7 types of people you'll find in any WhatsApp group: which one are you?

When you're co-opted to a WhatsApp group, watch out for all the crazies out there in the ether, writes Ufrieda Ho

18 November 2018 - 00:00 By Ufrieda Ho
Do you use WhatsApp to share memes or show off?
Do you use WhatsApp to share memes or show off?
Image: Josep M Suria - Spain

Life is like a box of chocolates. It's also like your WhatsApp groups - you never know what you're gonna get, like what winos, witches and weirdos are lurking on your smartphone.

WhatsApp groups start out innocently enough. They're our go-to method these days to organise people and events from your family, book club and your BF's secret birthday bash.

But then just as you were minding your own business, your phone pings automatically with a notification that you've been added to some random group. You're now part of neighbourhood watch, a high school group and disturbingly (in my case) a "Chinese Friends" group.

It makes for the stuff of eye-rolls and deep sighs. And just like in real life some characters make you grateful for mute buttons and others ultimately push you to screw your courage to the sticking-place, and be that person who "has left the group".

WhatsApp archetypes are the real-life people we all know and love (or loathe). Here's a round-up:

1. THE HEAD PREFECT

This is the person who sets up the group and has the power as "admin". For some though, admin means licence to channel their inner dictator. Along with the power to addeth and to taketh away, it's also licence to pull on their bossy boots to set the rules of group engagement.

They routinely use the group to gauge consensus or sentiment on something then end up shutting down challenges with comments like "please stick to the topic" or "please take this offline".

2. THE TOADY

Meet the enforcer. This is the person on the group who polices everyone's posts and reminds people to follow the "Head Prefect's" rules. They are the ones who are always pointing out that someone is saying something off-topic or is not staying in their lane.

They are also the ones who feign fairness and politeness by making loaded comments followed by six smiley faces and a row of multiple-coloured heart emojis.

3. THE CHEERLEADER

This is the person who keeps the khumbaya vibe on the group and posts the funny videos and the "Rise and Shine" gifs. It's the person who has an appropriate gif for everything from the Easter Bunny to Kwanzaa to Women's Day and International Waffles Day.

The cheerleader always has an appropriate gif for everything from the Easter Bunny to Kwanzaa and International Waffles Day

They're the people who remember everyone's birthday and ensure your notifications ping 26 times when someone you haven't spoken to in 15 years' birthday rolls round. This guilts you enough to add your own inane greeting.

4. THE OVERSHARER

This person's posts are essays and frequently reshares of spam and fake news. If it's about her gardener in need of a piece job, you also know that the gardener has a special touch with lemon trees. You'll also know that he takes two sugars in his tea.

The group oversharer sends endless photos of their cats and asks the group if the electricity has gone off in their suburb or whether anyone else has noticed that the complex gate is creaking more than usual. They'll also ask if you've seen the latest video that's gone viral and proceed to share it.

5. THE BIGOT IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING

This is the person whose veiled comments make your stomach churn but dodges being called out for the longest time because they know the remoteness of a WhatsApp group gives them cover.

It's the person who posts things like "three bravo males walking down 5th Street". Just as you're thinking how "bravo males" became a term, they share a meme that makes fun of someone's accent or ethnicity.

When there's a water outage they whine and whinge then slide in a comment about affirmative action causing service-delivery hiccups.

6. THE BOASTER

This is the person who aches to remind the group of the fabulousness of their curated social media lives. They post the photos of their holidays in the Alaska tundra, the cocktails they couldn't get enough of in Barcelona or their children posing with their good effort certificates.

You're sorry you even looked at the post then chastise yourself for not being happy for others, so you post a "looks awesome" comment and return to tackling last night's dinner dishes.

7. THE BIG-MOUTH SHIRKER

This is the person who has a comment about everything and an opinion on how to fix all that's wrong with the world, be it overgrown verges, to finalising the land expropriation without compensation issue or how to get a teething toddler to bed.

But when a call goes out on the group to do a street clean-up or to join a volunteer action initiative in real life, all they can muster is a "nice job" or "good on you" then carry on making comments instead of making a difference.


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