching up rapidly indicates towards a deteriorating quality of debates in our country. Apparently, people who educate themselves based on these conjectures that are shared on social media are often found struggling to make an effective or sensible argument. Not only are they illogical, but sadly, most often, they are insensitive. 

For example, during a discussion that I once had around gluten intolerance, somebody mentioned that such a thing did not exist and people today were simply exaggerating the situation. I told them that my cousin suffers from it and that she faces digestion issues whenever she consumes wheat products. I got an instant reply that it was common among the current generation who, according to them, have grown up eating medicines and lack immunity towards various diseases. During an other discussion on cancer, someone mentioned that cancer is a myth and a term coined by the doctors to mint money. I dared them to narrate their conspiracy theory to a survivor or the family members of a victim. During another discussion on a Bollywood movie called Padmavat that raised a lot of debate in our country, a comment was made that the woman (queen) on whom the story is based upon was after all only a mistress to the king. Moreover, it was observed by them that the main protagonist did not have much to do in the film except for jumping into a pyre in the end, as an act of self-immolation. I found that remark extremely pejorative and sexist. I could only think of sarcasm as a response to that. I told them that the Karni Sena that is protesting against the director, assuming a possible shaming of their clan in the film, should be instead beating them up. However, what is shocking for me is that these posts on social media have blurred our thoughts so much so that many a times, people do not realise that they are passing derogatory comments. There is absolutely no sense of accountability among those who circulate such information. These ruthless jokes about almost everything, that are compiled by oafs and religiously distributed by imbeciles, have created a maze of callous comments on social media. 

On a Facebook post shared by one of my well-educated friends, was an image of an overweight, dark skinned African woman who, as per the post was presumed to be ugly and wants to marry a person by a certain name, for example - "John". The game therefore was to tag all the people you know by that name. As always, several emojis instructing one to laugh out loudly or roll over the floor laughing were used to clarify that this was supposed to be very funny; just in case you had missed that extremely important detail. Many responded with likes and others left another emoji back in the comments section, thus encouraging the act. Of course, many "John's" were tagged. Fortunately, there was one sensible man who had chosen to politely educate my friend by saying - BTW, she is an oscar nominated actress. That comment made me very happy because, right there, one could clearly notice how knowledge and awareness could influence our judgement. But, my joy did not last for long. Below that comment, my friend was quick in replying - "And she wants to marry John! LOL." 

Moreover, It was disgusting to see jokes that began to spread within a day after the death of a popular Indian movie star who had accidentally drowned herself in a bathtub. People advised married men to equip their bathrooms with a bathtub if they wanted their wives dead. Frankly, I don't see how this could be funny. Not only that, but theories surrounding her death soon made rounds, trying to reinforce several fallacies that are carelessly tagged to movie stars. I truly want to meet these geniuses who create such masterfully designed art work about other's miseries. And in a country as populated as ours, these messages get widely distributed within a matter of seconds, as people share them without giving it a moment of thought. Thus, the emojis are not only ruling our emotions but also manipulating our level of intelligence, our ability to empathise with one another. Most importantly, Facebook and WhatsApp groups are havens for such malarkey. 

I would wake up every morning only to learn that some of my friends and relatives have wished me a good day, like they do, every other day. In other groups, people are celebrating birthdays of distant relatives or friends whom they haven’t met for ages. While on one hand, one does not want to begin a habit of sending birthday wishes to uncles and aunts to whom they have never wished in their life before, on the other hand, one fears the consequences of remaining ignorant, which could simply equate itself to rudeness. Even the groups that I had created, hoping to reconnect with a few friends, after a few days, turned themselves into graveyards of jokes and motivational thoughts. Well, I do not understand this obsession people tend to have with motivational thoughts. Does everyone think that all of us are in constant need of psychological help to boost our moral? I know that ignoring them would be easier but the mute button did not seem to help me either. 

The sight of long list of unread messages bothered me more than the messages themselves because, it meant that I had tasks to do. Scrolling to the end of every message list without reading them, in every single group that I was involuntarily a part of, seemed like an inane task that I wished not to diligently follow. Hence, annoyed by the frivolity that seems to persist in such groups and at the expense of sounding rude, I wrote a blatant exit message and posted it on every group that I was in.  Apart from one group that only discusses reunion time and venue, all other groups were deleted. Because, I simply did not want WhatsApp to decide for me. I did not want the app to tell me with whom I should remain in contact with on a daily basis. That was solely my right! Moreover, I had to come out of the common misapprehension that exchanging forwarded messages, liking or responding to them was a way to stay connected with people. On the contrary, I  think that there is a reason why we are not in touch with so many people at the same time. Anyways, as a result, with the groups now gone, I began to see a new kind of interaction between me and my friends.

As soon as I quit the groups, few of my friends messaged me in private and congratulated me on taking such a bold step. They told me how they could not dare to do so as they feared appearing impolite. However, there were a few who were angry by this behaviour of mine and some of my colleagues, I understand, spoke about it to the HR manager in a complaining manner, which I found to be ridiculously silly. Nevertheless, for me, things began to turn around. From exchange of forwarded jokes, we moved to a zone of quality conversations. 

Friends messaged me or called me and vice versa because we wanted to talk to each other and not because we had an opinion about a forwarded joke or news. Slowly, my interaction with people went back to being similar to those that existed before the social media mania had begun. We discussed books, music, cinema and shared our travel experiences like we used to, in the olden days. We talked about things that really mattered to us or things that connected us together. We were not forced to discuss politics or current affairs or present an opinion about an event that had occurred in some part of the world. Eventually, my relationship with my friends began to ameliorate. I remembered my old theory of wanting to develop a special bond with few of my friends rather than having futile interaction with hundreds of them. If there was a message tone ring on my phone, I knew that somebody was remembering me in particular. That not only made me happy but I knew that it was important and I had to attend to it immediately. I also noticed that now, I had more time for myself and hence concentrated more on my interests - Art and travel. Eventually, I applied my learning to my Facebook profile as well. 

I deleted all my old posts, pictures and retained the account simply to stay connected with people, in case of emergency.  As a result, I got less attention; which was gladly accepted. Consequently, on my birthday last month, I received wishes from only those friends or family members who needed no notification to remember it. They had been wishing me since my childhood or college days and they continue to do so without any extra effort. In a way, I felt like I was returning back to the era of letters and telephone calls. Additionally, I felt relieved that I now had less information about everyone else's life. The process of tracking the updates of my friends, relatives and acquaintances now seemed rather irrelevant and burdening. Albeit I have been extremely critical about my thoughts on social media, I do not completely condemn it. 

Of course, I acknowledge the importance of technology in our lives and the use of apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook. It surely has made our life comfortable and eased the process of communication. In some cases, my WhatsApp status acts like a catalyst in beginning an interesting conversation. And surely there are some really intelligent jokes or thoughts that I don’t mind sharing with my friends and would want to have a laugh or discussion about. So, I am definitely not initiating a propaganda against social media or its usage. 

Alienating oneself from new technology and its benefits is not the motive of this article. Instead, all I want to say is that in the process of communicating, let us not ignore the basic quality of analysing things, verifying the sources before forming an opinion or most importantly, sharing them. Because what we share is what we think or simply, what we are and we could be easily judged for it. A few emojis at the end to indicate light-heartedness of the content shared will not really deceive a shrewd reader. Further, let us decide for ourselves, with whom we wish to stay connected and with whom we wish not to. As a result, I think people would learn to use technology effectively - for their own benefit and prevent the technology from using them, to eventually promote itself. Would it not be necessary for us to be aware of the miscreants who make constant attempts to blur our thoughts and tune us all into thinking alike? 

Therefore, with this awareness and profundity in our own act, we could perhaps fight against this invisible invasion that media has launched against our minds. If we do not act now, perhaps we are soon to loose this battle that is affecting our intellect, our ability to comprehend and assert ourselves. 


  1. Wow great decision, what ever you said is true. In fact i never installed Whatsup .. after all this social media evolution from last 15yrs .. i observed closely behavior people ... and it really weird..people will type message hours together .. but when we met face to face .. they cont drag the conversation for 10 min...

    By the way i liked your T shirt painting ....

    1. That is an interesting observation. Now that you tell, yes, I think I have noticed the same... that people tend to communicate well through texting but lack the same skills when they speak in person.

  2. Very well written article and I too have the same opinion regarding watsapp and facebook....all my thoughts written beautifully !!! Thanks for this wonderful and insightful article ! Enjoyed reading it !


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