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I am in a fairly large friend group - 12 people. We all go to the same school, but don’t interact much during the school day. Everyone in this group uses apple devices except one person - me.

This is a problem because this friend group communicates mostly over a collection of 4 iMessage group chats, which I, an android user, cannot access. Almost all of the group’s communication is through these chats - the time and date for our weekly movie night, any kind of information (someone once came out as gay to the entire group and I had no idea for 2 weeks), invitations to events. Needless to say, it’s almost impossible for me to stay connected to the group without being on the chats, as we don’t see each other often irl.

Previously, this was less of a problem, as I was using my old iPhone from before I switched to Android to be on the chats. It was an objectively crappy experience, as the phone was so old it often didn’t let me type, it lagged, and I had to carry around a second phone with me and keep it in good condition. But recently, the phone broke, cutting me off from the chat, and therefore, the friend group.

I’ve tried asking other people in the group to text me whenever activities are planned so I know when they are, but they always seem to forget.

I’ve tried a slew of dubious apps that will supposedly let me join an iMessage group, and they didn’t work.

I don’t want to switch to iOS because I prefer android, and I don’t want to buy another second iPhone because it’s not something I feel is worth it, not to mention, having to use a second phone specifically for my friends’ group chat is kind of shitty.

I can’t switch the chats to SMS groups, because I’m an AT&T user, and there is a maximum amount of people in an AT&T group text.

Now, I’ve tried to convince my friends to switch to other chat platforms, like discord or telegram or something I can actually talk to them on, but I’ve met with a lot of resistance. Reasons for not switching include: - Friends don’t want to have to download an app - friends prefer the aesthetic of iMessage - friends think it “wouldn’t be the same” if they had to use a different app - one person’s parents won’t let them get any chat apps

The last one is a pretty solid reason for not switching. But apart from that, I’m kind of pissed at the rest of my friends for refusing to even consider using discord or something. I’d download a strange new app for them - I spent 2 years carrying around a second phone just to talk to them. I feel like they don’t respect me, but also, I feel excluded, like every single person in the friend group is hanging out without me. I also feel hurt that none of them seem to care about this as much as I do. Now, the good news is, the person with strict parents is moving to another state pretty soon, and while obviously they’ll want to be in the chats, I imagine they’ll eventually drop off, which would make it possible to switch to a different chat platform.

So my questions are:

  1. How do I explain to my friends that not being in the chats is really bothering me?
  2. How do I convince them that my need to be a part of the friend group I am in outweighs their discomfort at switching platforms?

Thanks!

  • As far as I can tell, it should be possible to use iMessage in the browser of a (Windows) computer, for example Google Chrome. So I guess if you have an Apple ID, you could just log in via a computer. – Lehue Dec 18 '19 at 10:02
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    Not going to be of much help here but just thought to comment that I'm surprised you went as far as considering Discord but not WhatsApp, as that seems to be the closest and easiest alternative to iMessage. All your friends need to do is install it and open it. Then you can add them to a group yourself just by knowing their number (which is already saved in your phone's contact list). – kiradotee Dec 18 '19 at 12:24
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The thing is : you're alone.

Your friends are comfortable using the current messaging app. It might slightly bother them that you can't join the chat, but well they did it so far and there was not any problem.


But what if you were not alone ?

Think of it : what happen if 2 or 3 or your friends moved to another chatting app with you ? The group is now divided in 8/4 instead of 11/1.
What was previously a slight annoyance is snow a pain to communicate with everyone.
At that point, the group will automatically make a choice : convince people to come back to iMessage, and make the effort to migrate to another chatting app. It will also force people to considerate your problem more, since a choice have to be made for the group (and not anymore an effort only for you).


Bring some of you friends with you

So my recommendation is to talk to 2~3 friend of the group and convince them to your cause.

I recommend you to choose the friends that you feel the closest, as they will feel more empathy for you,
and / or the ones that are the least resistant to the idea of trying a new chatting app.

They will join the new chatting app, and from there you should make sure to often talk to them through the app, to be sure they actually use it.
They will soon feel the need to have a centralized chatting app, and will talk about the idea to the whole group.


Help a smoother transition

While you can't choose for your friends which chatting app they use, you can certainly help.

Don't nag them everyday about how Discord is great.

Instead, create a server yourself, make it a happy place (create some channels, add some personal emoticons, etc...) and send them the server's link.

So now, with the link, they are one click away from changing the chatting app. If you don't take proactive steps, it means they have to download the app, find some servers, explore the app by themselves, etc...


Conclusion

  1. Take proactive steps and create the Discord server, make it attractive.
  2. Find a few close friends and convince to join the server.
  3. Make sure to keep the server active : talk to them. It will achieve 2 things : first they will use the chatting app more, which is your goal, and second they will realize that they also missed talking with you when using the old app.
  4. Eventually the topic of which app to use will come. If it does not come by itself, you can invite more and more friends, one by one. You do this by mentioning "how nice the server is".
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Ok, so this seems like a conflict of interest (in the literal sense) here. I haven't faced this very exact scenario as you describe before. But the problem I see here is something I am very familiar with and I will tell you how I usually approach such situations.

So getting into your first question.

How do I explain to my friends that not being in the chats is really bothering me?

I think this one is very simple. You should just tell them as you told us, if you haven't done already. They very likely already understand you then. But that's not the problem here, that they don't understand you. The problem here is that (fro what ever reasons; valid or not) they don't feel comfortable with switching to a different tool to work around this. So just getting more clear or more insisting in trying to make them understand your point, won't change much.

Now...

How do I convince them that my need to be a part of the friend group I am in outweighs their discomfort at switching platforms?

You can't really achieve this. I mean, what is the scale you measure this outweighing on? Its your personal perception. So this is subjective. And as much this statement is being true for you, its very likely that the exact opposite is true for your group of friends. And they are many. Its not about them wanting to exclude you or not liking you anymore. Its pretty much that they think the very same way you are thinking. They think:

Why should we all make our everyday usage of digital devices more complicated and due to that more stressing, if all sadtriangle had to do, is having a 2nd hand cheap Ios device to be carying with him, or at least only access it at home. All of us having much simpler access to a communication platform clearly outweighs his desire of not wanting to use an Ios device.

So as said this is subjective. And their statement (be it this or something else) is given the perspective as much valid as yours is true from your perspective. And their decision has as little to do with you personally, as your decision to not wanting to use their platform has to do with them personally. The only problem is, even if you could convince a single person of them and get their word to join your side, that wouldn't help you, as in a group dynamic, as large as this, they would just turn back to their prior opinion, given that everyone else around them in this group still shares that view.

So there are 3 outcomes you could work forward to.

The first would be, being in respect with your frame:

  • Aproach this objective rather than subjective. How can you do that? Don't tell them how it feels for you and why this isn't bearable for you. Instead try to find an alternative. Something that is as simple to use as what they currently have at hand won't give them any extra clicks to make or anything that's being unpractical adding to that, that you could join them that way, too. As said, this is difficult and unlikely to work out, as first of all you had to figure out for everyone in that group what the reasons are for them to prefer their current platform. And after you had figured that you have to find an alternative, that combines all this features into one app and you would need to have access to it, too. Its unlikely that such a tool even will exist. And as long not everyones expectation would be met, the mindset of a group would remain reluctant to facing changes. So it will be in the end, 12 people having to deal with change vs. 1 person having to deal with change. Anyways, that would be the only way I can see to solve your solution by the given frame.

Now the other 2 solutions, quite straight forward:

  • Find a way that is most practical for you, to connect to their platform. As said, get a cheap second hand device. Why you had to bring it always with you? Wouldn't it be enough to leave it at home and only sync with them when at home in the evening? You wouldn't be up to date about whats going on 24/7, but you would at least not miss the coming out of a friend by 2 weeks. I mean, as said. Its up to you, finding what would be most handy.

  • Or you simply keep refusing to adapt and continue trying to move them to satisfy your requirements (Or don't do anything further at all about it). This will leave things as they are, and also someone from that group relocating won't change the groups dynamic. I'd say they only brought that up as it was a simple way to deny your request. But their view on this will still be the same even after this excuse got invalidated. So going this way, you will very likely get over time more and more disconnected from the group. And what you should ask yourself in this regards is: What is more important to you? Staying connected with this group of friends? Or not having to use an Apple device? because that is the relevant question to the outcome that had to be expected here.

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