Being left out is something that we have all experienced within our friendship groups. Being excluded comes with a massive side order of anything from shame, humiliation, embarrassment and rejection.
Sadly, there are very few places that are talking about how to handle this kind of thing. Which is pretty ridiculous when you consider the lasting long term effects being left out by your friends and exclusion can have on a person’s well being.
Whether you can count your friends on one hand or you have a big group of mates, it is inevitable you’re not going to be invited to every single social event. That all seems reasonable enough to say and easy enough to accept right, because most of the time it’s not personal? But why when we see pictures on Instagram or Snapchat Stories of a couple of our friends enjoying themselves, do we feel that pang of sadness and FOMO?
Why is it, that when you see your mate’s Snapchat story and they’re all at the park, do you instantly want to be there? Sometimes its even a case of just wanting to be invited, even though you know that you probably won’t even go… but we’ve all been there, right!?
Is it FOMO?
FOMO is the fear of missing out. It is that horrible feeling you get when you have to stay home sick, while your mates all go out and enjoy themselves and all you can do is think about how much fun you’re not having right now.. 😒
Isn’t it amazing how you never really get FOMO when you’re off school sick though…
The odd time when you don’t make it to the party guest list is something we can all deal with and get over but what if you’re being excluded by your ‘friends’ all the time?
Rejection is a normal part of life
Remember that everyone feels left out sometimes. It’s unlikely to be a common thing to happen unless you have fallen out with your friends, or they are socially isolating you. Know that being left out is usually temporary and that you won’t be left out all of the time.
If you want to learn more about rejection, check out this article:
This is a painful thing to have to go through indeed, and can even feel worse than outright bullying. What lots of people don’t realise is that purposely leaving someone out to hurt their feelings is a form of indirect bullying and it’s called social exclusion.
Social exclusion comes in many different forms:
- Being regularly excluded from events/parties/outings
- Getting left out of general conversation. For example, not being listened to or constantly spoken over.
- Being told to go away or being told you’re unwelcome
- The overuse of ‘in’ jokes between friends which purposely makes you feel isolated
Do any of these sound familiar?
It’s a grey area because the truth is, you can’t force someone to like you. If you have conflicting personalities, different opinions, different interests and you just don’t get on, fine – don’t force a friendship just because you’re in the same group of friends or the same year group.
Sometimes it is more than that though, sometimes people go out of their way to make us feel isolated, and that’s just not cool.
So what can I do about it?
If you’re being excluded here are some things you can try.
Talk to your actual friends about it. True friends won’t be influenced by other people’s opinions of you.
Talk to the person who is excluding you and tell them how it makes you feel. In doing so you are addressing the issue head-on and opening up a dialogue. This is all probably sounds pretty daunting but by doing this, you are taking a proactive approach.
Just make sure it’s done right: a good place to start might be asking the person, ‘have I done something to offend you?’. Before you do that, read this guide on speaking to someone.
The best way to deal with social exclusion is to strengthen other relationships. If you have other friends who aren’t as close, try hanging out with them a bit more. Strengthen friendships with people who value you for who you are.
Join a club, take up a team sport or learn an instrument. These things are incredible social activities which will open up many opportunities to meet new people and provide chances to get involved in socials.
Always remember that you don’t deserve to be treated badly by people who are supposed to be your friends!
Check out the articles below for more tips and join our community where there are a whole bunch of like-minded people waiting to chat!
Some important things to always remember:
It’s not always personal
Even though being left out feels incredibly personal, that doesn’t actually mean that it is. There are a whole variety of reasons why you may not have been invited. What’s hard, is that we rarely get to find out why and it’s so easy to believe the worst, even if it is nothing personal! Nevertheless, social exclusion is a form of bullying and is very painful to endure. How we treat other people is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. However shiny and happy they might look on the surface, remember that everything is not always as it seems.
It happens to all of us
Ask anyone over the age of 25 and we bet you they will be able to recall a really painful memory of being left out growing up. It is so easy to imagine you are the only one it has happened to. It won’t feel like this forever and over time you might even be able to look back and laugh at it all.
Part of the devastation that it causes is that it can dislocate us from our sense of belonging. Firstly from each other and then from ourselves. We are social animals that are hardwired to find happiness and comfort in being a part of something. Belonging is often at the core of our happiness which is why being left out hurts so much!
Where our thoughts go, our feelings follow. Being uninvited or excluded can feel like anything from a sting to a direct stab in the heart. As a result, it is incredibly easy to lose perspective and dive head first into a spiral of fear and shame. When this happens it is so important to talk it through with someone you love and try to reframe your thinking. Why has it touched a nerve? Did you even want to be invited? Will this matter in a year? Asking questions like these can help you to process the situation and help you to think clearly.
How can I feel better about it?
The best way to feel better about being left out, is to treat yourself. Do something that makes you happy or something you enjoy doing. This could be working on a project, diving into a hobby, having a long bath or practising self-care.
Looking for more ways to look after yourself? Here’s 25 tips to practice self-care.
- Take our Friendship Quiz!
- How to Deal with Friends Who Are Bullying You
- Are They Really Your Friend? 15 Signs That Suggest They Are Not
- How To Speak To Somebody Who Is Bullying You
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