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jessica tholmer
June 26, 2017 5:59 pm

Group text messages used to be weird. They used to be clunky and obnoxious and invasive. They used to come from people trying to plan things with other people whose phone numbers you did not have in a system that was not set up for multiple users.

Less flawless than a three-way phone call, group text messages used to just be, well, annoying. And then, one day, they weren’t (my iOS bias is showing).

One day, iMessage made it easy to group text.

Shortly after moving away from each other, my former roommates and I sucked my friend/their older sister into a group text message.

Lauren and I have been best friends since we were 12, and she happens to have two younger sisters who I am incredibly close to and who I also call “best friend.” (Like Mindy Kaling says — it’s a tier.) When Lauren moved across the country for grad school, her sisters and I grew closer and closer, eventually splitting a tiny three-bedroom home that we all loved very much. When we moved out — the sisters together, and me all by my lonesome — we found ourselves texting in separate threads. Eventually, we forced Lauren to be a part of the messages. I resisted at first because I thought she would hate us and be annoyed. Who likes coming back to a phone with 40, 50, or 80 missed texts? But, since they are her sisters after all, no one besides me worried about being annoying.

If I may speak for my friends, that group text became one of the best parts of all of our lives.

Lauren’s aforementioned tweet is coming up on three years old, and we are still incredibly active in our group thread (titled “*nail polish emoji* Mean Girls *alien emoji*”). Since Lauren started her full-time job last year, we spend less time shooting the breeze, but it is still one of my favorite things in the world. That stupid group thread has seen us all through hard times, multiple moves, family nonsense, relationship nonsense, a lot of pet illness and stress, and 100,000 thousand GIFs of Dana Scully.

I have a few group threads in my life now.

Though “*nail polish emoji* Mean Girls *alien emoji*” is my first and forever love, I have a few other group threads in my life. I have a thread called “Your Moms” with two of my best friends — one of whom is quite younger than we are, thus we are her mothers. Another thread consists of three lovely women who I have still yet to meet — all three women I know from Twitter and from writing for HelloGiggles. One group text, called “Wackadoo,” is a helter skelter bunch of people that I love. I have a group text with two of my closest friends where we mostly talk politics and dudes — though luckily, one of us has an adorable child to break up the monotony of the stress of our nation (thanks, Walter).

How silly is all of this? Well, actually, not very silly at all.

I live alone. I am currently in a semi-long distance relationship (1.5 hours isn’t that far) where I don’t get to see my partner super often. I have a cat who I adore, but I have never been one of those people who can rely on their pet to help with loneliness. I don’t love my job, and social media is much more stressful than it used to be. Twitter friends, real life friends, co-worker friends, and a nearby partner — all things I used to rely on to feel less lonely — are no longer things available to me to cure my loneliness.

Without my group messages, I would feel much more lonely on a regular basis.

Oftentimes, we use the “Your Moms” thread to vent about our stressful jobs and relationship issues with a healthy dose of internet memes. Even when “Mean Girls” isn’t popping on a regular basis, I know I’m one iMessage away from a response from someone. Even if I just need to talk about a new favorite movie, I know I can turn to someone.

Group text messages used to be annoying and hard to follow. Thank the cell phone gods that we have changed for the better. My whole heart is wrapped up in silly text messages, and I have zero shame in that.

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