Why I Refuse to Voluntarily Join Zooms With More Than 5 People

When quarantine first came into play, Zoom was this newfound sensation.

Suddenly, we could have 50 of our closest friends all under one (virtual) roof. What could be better than that?! Umm, a lot of things (as I very quickly learned). While some people's Zoom parties were immediately booked from March 20 to present day, others (like me) were quick to opt out. Nothing sounds worse than spending my Saturday night talking over 10 people, wistfully discussing their dream of a sit-down restaurant meal.

Initially, I felt a sense of obligation. Oh, but it's Susie's birthday. If I'm the only one who doesn't hop on the 15-person Zoom, I'll be the jerk. And then there's even that slight sense of FOMO. Not so much that they're having fun without you (these aren't fun), but more that you're missing out on some group discussions, and you want to be in on all the gossip (some things never change).

Shutterstock: Woman on touch working on laptop computer with coffee tea mug

(via Shutterstock)

But ultimately I've decided it's best for my sanity to keep the Zoom chats at bay. I have one four-person Zoom that I've consistently been a part of each Sunday for the last month, and I'm cool with that. But any time I've tried to join a Zoom to "be nice," I've anxiously wanted out.

With the exception of work, of course, here's why I refuse to join Zooms with more than five people.

1. I Feel Like My Time Can Be Much Better Spent

I totally respect that everyone's different, and that no one'obligated to be "productive" amid a pandemic. But whether it's actual work, a fun project or simply just cooking or listening to Spotify, I never feel like I'm using my time beneficially when I'm on a big Zoom call. At the end of the day, if something isn't fulfilling me in any regard, I shouldn't do it.

Not every task is going to be to my liking, but hopping on a Zoom call for work, for example, is still important for my job. Whereas, sitting on a chat with a bunch of friends when I don't want to be there makes me feel wasteful when I could be doing something to improve my happiness—even if that means watching Netflix until I fall asleep. I just sit there the entire time feeling antsy and uncomfortable, wishing I were doing something else.

Shutterstock: Woman struggling to sleep at night with laptop and cup of coffee tea

(via Shutterstock)


2. I Don't Feel Like a Valuable Part of the Experience

Have you ever been a part of something and felt totally out of place, or like your body is there but the rest of you is totally absent? That's how I feel on Zoom calls. It's usually me taking a backseat to a bunch of people wrapped up in conversations I don't connect with, and it's like I'm not even there. It's additionally difficult because I'm quarantining alone, while most everyone I know has someone by their side in the Zooms, and it definitely changes the dynamic.


3. I Think Smaller Chats Are More Meaningful

As I've noted before, I don't do well in big groups, period. If a conversation shifts to a topic I can't relate to or have no knowledge of, it triggers my anxiety. When I'm engaging in groups of less than five people, I'm a lot more at ease and it's much less of a free-for-all. Even if I don't agree with something or have much to say on a particular topic, I still feel like I'm part of the group. I also feel like it opens up the forum to have a deeper conversation. It's not to say that every chat needs to be thought-provoking and heavy. I live for a good giggle. But it does allow people to open up more and feel like less is holding them back. It sets the tone for a more trustworthy encounter.


(via Shutterstock)


4. I Don't Enjoy Talking Over People

This pretty much backs up everything mentioned above. Large group chats are haphazard and people are on different pages. I don't want to sit and wait my turn or feel like I need to raise my hand to contribute. When you're in person, you can segue off into smaller groups within a big group and chit-chat with who's sitting next to or across from you. Such isn't the case in the digital chats. And again, not having someone physically sitting next to me makes it doubly uncomfortable to sit and wait for my speaking chance.


Struggling to get out of a friend's Zoom invite? HERE's how to politely decline.