What to do When Your Friends Leave You Out (A guide)

In this brief guide, we will discuss what to do when your friends leave you out and look at some other problems one may have with friends.

When your friends leave you out

When your friends leave you out of plans or fun activities it may feel really awful because we have a need for belongingness and we define part of our identity by the social group we are a part of. Being rejected by individuals that have been chosen to be our friends based on specific things you may have in common can be very heart wrenching because one may feel like their identity is not enough to sustain friendships.

When your friends leave you out of things you may also feel like it is somehow your fault or that they are trying to be mean on purpose, but before making up your mind about any of these things make sure you consider the alternatives and explore some ways of bringing it up with them, rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself.

Why does it feel so bad when your friends leave you out?

It feels so bad when your friends leave you out because you form these attachments by choice, and so do they, so when you are left out by friends it may feel like they are rejecting you for something you cannot control.

It may have happened to you that your friends were leaving you out when you see a Facebook post with a picture of all of them together having fun when maybe one of them may have told you they were busy or the group did not tell you that they were meeting up.

It may be your close friends at a party, where you were not invited, and none of them told you about it either.

So why does it hurt so much?

Research indicates, that it is so painful when your friends leave you out because we have a desire to belong, which is primal and vital to our survival. A clinical psychologist and yoga teacher Sophie Mort, who holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology says, “Social connection has been integral to the survival of our species.”

In addition, primally speaking being included in a group means a possible sharing of resources and being protected, and when you are left alone it may feel like your people have abandoned you or left you alone to fend for yourself.

We have developed a sensitive alarm system of sorts, that alerts us to any possibility of rejection or exclusion, so we can fix it and ensure our survival, it can be by any means, like by appeasing the rejection or avoiding these situations in the future.

Clinical psychologist Therese Mascardo, another researcher with a doctorate in clinical psychology, says that “Belonging is a core human need. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, belonging is noted as one of the most foundational human needs, after physiological needs like water, air, etc., and the need for safety.”

Being left out by friends and self-worth

Our sense of self-worth tends to develop through our relationships with others.

This concept is a huge part of self-psychology, developed by Heinz Kohut.

Kohut put forth the idea that we form our concept of self or self-worth through mirroring, idealization, and twinship, all of which happen inside a social circle.

When we’re left out, we miss out on these three very important processes, which then interferes with the formation of our self-worth, or causes ruptures in our existing sense of self-worth.

Why do your friends leave you out?

To know why your friends leave you out you need to first figure out whether this is a regular occurrence or has only happened once or twice, because the reasons may differ for both those situations.

If it has happened only a couple of times it may simply be that they were involved in an activity that you might not have been interested in, or they thought you would not be, or there was simply some miscommunication due to which your invite didn’t really reach you.

If your friends have only left you out a couple of times and you can’t figure out why it might have happened, the advice is to ask them. Come forward and let them know that it made you feel bad because as your friends it would be their responsibility to at least hear you out if not agree with you.

Chances are they may tell you that it was simply an oversight or mistake to leave you out and that they will make sure it doesn’t happen again, or they might tell you that there is something about you that is not acceptable to the group, in which case apologize and see if it is something you can fix, or would want to fix.

When your friends leave you out all the time

When your friends leave you out all the time chances are that it is not a mistake and there may be some underlying cause.

If your friends have left you out often lately, one of these may be the reason.

·       Your expectations might be unreasonable. It may be that to your friends it is not a big deal or it might be that you see your social contract differently than they do, which can mean that you feel bad about being left out, but they don’t even know they have left you out.

·       You might be acting clingy. Needing your friends to call you to everything and wanting them around every single time is not normal, and they may not be inviting you because you are acting clingy.

·       You may be working under the assumption that friends always invite you to everything, which is not the case, and may not be the case with this group, you may want to see if the exact same group is present at every single event or if the members change.

·       No one may have been invited, and they worked under the assumption that they would meet there. Maybe this group of people does not really call each other to things, and they expected you to just be there.

·       ​Maybe you expressed a desire to be left alone at some point, or maybe you implied that you have different notions of fun.

·       Maybe you offended someone in the group without knowing it. It might be worthwhile to find out if your friends are upset with you for some reason

·       This one may hurt, but maybe your friends don’t like you very much, especially if it is a new friendship, maybe after getting to know you they feel that you don’t have much in common, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask them and if they agree you can look for someone else that you have more in common with.

When your friends make plans in front of you

When your friends are making plans in front of you and it seems like they might not be inviting you to that particular thing, try to not assume they don’t want you there right away, instead, try to contribute to the conversation so they know you are interested.

If after your contributions they continue to make plans and it seems like they are not inviting you, figure out if it is in your head by asking something along the lines of “so guys are we meeting there or something else, what might be the logistics” or like “Hey so what time will be good for you guys?”

By their reactions to your questions, you will be able to gauge whether they want you there. Sometimes we tend to assume that we are not invited and your friends are making plans in front of you, but look at it from their perspective, you are standing there watching them make plans without contributing or showing any interest, so how are they supposed to know you want to come?

If they express the feeling that they don’t want you to come after your contributions, you can ask one of your close friends later why that might be, and that you would like to join next time as well if that is okay.

You need to remember that sometimes, your friends may think that you already know you are invited, since you are watching them make plans, so clarifying things can save you a lot of feeling bad later.

You can also try to just assume that you are invited as you were there when the plans were made, chances are, either won’t mind, or they might stop making plans in front of you when they don’t mean for you to come along, either way, you will get your answer.

What to do When Your Friends Leave You Out (A guide)

How to ask for reasons why your friends leave you out?

When your friends leave you out the best thing to do is just ask, assuming things is helping no one in the long run, so just coming out and asking for why this is happening can help both your friends and you.

These are some ways you can talk to your friends when they leave you out:

·       “Hey I was wondering if you guys were upset with me for any reason, I got the feeling that I had done something wrong?”

·       “I really enjoy spending time with you guys, can we make plans to hang out sometime soon”

·       “Would you guys like to go for (name any activity) with me?”

·       “I hope you guys feel free to express any problems you might have with me, I wouldn’t mind working on myself if I am not being a good friend”

You can also try making sure that you let your friends know that you value them and enjoy their company because it will make them more likely to invite you to stuff if they feel like you enjoy it and like them for it.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed what to do when your friends leave you out and looked at some other problems one may have with friends. Please reach out with any questions or comments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): When Your Friends Leave You Out

What should you do if your friends leave you out?

When your friends leave you out you need to figure out if it was by mistake or on purpose, and if it was on purpose just ask them directly and politely if they do not want you around and why that is.

You can also try to move in and focus on the people who are worth your time or you can do something that you enjoy doing on your own to take your mind off the sadness of being left out.

If your friends are rude to you when you try to ask them why they left you out or confront them, they are not worth your time. 

What to do when your friends don’t invite you out?

When your friends don’t invite you out you need to focus on yourself, do what you enjoy, re-evaluate the friendship, and see if you have different expectations than they do, and just ask them instead o making assumptions. They are your friends, and they need to be honest with you.

Why do friends keep leaving me?

Your friends might keep leaving you because you tend to be clingy or have too many expectations of another person.

Sometimes in friendship, we tend to forget that the other person might need to put themselves first sometimes, and if they felt like you were not right in their life, it is their right to go away.

The best thing to do is to ask them, assuming things will get you nowhere.

Is feeling left out normal?

Yes, feeling left out is totally normal, because it is the normal, healthy, and adaptive response to the adverse situation of being left out by friends.

Citations

What to do When Your Friends Leave You Out (A guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.