In my company we still use Skype for internal purposes. One client can have many projects and each of them can have one or more chats (sometimes my list can easily contain dozens of them).

Even if you turn off notifications, those chats are always going up and down, blinking, making it harder to look for current projects info (another dozens of chats). Usually when you are being assigned to another client, a manager of former project excludes you from chats of their responsibility.

The last time I switched projects one of the managers didn't exclude me from his group chats and recently one of those became so annoying I left it and others by myself. A few moments later a manager of one of the most annoying project's chat said that I was rude and said to just turn off the sound and never leave the conversations.

I left that project 2 months ago and will never ever come back to it. The manager was one of the many and not a senior one. We have no internal regulations on this regard and I never had such problems before.

But now it bothers me if he really was right. Are there any rules of etiquette that apply in my situation?

  • I think probably that manager is reading too much into the situation. I’d ignore him as well. That would make him think he probably did say something that makes no sense. (I’m being “kind” with choice of words here.) Silence is better than arguing in some cases. Once you say something, you cannot take it back.
    – user59841
    Apr 3, 2018 at 4:52

4 Answers 4


It is 100% correct and good to leave skype chats, as you describe.

In fact, the manager of each chat wants you to do that - to be proactive and leave.

So that the chat manager doesn't have to clean everyone out.

Just as you literally leave a physical meeting - you don't expect the manager to hold your hand, get your bag, help you to the door etc !! :) - you can, indeed must, leave Skype rooms when appropriate.

  • Well, at least the manager should want that. Bad managers may want everyone to stay tuned with everything.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Apr 6, 2018 at 11:15

It is considerate to give a little sign off when doing something like this. Whether it is excusing yourself from a meeting, asking to be removed from an unruly email chain with too many cc's, a Skype chat, a MS Teams channel, a Slack channel, etc. It doesn't have to be much, but enough to let everyone know you are leaving the chat and are still available if they need you.

"Hey everyone. It does not appear like this chat is one of my projects so I will be excusing myself from it. If there are any action items for me or if there is any info/knowledge I can share, please feel free to add me back or reach out to me directly."

If you still get grief from this manager, you have two options: Either ignore the manager if they are in no way related to you or your dept/team or ask for clarification on the official policy when it comes to the chat channels.

"Hey manager-person. I apologize if my leaving the chat seemed rude. The project doesn't involve me so I excused myself. Please send me the link to the official document for how to handle the chat conversations and I'll make sure to distribute it to my manager and fellow teammates so we can follow the rules."

This shows that there is no official documentation on how to handle it, you will gladly share with your colleagues this manager's viewpoint on having a million open conversations (which not many people will be in favor of), and the problem should go away.


I agree with @Fattie that in normal circumstances there should be nothing wrong with leaving chat groups you're no longer involved in. It reduces the clients distraction level and makes seeing activity that you do need to care about easier. If for some reason the people still working on the project need your insight about something that you did while working on it, the invite notice and/or the chat being automatically re-added to your list and then setting off notifications will make it more visible to you when it does matter again.

However, as always, the culture in your employer could be different than that. So the question becomes if the manager who flipped out on you was just being a crazy micro-manager, or if the expectation is that your chat client should end up with a huge room list because you never leave anything.

There are two ways to figure out which applies. The active way is just to ask your supervisor and/or colleagues who've been at the company longer than you have what is considered normal. The passive way is just to see what your more experienced colleagues do after they leave a still-active project. Do they leave the chat after a few days/weeks or do they lurk there indefinitely?

  • It differs. Some stay, some leave in the middle of hot discussion. The problen was he said it in managerial chat (of one developer, me, and other managers) and others just kept silence. So I just wanted to find some info before a reply.
    – Amberta
    Apr 3, 2018 at 8:02

In the general case, no it is not rude to leave a workplace group chat if it is not relevant to your work.

However, if you are unsure or otherwise have reason to believe it will not be received well, it is generally safe to make explicit what a should have been implicit.

"Since my involvement in this part of the project is complete I plan to drop out of this conversation. Does anyone need any information before I go?"

Most of the time people get offended both inside and outside the workplace it is due to a construction they place on a person's intentions that may or may not be valid. Making it explicit takes out the guesswork.

  • 1
    Asking if anyone needs anything before you leave forces you to stay in the chat until everyone has responded. (Or they'll still feel it's rude) It's better to say "feel free to reach out" and just go.
    – Erik
    Apr 6, 2018 at 5:28

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