I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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buddylist.jpgOver the years, I’ve collected quite a few buddies in the world of instant messaging. My list eventually swelled to over a hundred buddies, and I found myself spending more and more time scrolling down the buddy list window to find the people I talk to everyday.

At first, I grouped names according to the nature of the relationship, ie. Friends, Family, Work, Origami partners, etc. My new scheme groups people according to how frequently I talk to them.

The people I talk to every day are in a group called Frequent. People I talk to some of the time are in Occasional. Finally, those I hardly talk to are placed into Rare. Most chat clients will sort group names alphabetically, so the people you talk to most will always be at the top.

If you don’t like these group names and want to use your own custom names, you can still get it to sort correctly by including numbers before the names. For example:

  1. Often
  2. Sometimes
  3. As If
In iChat, I also have the Offline group option turned on. This puts all the offline people into a common group at the bottom of the list, making your other groups nice and succinct. To do this go to View and select Use Offline Group.

Periodically, I revisit the Occasional and Rare groups to prune away any buddies I don’t talk to anymore for some reason or other.

This method of organizing buddies keeps down the number of arbitrary groups, and avoids the moral dilemna of deciding who is more important than others. For example, I no longer debate whether or not someone is a “friend” or just an “acquaintance.”


  • Chris

    gravatarJun 22, 2006
    1:11 am

    Yay! And even more better with this? CHAX! Tabbed chat windows! http://www.ksuther.com/chax/

  • Matthew

    gravatarJun 22, 2006
    4:34 pm

    Even easier: if some “buddy” pisses you off/unfairly ignores you/overuses emoticons to a disturbing degree, simply yank the wanker off the list.

    It’s like an implicit “you’re dead to me” buddy list floating around in nonexistence.

    If they’re really your buddy, you’ll hear from them again and they can reclaim a spot on the list once again.

  • Happy Holidays from LifeClever » LifeClever ;-)

    gravatarDec 24, 2006
    8:13 pm

    […] How to tame your overflowing buddy list […]

  • A better way to tame your buddy list at LifeClever ;-) Tips for Design and Life

    gravatarMay 11, 2007
    6:30 am

    […] our debut post, we recommended grouping your buddies by how often you chat with them. Just split your buddies into […]