unwritten unspoken rules whatsapp group decorum

Are you driven bonkers by some Whatsapp group chats? Then it’s time we talk about those unspoken/unwritten rules of the Whatsapp group decorum.

There is no denying the fact that Whatsapp has transformed the way we communicate with friends and family. No matter where in the world they are, it simplifies how we converse with them. It’s like a virtual get-together.

I mean seriously who still makes phone calls and send a SMS these days! Ok my parents still do but they old school and when the phone rings I know it is them.

Whatsapp is a free communication tool that makes life easier and allows you to send messages to a group of people simultaneously to schedule social appointments, send motivational message, voice notes, videos, funny memes and to share ideas.

Besides the instant chat groups with family and friends, it also enables sharing information with school parenting groups, sports groups and work colleagues.

I have multiple Whatsapp groups in my contact and to be honest, some of them are really annoying. I’ve opted out of a lot of groups and then there are those that I’m just holding on to for the sake of information sharing. Two of them I’ve muted for the year.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many benefits associated to using Whatsapp, unfortunately it also brings along its own set of problems. By this I mean, posting messages the entire day, making statements that are offensive, sending videos that uses a lot of data, online stalking etc.  It is a nuisance to constantly hear the notification sound of a particular group.

Some Whatsapp users take it a little too far by just not having cyber manners.

Last week a parent sent a message on the school parenting group. The wording and tone of this message was so aggressive and completely out of line. This parent basically accused the rest of the groups’ children of stealing a uniform item of her child. It was clear that she had no substantial evidence/proof to justify her statement. By stating it could be anyone’s child roughly her child’s size and that she will not rest until the culprit is brought to book.

Let’s just say that this message cheesed a whole lot of people off – including myself.  Within seconds, comments went flying on the chat group. This message caused a bit of drama which resulted in some parents exiting the group. It was pretty intense but luckily Admin stepped in and the matter was sorted. Unfortunately I can’t post a screenshot of the message as that goes against the rules of Whatsapp.

Which led me to believe that people really don’t know the basic rules of using Whatsapp to communicate. Rules that are often unwritten or unspoken about in a Whatsapp decorum.

Here are some basic rules for Whatsapp users to use as a guide


Ask permission before adding people to a group.  State the reasons for creating the group and provide clear guidelines for posting messages on it. Whatsapp also now offers a new administration feature that only allows the administrator of the group to post messages or to invite multiple administrators to the group.

Keep it short

Don’t send messages with endless sentences. Get to the point as people don’t have time to read. Avoid in-depth conversations.

Relevant content

School and work groups are not the platform to post memes, jokes, chain letters, sexy pictures and videos. Don’t spam the group and keep it professional at all times. Make sure that the content that you post are relevant to the group and adheres to the rules set out by admin. Don’t have personal conversations on the chat group that has no relevance to other members. If it does not pertain to the entire group, then message that person directly.

Watch your wording

Exercise caution when you post a message or a comment on Whatsapp. Watch your tone and wording before posting a message. Avoid posting offensive message and comments as well as going into a heated argument with someone on the group. It is not the platform to raise grievances or personal agendas. Be kind and compassionate towards other members in the group. Read your message a couple of times before posting and when in doubt, just don’t send it.

Go easy on emojis

Emojis are cute but just using it to communicate sometimes makes no sense. Use words instead followed by one or two emojis.

Respect time

For school and work groups, do not post messages between 21h00 in the evening and 06h30 in the morning. Avoid posting over weekends, this might be invasive unless of course it is a matter of urgency.


Chat group messages should be confidential. Therefore sending screenshots of messages to people outside of the group will break that trust.

Make sure you responding to the correct group or individual contact

Nothing is more awkward and embarrassing than posting a message to the wrong individual or group.  Before posting; check the group or contact you want to send the message to.

Get a life and don’t stalk

Don’t be overly keen to reply quickly just for the sake of making conversation or showing your presence.  If someone poses a question and you don’t know the answer then just say you don’t know. In most cases there will be someone who knows the answer.  It’s ridiculous to find 150 notifications all being off topic. Unless you are asked to RSVP then your response is required.

The sender should not expect instant replies to messages. Don’t be a pest and stalk people on when they’ve come online and why they not replying. People might be genuinely busy and will respond at a convenient time.

Be active

No biggie if you are not overly active on a Whatsapp group but do give your input from time to time. You have been added to a group to contribute not to be silent.

Don’t ignore messages

If you receive personal messages outside of the group, respond. It is common decency. Even if the response is not immediate, respond in due time. Alternatively do a courtesy reply to say that you will respond later. Having read a message and not reply to it is just a little rude.

Be polite when exiting

Before leaving a group, be courteous and inform the rest of the group members that you will be leaving.

Whatsapp is a technical platform that is efficient, useful and fun but let’s manage this form of communication wisely.

The above only serves as a guide to rules that can be applied to using Whatsapp. If you have any other rules, please feel free to share.  Also what has your experience been on a Whatsapp group chat?



26 comments on “Unwritten/Unspoken Rules of the Whatsapp Group Decorum”

  1. All seems pretty common sense. I get what you are saying though, some groups get out of hand and need to be muted. I always feel guilty when only one person is responding and suggest we talk about it out of the group so we aren’t annoying the others with lots of notifications. #BlogCrush

    • You would think it would be common sense but some adults just know how to annoy you with constant chatting which often goes off topic #Blogcrush

  2. Oh I feel your pain, having been added to whatsapp groups for both my eldest kid’s classes I can’t bear turning my phone on to find dozens of (often pretty dull) messages that I don’t really need to be involved with! #triumphanttalles

    • I know isn’t that just so annoying. Also being busy during the day I don’t always check my phone so to actually scroll up and go past all the other messages to get to the original message is a pain #TriumphantTales

  3. I still make calls and send text messages, I prefer to see people face to face also. I’ve seen a phrase “I’ve never been kidnapped but I’ve been held hostage in a whats app group’ I hate them and opt out where I can unless it’s to drop a pin for location or factual and not full of mindless chat about someone’s bloody cat that has nothing to do with the group, yes bah humbug, my real life friends and I are the same #triumphanttales

  4. WhatsApp is great for our families so that we can keep in touch overseas but for school groups and sports clubs it gets a bit much when everyone feels they have to respond with a ‘yes’ or a ‘me too’ times by about 20 people!! Sorry to hear about your drama – some people need lessons in communication! #blogcrush

  5. This is brilliant advice. I’ve had to mute and leave a few groups because of constant notifications. It’s almost intrusive. These are great rules to use WhatsApp by. #StayClassyMama

  6. How did anyone get by before WhatsApp – I love the fact that it is independent of social media group chats which helps to avoid getting distracted. Parent groups are especially helpful to be able to keep in the loop.

  7. Ooooh yes – loving this post and finally someone is brave enough to get it in writing. My personal peeve is when people add me to a group (usually selling group) without me asking to be added – I just get the notification. I usually just leave straight away. Ask first!

  8. I’m not actually in any WhatsApp groups. But I can see why these rules would be reasonable. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales. Do come back next week.

  9. I haven’t joined WhatsApp, I don’t think I could handle one more way to connect with people. I do love your rules, everyone should be reminded of basic etiquette for the platforms they use. #GlobalBlogging

  10. I am on my son’s class whatsapp group, but I rarely comment. I don’t stalk, I read others messages and I respond to questions that other parents have on the group. I occasionally ask my own questions. It is often easier that scrolling back through numerous school newsletters. Pen x #DreamTeam

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