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Spacing Out Communication

To group chat, or not to group chat? That is the question.


...Shakespeare definitely didn't say that. However, he also didn't have multiple chat apps, a polycule, calendaring with different individuals and groups, and the modern world's expectation that we be "on" for work an absurd amount of the time breathing down his neck. If he did, the monologue might have been a little less existential. (I hope not. I enjoy that play. Being existential and including great dick jokes is one of my favorite things about Shakespeare.) Let's pretend my analogy isn't at all awkward and roll directly into a consideration of the actual topic at hand: how, and how much, does your polycule communicate? Do individual relationships determine this 1-1 or are there group chats? Are group chats born only for specific outings, or do they continue to exist maybe forever now? Do they get cute names? Who uses them? Are they cliquey among specific folks who get along within the polycule?


If that last question seemed either leading or judgemental, it kind of is. I've seen group chats used to be mean to folks who aren't liked as much as others, and that's not the thing we should be trying to do here. We're adults, not schoolyard bullies. I suggest not using group chats to exclude folks you don't like as much from planning for events they're invited to; and in general using them in situations where they make logistical sense rather than to express an amorphous feeling. The group chat should not be a named way to secure your kitchen table unit against outside incursion... but it can be a logistical tool for, say, a household to manage groceries and schedules, and so not inviting people who aren't in the house to the group chat then makes logical sense. You'd make a separate chat for the two weeks before a party you're planning that non-nesting partners are part of planning if you want to include them in it. There's no law that says a group chat is forever or has to keep being used for communication after an event. You then don't give that short term group chat a cutesy name; you don't rename it or you call it the event it's for.





I know that's pretty prescriptive of me, and I usually suggest that folks can do whatever they want about these things - and you can! An alternative method may work great for you. If you, like my mom's side of the extended family, work best with 18 variations on group chats each with one different member, more power to you. It absolutely doesn't work for my brain though - I can't keep any of it organized and I end up confused and feeling like the aunts are being passive aggressive (and some of the time, they are, in a contained space!). In order to know who I'm talking to, I absolutely work best in HUGE group spaces (discord server/feels public level group spaces) and for a purpose short term group chats and then individual chats. My one long term group chat is with my coparents. Technically I have one with my partner of more than 7 years and my metas through him but it gets awakened a few times a year to say "Happy Anniversary!" or send holiday greetings at one another. If a hundred group chats of various sizes are your speed, run them all - but make sure you know who is in which and you don't give them similar names. If they're "The PolyPod" and "The PodSquad" mixing them up might be too easy.


Who all are in your group chats? How many are you in? Do you love or hate them?


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There's a little less than two weeks to join us for the first Polyamory and Power Exchange ten week support session cycle - we start May 2! Find more info here. If multiple members of your dynamic want to attend, every member after the first gets a discounted rate.


The parenting sessions are also starting to fill up, and some folks had an interest in starting sooner that September. If that's you, let me know by the contact form or email and we'll get it worked out.

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