By Mercy Geno Apachi
The person who musters enough courage to finally leave a Ugandan wedding Whatsapp group deserves an accolade, a standing ovation and a presidential handshake.
It has been a busy day and you finally get time to have a light moment with your hard earned smart phone. Sweating, you grudgingly pay the required social media tax, expectant of messages from your people but, behold, your phone is devoid of any texts. Whatever happened to my friends, you wonder.
Disappointed, you make to turn off your data but your phone buzzes with a new notification.
Your bored heart leaps in excitement and your hands instantly reach out to check the text and behold! You have been added to a new group named, “ABC weds DEF.”
The problem is you vaguely remember DEF. He is a friend to a friend’s cousin. I know the feeling, irritating!
When was the last time any of you got personally kindly requested to join a Whatsapp group before you randomly found yourself there?
All of a sudden you are in the midst of strangers, expected to contribute to conversations you never asked to be a part of. Your handset is held captive to thousands of texts in one hour from the same group. You have to keep up because you never know when they will decide to make you a “brides maid” and decide that you shall be paying for your dress.
Do not get me wrong! Whatsapp groups are a beautiful thing because they have made planning and communication for events easier, even bringing friends together.
So we will forgive the group administrator known as admin if he or she is a close acquaintance of ours.
But here is why many people silently want to leave Whatsapp wedding groups.
Okay so you have added us without permission, and we have grudgingly accepted and settled into the group but then along comes the opportunist who sees this platform as a marketing space and begins to endlessly advertise their goods such as jewelry, shoes, or car spare parts.
Another one has finally found another place to share forwarded memes and spam messages that he or she has probably shared to all other groups they are in already.
Most times people see such messages and ignore but in the end it veers the conversation off the main topic.
The group admin must ensure that the objectives for starting the group have been made clear and the participants follow these.
Let me first roll my eyes for this one.
Whatsapp allows a capacity of over 256 people to be added to a group but that is already a large number.
Most times these groups are filled with relatives, former pupils, students, and unemployed friends, whose only duty in the end will be to attend and eat cake.
Everyone will want to say something, prove their friendship to the bride and groom, answer to an inquiry, give a suggestion, and in the end decisions will take long to be made.
The group admin should therefore only add members of importance for example contributors, those in the committee, those who have pledged a contribution, the entourage, parents and a few relatives for effective communication.
Many couples see this as a chance to add their friends from different walks of life and the group ends up having mini circles within.
Once in a while, a side gets left out for example when the bride and her friends are remembering the good old days. The groom and his troupe may be clueless and a few feeling uncomfortable decide to exit.
The conversations must therefore center around information on the wedding and all must be thoroughly explained.
Alternatively since everyone’s contact information is displayed, you can take the initiative to in-box them the appropriate message, making it private and sparing the rest of us with endless emojis.
In life, wherever we go we shall meet people of different beliefs, character traits, tastes and preferences.
It is important to therefore respect them. In a space of strangers however, weird things happen. One may throw thoughtless opinions or use vulgar language that leads to very emotional and dramatic arguments.
This is bad for a couple for on top of different challenges including financial ones, they also have to deal with settling “cat fights” in groups meant to plan.
Therefore, the fewer the participants, the better.
It is very hard to leave such groups because most times when one is added, he or she is bound to it by loyalty to the couple.
We think leaving will send misleading messages to our friends and families so instead, we painfully stay.
In my opinion, and many will agree with me, a wedding Whatsapp group should only be composed of key decision makers in the wedding such as the wedding committee members and the bridal entourage and a few relatives and friends crucial to the wedding planning. If you have a financially well off cousin who you want to be a part of the group, it would be better to give him a call for although he might be willing to contribute, the group might not quite be for him.
And finally, group admins, when the purpose of the group is completed, do everyone a favour and close the group after appreciating and sending us the pictures of course (this is a very important affair).