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The whole purpose of having friends is to connect to someone with whom you share a common interest. Whether it is a shared love for the same things, or hate for similar agendas, it is always unique and a breath of fresh air to bond with someone and call them friend.
Friends share secrets and know things about you that no one knows. Unlike family members or siblings, friends are the people we choose to be a part of our lives. Often, we are closer to them than our relatives.
So when we go out on the town, try a new restaurant, do a new workout, or shoot a TikTok video… our good friends are usually a part of the festivities. We enjoy being in their company and feel a deep connection with them as the years go by.
What's even better is when you and your friends enjoy the same activities as a group. Then, of course, each of you will call to ensure everyone is on board with the group's latest venture.
But what do you do when you realize that you are the friend that gets left out when your buddies get together?
The Pain of Being Left Out
When you are the friend that gets left out, it's disheartening. You see your friends enjoying shopping trips, vacations, ball games, and other events you usually frequented together. But this time, you didn't get an invitation to join in.
As you ask your friends why you were not invited, the answer sends up flares. You sense something wrong in their response. They act like it was no big deal and that you could join them next time, but their nonchalance seems a bit shady, and you get the impression that your friends really didn't want you to go.
So, you begin to question yourself, “What did I say or do that my friends would get together and not include me?” After all, they knew your favorite team was playing, they knew you wanted to see that movie at the theaters, or everyone knew the singer at the concert was someone you were wild about.
But, unfortunately, you were left out. Instead, you had a dull evening at home, watching reruns while your friends were out, having the time of their lives. It's heartbreaking that your friends were okay with going without you.
And to add salt to the wound, they even posted pictures on social media of the outfits they wore, people they met, and drinks they enjoyed… all while you were sitting around self-loathing, feeling bad about yourself.
Your friends may exhibit questionable behavior, or try and divert the conversation, when you trying to make plans with them. If so, it may be a sign that they are getting together, and you're being left out.
Here are a few more signs and red flags to tell if your friends are leaving you out of their plans.
These signs could be subtle if your friends are trying to leave you out without hurting your feelings. However, it would be less painful if they were upfront and honest with you when asked, “Why am I the friend that gets left out?”
So, let’s look at ways to deal with being left out.
I'm the Friend that Gets Left Out: 9 Ways to Cope with It
Coping Tip #1. Take a break from social media.
Your friends are posting photos of themselves having a great time while you are at home with nothing to do. Find an activity to engage in rather than surfing social media.
Seeing others having a good time can weigh heavily on you and cause you to envy them. So, find something to do that brings you fulfillment; no one has time to wallow in a state of jealousy.
Coping Tip #2. Communicate your feelings to your friends.
Don't keep your feelings about being left out to yourself. Tell your friends how you feel about their actions. Of course, it is helpful to do so in a non-confrontational (in your face) kind of way.
This is a productive way to address the situation and keep you from sitting at home wondering why you were not included. If your friends are unwilling to be open about why you were not invited, that may be a sign that your friendship is on the rocks.
Coping Tip #3. Invite others who are interested in you to do things instead.
So, your friends didn't invite you out. Hang out with your family, co-workers, and neighbors instead. You may already have some common ground with your neighbors and co-workers to hang out and have a good time.
Additionally, spending time with your family is something many of us don't do enough of. It could be that you have such a great time that you forget about the friends that left you behind.
Coping Tip #4. Go out and have a good time by yourself.
Some call it dating yourself. I say, go out and do things you enjoy, even if you have to do them alone. It is very fulfilling. You won't have to get into long discussions about where to eat, what to do, etc. You run the show. What you say goes.
So, go out to the restaurant you have always wanted to try. Go watch the movie you've been dying to see, take a stroll along the waterfront, or listen to that jazz band you've heard so much about. Start a new hobby or go work out. Just remember, this night is about you.
Coping Tip #5. Don’t assume the worst, but give your friends the benefit of the doubt.
One of the worst things we can do in any situation is to assume the worst. Your friends may have a good reason for not inviting you out. For instance, you are a vegetarian but see on social media that your friends visited a steak house.
Your friends went on a weekend trip, but you had to work that weekend. It could be possible that your friends when out with another friend that you don't particularly get along with or care to be around.
There is always a reason for being left out, but you may find that your friends were being thoughtful by excluding you from their evening plans. It helps to have the proper perspective before making assumptions.
Coping Tip #6. Follow up with your friends to ensure you appropriately communicated your availability.
So, you and your friends discussed going out together, yet they left you out. You should follow up to ensure they knew you wanted to go and were available to participate. People who know you are easy to assume things about you.
They feel they know your schedule, likes, dislikes, and whether you want to be involved in certain activities. However, it is vital to get in touch with them to avoid the possibility of being left out again.
Coping Tip #7. Make new friends.
If your friends constantly leave you out of the picture when going out, it may be time to make new friends. You and your current buddies may have grown apart and no longer have similar interests.
Your taste in entertainment may have become more sophisticated over the years, while your friends enjoy the same things they did a decade ago.
For example, Derek got a job in college working as an usher at an opera house. Over time, he grew to appreciate and enjoy listening to opera music. However, his friends wouldn't set foot in a place like that. As a result, Derek found new friends who loved the opera and loved going with him to enjoy shows.
By being open to meeting new people and making new friends, you are inviting in a new world of possibilities. Moreover, you would connect with someone who fits the current “you,” not someone who has grown accustomed to the old you.
Coping Tip #8. Take a look in the mirror.
When friends start to do things without you, it may be time to look at the man or woman in the mirror. There may be something about you, or something you did, that caused them to have you sit this one out.
For example, your friends may want to invite you out to eat, but you are rude to the restaurant wait staff. Perhaps, your friends may desire to go to a theater to watch a new film but feel they can't take you because you talk loudly throughout the movie when you go, and they cannot enjoy it.
It is a possibility that when you look in the mirror or examine your actions, you realize that you've been overly critical of others. This may rub some of your friends the wrong way. Overall, it could be negative behavior on your part that has pushed your friends away.
Coping Tip #9. Remember, it’s not always personal.
Don't take it personally if you know you have been a good, solid friend and your friends neglect to invite you out with them. It can be lonely when your friends leave you out, but it’s not the end of the world. When taken personally, it can lead to nasty text messages, social media posts to vent your frustrations, and feelings of depression.
We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and become jealous of anyone having a good time. More than likely, it's not your fault that your friends fail to include you in their plans. It's their loss. Remember, your self-worth is not wrapped up in what others think about you.
Final Thoughts on My Friends Leave Me Out: 9 Ways to Cope with It
Sometimes being excluded from your friends’ plans happens by mistake. They thought you were preoccupied with work, unable to find childcare, or weren't feeling well. It's natural to feel sad or frustrated when left out.
You may feel rejected by the people we thought valued us the most. But your approach to the situation makes all the difference in the world.
The important thing to remember when it happens is to not to question yourself… but the possible reasons. This doesn't have to ruin your day or weekend, or tear apart your friendships. On the contrary, it could be a blessing in disguise when you have been overlooked by your friends.
It is easy to become dependent on others for your own happiness. Yet, doing so can be damaging in the long run. We should not allow our level of happiness to be dictated by the willingness of others to include us.
Instead, think of this as the perfect time to practice self-care, finish household projects, get some rest or meet someone new. There are many ways to cope when your friends leave you out of their plans. It doesn’t have to be as lonely as you think.
And if you're looking for more resources on friendships, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 9 Steps to Write an Apology Letter to Your Friend with an Example
- 25 Qualities of a Good Friend You Should Look For
- 13 Warning Signs You Have a Codependent Friendship