I wasn’t a fan of the family WhatsApp group. I had been added several times but I managed to exit without anyone noticing. When someone finally caught on, my excuse was always that I wasn’t in the country and I had changed my number. However, after my grandfather passed away, we all decided to make a special WhatsApp group so we could communicate better. It somehow became the official WhatsApp group for the whole extended family including the ones outside the country.
The WhatsApp group was actually better than I expected. Unlike the other one, there were no cringe videos or forwarded messages sent to the group. That was one of the rules. It was purely for communicating important meetings or updates. After the funeral, the WhatsApp group remained but it wasn’t as active. I would go for weeks without getting a notification. However, my cousin posted on it informing us about his daughter’s birthday.
“I would like to invite you to Tatiana’s birthday on 5th August.” The message read.
What followed was a series of messages. People accepted the invite while others shared that they had other plans. The group was active again which was okay with me as long as there were no unnecessary messages. I didn’t reply immediately since I was still trying to figure out my schedule for that weekend.
A week passed without a reply until my cousin messaged me privately to ask whether I was going to the party.
“Are you coming to the party?” He asked.
“Why have you not replied?”
“I forgot. I’ll reply tonight.”
He accepted my excuse but pressured me to reply by tonight. After work, I got home exhausted and ready to unwind. I took a shower, had dinner and went to bed. The thought of replying to the family WhatsApp group escaped my mind once again. However, I got another message. It wasn’t from my cousin but from a guy I had been flirting with. The messages between us were highly sexual and it was no different this time.
I laughed as I read through the message and thought of a reply. After coming up with one, I started typing then hit the send button and placed my phone by the side table so I could sleep.
Before I could get some shut-eye, I started getting notifications. I thought that maybe it was my guy who had replied to my message. Excitedly, I unlocked my phone and saw a notification from the family WhatsApp group.
“Argh, I thought we agreed not to send unnecessary messages,” I said and locked my phone without checking the messages.
A few more notifications came in before getting a phone call from my cousin.
“What’s going on?” He asked in a panic.
“I know I said I’ll confirm in the group tonight but I’m so tired. I’ll do it first thing in the morning.”
“Forget about that. You just sent a dirty text to the WhatsApp group.” He said and my heart dropped.
“What do you mean?”
“Go and check.”
My hands were shaking and my head was racing. I couldn’t even figure out how to unlock my phone. Finally, I managed to compose myself and then opened the app. It was true. The message that I was supposed to send to my guy was on the family WhatsApp group.
Everyone, including my mum, had seen it and some even commented. I didn’t know what to do so I called my cousin again.
“Delete it then say someone forwarded it to you and you forwarded it to the group by mistake.”
I did exactly what he said. However, since I had been the most vocal about keeping the WhatsApp group about family matters, people weren’t as understanding as I hoped. My aunties were particularly ruthless, reminding me that there were elders and respectable members in the group. I apologized about a dozen times but the damage had already been done.
The only good part was that ai hadn’t confirmed my attendance at the birthday party in the WhatsApp group so I simply called my cousin and cancelled.
“I can’t come now. Everyone will be on my case.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll soon be laughing about it.”
Throughout the whole experience, my cousin was surprisingly the most understanding. He kept encouraging me and asked me not to isolate myself. When something like this happens especially among family members, most people tend to isolate themselves which makes the situation worse.
Following his advice, I decided to go to the birthday party but showed up significantly late on purpose. Everyone was having a good time but as I walked in, I could feel the stares and whispers. My cousin welcomed me and I sat close to the exit just in case I needed to leave. None of my aunties wanted to say hi to me but my cousins were more than happy to see me and we even had a laugh about the incident.
The more my cousins joked about it, the easier it became. Soon, I was making jokes about it. When it was time to cut the cake, my cousin asked me to go and help. I took the opportunity to apologize to the family in person and explain what happened.
I managed to win some of my aunties over even the staunch Christians. However, there’s always that one auntie who’s never liked you and waited for you to make a mistake so she can rub it in your face. That auntie has never let me forget about the incident but I always laugh it off when she brings it up. Luckily, everyone else got over it and after exiting the WhatsApp group, I have never been added to another one till this day. I guess no one wants to risk another scandalous text making its way to the family WhatsApp group.
Moral of the story: always double-check before sending a risky text.
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