Feeling Left Out?

I finally replied to a comment on a post I made almost two years ago right before our wedding. Well, the comment was actually left relatively recently, which has reinforced for me the affect this particular post has had on a lot of people. As much as I felt it was a downer to write it at the time, I’m glad I did. Apparently, people can relate and it’s important, when you’re feeling down, to read an honest conveyance that other people feel the way you do sometimes.

After writing the reply, I decided that it really merited its own post not only because it was terribly long for a comment, but also because I felt it contains some useful advice that shouldn’t just be tucked away in a comment. Hopefully, Matt won’t mind me highlighting his comment in a post of its own.

“Yeah, i found this on a google search, and im only a 15 yr old boy and i also hate it when my friends blatantly make plans in front of me and leave me out. I dont feel like the people i used to hang out with are my friends anymore and its really depressing.”

@ Matt I definitely understand how you’re feeling and I know how hard it is the first time you go through it especially because it takes a while to notice a pattern in how your friendships change. There are a couple things I learned over the years that I wish I knew when I was 15 (I’m almost 30 now): I wish I knew that friendships naturally change, that it’s a lot easier to deal with the change if you accept it and let it happen, and that sometimes people are reacting to my behavior.

Chances are, if you had good friends who are now starting to blatantly leave you out, there has been a change in your friendship and it sounds like you know it already because you mentioned that you don’t feel like they are your friends anymore. BUT, before you decide to write them off think about whether the way you act toward them has changed.

To give you an example, I’ve noticed that sometimes when I feel left out it’s actually because I don’t make an effort to include myself. A fact of life is that people will not always be entirely considerate, not because they are bad friends, but because it takes a lot of energy to think of everyone around you ALL the time. If you simply ask your friends if there’s something going on Friday night, they might be happy to tell you about it and invite you along.

At the same time, you also need to make an effort to accept invitations because people will get tired of asking if you reject them too much. You need to make an effort to invite other people to do things as well. It’s very true that what goes around comes around. People like to be included so if you become the person who is always including them, they will start to think of you whenever they go out. Be patient, it takes a while for people to change their perception of you and it’s not going to work every time, but generally people do like to be social with other social people.

Despite making positive efforts to include yourself, there will be situations in which it’s clear that people do not want you to hang with them. Maybe you ask if they have plans Friday night and they lie or they act really awkward and are hesitant to tell you about it. Perhaps, that doesn’t happen, but instead when you are included you don’t enjoy yourself with them anymore. They want to do different things, their jokes aren’t funny to you anymore, etc. That’s a sign that you’ve grown apart and it might simply be time to move on.

Try not to think of it as a bad thing. This is your opportunity to meet new interesting people and find out more about yourself. You don’t necessarily have to burn your bridges with your old friends. There will likely come a time when you will run into them again and the nostalgia of your old friendship will be very important to you. You might even still want to hang out with them every once in a while, but they just won’t be the friends you go out with every weekend.

I’ve had many different groups of friends over the years and have noticed that the group I spend most of my time with tends to change every 2-3 years. I used to think there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t stick with good friends, but then I realized that I’ve just changed and so have they. I’ve very rarely had fallings out with old friends, mostly we just drift in different directions and I will usually have one or two friends in each group who have become very close friends whom I will get back in touch with here and there over the years. I’ve just very recently realized that I’m happiest when I just let my relationships change and tried to think of the positive aspects rather than dwelling on “losing” a friend.

If you’ve dealt with a similar situation or have something to add, I definitely welcome comments on the issue.

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17 thoughts on “Feeling Left Out?

  1. I’ve had that happen too, but it was always one set of friends who left me out of their plans. I think it was because I probably said no too many times for them to ask me again. There was also the obvious age difference (about 6-8 years) and we were great friends over some things, and completely opposite over other things. I found that also I just had to pipe up when I was actually interested and say, “hey that sounds fun, can I come too?”

    Also I found that sometimes talking about plans in front of me was their way of asking me if I was interested too. Some of my friends are the “speak up” type and aren’t afraid to just ask to come along, so they expect the same from me.

  2. @ Caroline:
    Nope, still haven’t heard from them. After calling them a number of times to try to invite them to our wedding, I gave up. I definitely tried my best to get in touch with them so I’ll have to take my own advice, remember the fun we had years back, and assume that they are in a different place in their lives now.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this blog. I live in the country.
    This evening we noticed a bunch of cars in my neighbors back yard.
    My son noticed a few teenagers there from his school.
    Even my other neighbors Granddaughter whose 13
    and lives in another State was invited to this party.
    While my 3 teenagers were left out. The girl throwing the party
    is 17 or 18. I was Born and raised in this area. I have lived here
    my whole Life! I’ve never been anywhere else. I have lived here for 35 years.
    We have lived in this neighborhood for 10 years.
    My oldest son will be in 12th grade when school starts back.
    So its not like we are “new” here or anything. I dont understand these people.
    They are rude, hateful and seem to hate us for no reason.
    We have never done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. I have no idea why
    we are being treated like this. I get such hateful dirty looks from neighbors
    and people I dont even know. I wonder if some Jealous person is spreading Lies
    and Rumors about us? The dirty looks I get just dont make sense. I have no idea.
    The neighbors with the 13 year old Granddaughter have 2 adult sons almost 40 years
    old and still living at home. They wanted to buy our Land, like their Free 50 acres
    their Father gave them wasnt enough. I guess they got mad when we would not
    sale our Land to them. Maybe thats the reason for the dirty looks? and other neighbors
    starting to turn against us?
    All I can say is you dont like me, well Big mistake. Because I am not going anywhere.
    I would never sale my land to you and I may even rent this out to Bad neighbors
    since your being hateful to me for no reason.
    If what comes around goes around, It should really be coming back around
    to these hateful people.
    I live in rural southern alabama, in the country, and these people are so
    nosy,rude and hateful for no reason. I have been here all my life, I know how these
    people are. They are not friendly or nice at all. believe me I know!
    They make me feel like dropping everything and moving to Minnesota, Montana, Oregon,
    Canada, Maine or something. I would have better neighbors if I lived in
    Afghanstan, Costa rica, Spain, Germany or some other place.
    The people here are horrible and for the life of me
    I cannot figure out Why!??? This place is depressing and sad
    and the people are horrible. They leave you out and wont talk to you for no reason
    and you never know why. You just get hateful dirty looks and dont know why.
    You see people having parties and stuff but not with you. And my husband was
    just over there at that neighbors a few days ago, asking if he needed any help,
    and they still did not mention any party. I saw the 2 girls outside yesterday
    and they would not even look at me. Not even acknowledge my existence
    as I drove by.
    Its a horrible way to live.

  4. I just realized my own group drifting away from me today, taking with it my close friend for the past couple of years. Came home depressed and feeling lost, your post put things back on perspective. Just wanted to thank you for that.

  5. Thanks for this! I’ve been feeling pretty left out of my group of friends lately and some of the extended group of friends I have made as well. Your post really put things into perspective – it is true that it’s a bit exhausting to think about everyone ALL the time.

    It just sucks because at this stage in my friendships with people, there’s a huge transition going on and everyone is either drifting apart or sticking by new or old friends and leaving the people they used to hang out with a lot as acquaintances.

    But always good to know that I’m not alone…having tons of friends is a great thing :)

  6. This has been kind of helpful to me. I used to think that I belonged to two groups of friends, but I have always been closer to one group than the other. The friends in the other group and I have always been friendly with each other and we share the same interests, but lately I have noticed them talking about their plans and events that they have already done. I thought it was okay since not all of my friends were going, but friends from that same group were always like, oh I remember when we did that too.
    I am very hurt that these girls treat me like a good friend and then go off and pretend I don’t exist.

  7. Thank you, I’m sure a lot of people who feel they have been left out at some point google and find this posts. I had a moment of feeling left out this weekend. I’ve noticed a few comments my friend has made in the last year at times correcting me and putting me down (not in a bad way). This weekend pretty much summed it up. I was honest with her and she apologized and admits she can be bossy and i told her that I am sensitive.

    It didn’t put a damper in our friendship, but its time to look elsewhere for friends. I also seem to change friends every few years due to short comings and think it is me. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  8. I came across your post because I was googling, of all things, “feeling left out” over the whole Google+ craze – not because I especially want an invite, but because I know at least 10 people with it, and I haven’t been on any of their invite lists. (And I feel silly for even griping over this.) It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that feels like this at times.

    I’ve been finding lately that social-networking sites can ironically make me feel even more left out than ever…because it is a constant reminder of all of the things happening that I haven’t been a part of. Too many times I have logged in only to find a dozen photos from a party that seemingly everyone but me was at.

    In college, I had at least 5 friends within a two minute walk…it was so easy to be social…now it involves so much more effort and constant vigilance…if I’m not careful and turn down more than one invite in a row, it seems, I don’t get invited out again by that person. Aren’t these other people busy? Or are they just constantly moving work and appointments and family functions around so that they can go out? I guess I need to try harder…but it’s difficult to try harder when you already feel that you’ve been left out.

  9. Great blog – thanks for posting. The bit about it taking a lot of energy to think of everyone all the time actually made me feel a little better! And I couldn’t agree more with what Phoebe said about the social networking sites contributing to the feelings of being left out. That’s how I ended up here….I was just on Facebook and realized that 2 of my friends and their kids (who are also friends with my kids) have been invited to a third friend’s beach house for a few days. I know I need to let things go and not get so upset but nobody likes to feel left out.

  10. I’m happy I found this blog. Just got back from a destination wedding and shared a house with two close friend couples. The bridal couple stayed in a different house with their adult children but over the 3-day weekend visited often, ate several dinners together, shopped, etc. The wedding was held on the beach and the guests were seated when the bride took the microphone and said she had an announcement. Everyone laughed and asked if she was pregnant (2nd marriage for both and bride is 55, groom 60), No, the person who was supposed to officiate – a very ‘good friend’ – baled at the last minute so they were married at the courthouse in their hometown days ago. I looked at both couples we shared the house with and asked, ‘did you know?’. With big smiles they both said YES. “We were there and stood for them”. While my husband and I didn’t expect to be included in the ceremony at the courthouse, we had shared in ALL of the expenses and were even asked to help prepare a bridal suite at our shared house so they could get away from the kids. We had wine glasses monogrammed, bought an expensive bottle of wine, bought flowers and all the while everyone in the house knew but us. It made sense then why the room we prepared was not slept in. Why the glasses and bottle of wine sat on the nightstand. I was so hurt that when asked to join everyone for pictures I refused to go. I couldn’t compose myself at that moment and am certain the pictures would have reflected my disappointment and disbelief at what had transpired. Anyway, thank you for sharing your feelings on feeling left out. It’s so very painful. Not sure how to go forward with these friends.

  11. I constantly feel left out. I found out recently that friends who we have socialised a lot with in the past went out with my other friends for a birthday celebration. We were not invited. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I just said how lovely to them , sounds like you had a nice celebration but inside I felt like crying. I am 40 and feel like I a back in the playground. I have been feeling this way though for a while because you hear things especially from kids that they were at this and that. I am trying to broaden my horizons and meet different people and not let it get to me. I have a longstanding engagement with them once a year and although I enjoy it I am wondering about easing out of it as I wonder has the friendship run the course.

  12. Thanks for the blog. I am also experiencing similar issues. My old friends that I’ve known forever seem to be drifting away but I’m blaming myself. The problem is, I often now feel uncomfortable in their company and tend not to act like myself which I think perpetuates the situation. They are buddying up with people that I really don’t like and because of this I’m feeling further alienated. There would be no point in telling them any of this as they would probably just think I was being over sensitive or blame me for not getting on with the other people. It’s a tricky situation though as 75% of me wants to wipe them from my life as it’s a constant source of worry for me but there’s the 25% that keeps thinking the next time I see them I will make more of an effort to relax and enjoy their company and things will change.

  13. I’m 14 and in grade 9.ι go to a really small school where ι have 2 friends that ι have known for 2 years now and ι consider them my best friends, but sometimes ι feel left out when they blatantly make plans infront of me. It doesn’t always happen but its still upsetting. ι know they have know each other since grade 1 but they can at least TRY and include me.i feel awful and mean writing this but its how ι feel and I’m one of those people who don’t make new friends easily and I’m scared that if ι confront them ι’ll loose them as friends, could Y♡Ʊ help me, pllleeeaaassseee?

  14. I didn’t think I was the only one who felt this way! I hung out with them a few times but they all of a sudden uninvited me one day. my friends always go out on Fridays and leave me out of party’s. they even go out to the casino and bowling. It makes me feel sad that I’m never included anymore. It makes me depressed. I talked to a couple of them about it but they continue to go out without me. I just gave up hanging out with them after not getting invited after 3 months. I’m not one to just invite myself out with people kuse I don’t want to intrude on their personal lives. anyway I’m happy to hear others feel the same way I do.

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