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I'm part of an eight people team, plus a team leader.

Four of us are relatively new to the company and the team, while the other four and the team leader are veterans and worked together from day one in the team. Let's call them the "veterans group".

A few days ago, some of the newcomers started to suspect the "veterans group" have their own WhatsApp group that they use to make laugh of the newcomers.

There are all kinds of indications for this suspicion, and it turns more and more solid every day.

For examples - All of us are sitting together in the open space, one of the newcomers is asking a "veteran" a question about the system, and after answering him the "veteran" pulls the phone, clicking on it, all the others "veterans group" mobiles beep and they all start to grin & chuckle.

When some of us tried to bring this issue with individual members of the "veterans group" including the team leader, they denied it. But we are not believing them.

This is causing all of us the newcomers to feel very awkward and seriously damaging our feeling of being part of the team.

So while it is obvious that people can be in whatever Whatsapp group they like, it feels like this is splitting the team into "us and them" while the Team Leader is in one of the groups.

Any ideas on how to address this situation?

Edit

Thanks to all the people who provided a different way to look at this situation and suggested not taking it personally against the newcomers.

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    Why are you upset with people who've known each other for a while that have a whatsapp group with each other? Has this caused any harm or issues in the workplace specifically work-related?
    – Jeroen
    Jun 21, 2021 at 8:45
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    They have a Whatsapp for beer & skittles, so what.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 21, 2021 at 8:48
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    why would their WhatsApp group be any business of yours ?
    – Hilmar
    Jun 21, 2021 at 13:20
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    Create a whatsapp group for all the newcomers and pretend that the group doesn't exist. That's it. Problem solved. Jun 21, 2021 at 16:29
  • This is really a question for Interpersonal Skills, not the Workplace.
    – RedSonja
    Jun 22, 2021 at 11:03

3 Answers 3

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If the "veterans" are also friends outside of work, you can't prevent them having a separate whatsapp group. That would be ridiculous.

In your question you only state that you suspect them having a whatsapp group. So what? What is your problem with that? Do they discuss work related topics there, does this hinder workplace communication with the more junior folk?

If it poses a real business problem, you can communicate that to your boss. If not, let it be. But if you tell your boss, don't say "I suspect them having a Whatsapp Group". Focus on the real impact you are experiencing. "Veteran Dev 1, 2 and 3 haven't notified me of critical process change A. Because of that I lost X hours of time today".

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Leave it be. As long as you can get all communications regarding your job, you don't need to be a part of a WhatsApp group that may or may not exist. Even if it exists, it might just be a casual group because they're friends.

They've also denied it exists. That should be enough. Continuing to push this with the coworkers will only worsen your relationship with them.

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People have free will. They can do as they wish (within the bounds of the law). If your peers have a group on some messaging platform, so what? If you think they're conspiring against you and the other junior members of the team, you're paranoid.

By confronting them on the existence of the messaging group, you've started to erode the trust that should bind a team.

I would also discourage the use of the word "veteran".

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    So what? Please elaborate on why you would discourage the use of the word "veteran".
    – OmarL
    Jun 21, 2021 at 12:12
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    As a 40-year-old male, I would be offended if a younger member of the team called me a veteran, especially if I were their manager. I perceive it to be derogatory when used to identify people who have not served in the forces, I feel the term is ageist when not used in the correct context. Jun 21, 2021 at 12:15
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    @OmarL so if the “veterans” then labelled you as “pipsqueaks”, “plebs”, “wetties” as in still wet behind the ears you would be fine with that as it is just them labelling you as you did them?
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 21, 2021 at 17:56
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    @SolarMike, I didn't say that. It's obvious that it's not what I meant either.
    – OmarL
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:14
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    "I perceive it to be derogatory when used to identify people who have not served in the forces" - WTF? That's a secondary meaning of the word. The primary definition is "A person who has had long experience in a particular field."
    – Aaron F
    Jun 21, 2021 at 19:34

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