Feeling Left Out of the Crowd? What to Do When Friends Exclude You

When your friends have purposely excluded you, it may mean something is up, or not! But here's how to differentiate a problem in your friendship versus reasonable behavior.

Examine Your Expectations

friends in kitchen
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Before you decide that your friends are purposely excluding you in their plans, take a step back and see if your expectations are reasonable. People don't always get invited to certain events every single time, and when they don't it certainly isn't anything personal. Your friends may have felt that you were too busy or wouldn't enjoy the activity.

If you constantly feel as if you need more time with your pals, ask yourself if you are acting clingy. Clingy behavior includes:

  • Expecting that when you become friends with someone, they invite you to everything.​
  • Becoming angry when a friend talks about another pal or acquaintance.​
  • Assuming that when you meet someone new he or she is instantly your best friend.

Here's how to take a look at your friendship expectations.

Times When Friends May Leave You Out

Girlfriends taking a snapshot. Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are certain instances when friends may leave you out of their plans. These include:

  • When two of your good friends get together. It is not uncommon for a third friend to be excluded.​
  • When friends take part in a "tradition," or an event or activity that certain people in a group are used to doing together.​
  • When you have said no in the past. (Friends may assume you don't enjoy certain activities or are too busy.)​
  • When you have had a rift with someone. If the other friend isn't comfortable seeing you, you may be excluded from a group activity.

What Exclusion Means in a Friendship

friends side hug
Friends giving a side hug. Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friends may also exclude you when they have an issue with you of some sort. Some people are not good at expressing their feelings and behave in a childish manner rather than dealing with a situation directly. If this is the case, you can try discussing it with your friend. If your pal denies there is a problem or refuses to work it out, you may need to accept that they have moved on from you.

Other times, exclusion occurs when the dynamics of a group change, such as when new members come on board. Again, you can talk about it with your friends but they may be too embarrassed or ignorant of their behavior to make a change.

How to Handle Exclusion From Friends

Do some soul searching before leaving a friendship when you get excluded. Image courtesy of photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you're feeling left out, the obvious answer is to talk it out with your friends. But be cautious. Before you bring it up, make sure you haven't assumed too much about the relationship. Perhaps you thought you were good friends when in fact you haven't known each other that long. Try continually meeting new friends so that you have different people in your life.

If, however, you are being excluded from good friends, this is a clear message that there is a problem with the friendship. Try discussing it with your friends. If they do not acknowledge your feelings, accept the fact that your friendship may have run its course. Saying goodbye to friends is never easy, but you deserve respect and to be treated well.