To wonder why I always end up being excluded/left out?

(31 Posts)
Rhine Fri 02-May-14 09:43:33

This has been going on since my early teens when I was in high school. Whenever there is a party or some kind of meet up I usually end up being left out and not being asked along and it's really hurtful. I'm always polite and smile at people, I make efforts to chat with them but I still end up getting sidelined.

I know that I can't expect to be included in everything and that's fine, but when your one of only about two or three people, or worse the only person in a large group not invited it's horrible. You end up out of the loop and uninvolved when everyone chats about it afterwards.

I'm trying hard to widen my social circle. I suffered social anxiety for many years, I has counselling for it and I thought that I was over it but then stuff like this happens and I end up back at square one. My counsellor told me that it's perfectly fine to ask if you can go along to something, but I don't feel confident enough to do that.

I don't want to say too much in case it outs me, but it makes me wonder why I even bother trying with people? Maybe I was just meant to be a loaner?

Appletini Fri 02-May-14 09:48:43

Do you invite the others out? I ask because I used to feel the same and I realised part of the problem was that I just kind of assumed other people were in charge.

If you don't invite them out and wait for them to make arrangements, maybe it doesn't feel that reciprocal on either side?

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 09:50:19

That's an interesting point Appletini. I don't, but the reason I don't is because I'm scared people will say no.

LokiTheCynicalCat Fri 02-May-14 10:03:26

I was like that in school etc, and afterward in college only had small groups of close friends, like 2 or 3. But now I find especially since having kids that I invite people over to mine all the time because I can't go out.

Here's a checklist:
Do you create events to go out and do things, even if it's just a trip to an adventure playground with other mums?
Do you invite people over for coffee/drinks/dinner/Eurovision-watching, and tell them to bring their friends?
Do you say "Ooh, that sounds like a lot of fun. Give me a heads up next time, I'd really love to do X too if there's room for one more"?
Do you accept offers even if you think they are only made out of politeness or because you happen to be standing there at the time?

Because I do, especially the last one. I don't try too hard not to be rude or intrusive, because although I can be quite introverted I don't turn anything down. People might invite you to things as an afterthought, but when they do, they're not secretly hoping you will say no. If I didn't do all of the above, I'd have been completely cut off when I had my son.

One of my now best friends was a friend of a friend of a friend I met randomly (at a birthday party I wasn't even supposed to be invited to but we bumped into the birthday girl FOAF the week before and when she made an offhand offer I jumped on it) and when I met this other lady and heard she had a baby I impulsively said "Oh, I'm having some NCT friends over for coffee and cake during the week, do you want to come along?"

CoffeeTea103 Fri 02-May-14 10:10:01

Loki has given some good suggestions. I have a friend like you op, and I can see it from both sides. He has a bit of social anxiety and because off this he gives off, not intentionally, but a very "keep your distance" kind of air about him. I can see why people tend to not include him and maybe you as well.
The only way is to just take a leap and put yourself out there. Be a friend to make a friend.

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 10:11:41

The last point on your checklist is interesting Loki. Quite recently another person and myself were invited to the pub by a group of people, which I presumed was out of politeness because we just happened to be stood with them. We both accepted the offer, agreed to meet up later but then received texts from one of the group saying that it was cancelled and we'd have to do it again. The next day pictures appeared on Facebook of the group together at one of their homes having a right good old time...

I thought it was quite obvious that they'd not wanted us to go along, had only offered out of politeness and then decided to go to one of their homes so that we didn't have to be included.

MrsGoslingWannabe Fri 02-May-14 10:17:32

That's pretty nasty of them Rhine. I can understand if you took that personally - so would I.

I also don't get invited to much. Its weird cos the school mums prob think my real friends are the couple of old school friends I see and they prob think I have other newer friends who I see more etc but the truth I don't have any properly close friends which know me! Nobody knows me, they all just know little bits. Its quite lonely.

leedsgirl231 Fri 02-May-14 11:22:32

I don't get invited out, or invite people out. I'm way too scared of making a fool of myself in that same situation Rhine
I only see my best friend and DP, or i'm at home with DM. I panic too much :/

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 11:38:56

I'm glad it's not just me who thought it was nasty MrsGosling. I was wondering if maybe I was being a little bit oversensitive, but obviously not. You could argue that they have no obligation to include other people and I don't think there was any intention on their part to hurt feelings, however by plastering it all over Facebook they rubbed our noses in it a bit I think.

DizzyKipper Fri 02-May-14 13:04:33

I'm quite similar, though in my case I'm pretty certain I unintentionally give off a 'stay away from me' vibe. I find I also only tend to "click" with a very select few, the rest I just make polite small talk with but get no real connection or enjoyment from it. Loki's suggestions are good.

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 14:15:24

I don't click with people often either Dizzy. In fact it's only ever happened a few times. I don't know about giving off vibes, maybe I do and don't even realise it? Maybe the key is to ask someone who knows me well for an honest take on how I come across to others?

Appletini Fri 02-May-14 14:42:17

But why would they be less afraid of inviting you out? OP I know it's hard but you're also excluding yourself by putting all the onus on others.

I used to feel very similar and what worked, ultimately, was being the friend I wanted to be. Finding people I liked, only worrying about whether I liked them and leaving them to worry how they felt about me, initiating arrangements. You kind of have to make the changes yourself even though it seems to be coming from others.

LaQueenOfTheMay Fri 02-May-14 15:08:25

Your social life is much the same as any endeavour...the more effort you put into it, the better it is.

Basically, what you put into something, is what you get out of it.

Standing by and just smiling and nodding pleasantly is a start but it's really, really just not enough.

I don't mean to offend but I think you're suffering from a bit of social laziness. You are making the assumption that it's enough for you to hover around the periphery of the group in order for you to somehow magically belong - basically you are expecting to be included almost by osmosis.

I'm afraid life isn't usually that easy - and, realistically you need to offer a lot more than that. Take a look at what exactly you are bringing to the party (so to speak).

If you want to make you social life happen and evolve, then the only person who can make that happen is you. This is absolutely no one else's problem, it is purely yours and you need to take responsibility for it.

You need to roll your sleeves up, and start taking a real interest. Don't just nod and smile, ask questions. Venture an opinion...issue invites of your own.

If you issue 5 invites, and 4 of them blow you out - you still have one potential new friend to meet for coffee/lunch...and that's one more than you would have had, had you done nothing.

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 16:18:39

Would it be rude to ask to tag along somewhere? I've always been brought up to believe its rude to go somewhere unless your invited, but my counsellor told me it's OK to ask if it's OK to go along to something that you like the sound of.

knickernicker Fri 02-May-14 16:26:48

As I've got older I've realised the obvious that the more you out in the more you get out.
I have had a recent crisis of confidence tho. Dd who's 8 started a new school in September. I had hoped to get to know some mums there. DD is quiet and not made strong bonds with any girls yet. I've found that mums have had no interest in getting to know me when they've realised that DD is not a potential playmate for their child. They smile but they really don't want to take anything further. I do continue to see mums from her old school tho.

beershuffle Fri 02-May-14 16:32:35

To be blunt, if its been that for a long time and its always the same pattern, it must ge your behaviour in some way. Do you always take things personally? In your example you presume the get together was moved to someones house specifically to exclude you. This seems unlikely, logically. More likely is that the change was totally unrelated to you, and that while you might invite people you really dont know to the pub, you are much less likely to invite them to your home. But if you assume nastiness and slights,perhaps you are giving off a vibe that says sensitive and kind of hard work?
I used to be a lot more socially anxious, and I think I gave off a similar vibe. I made a concious decision to a) stop taking everything so personally (its self absorbed, for one thing, and such people are dull) and b) cultivate a more positive attitude. Its not easy, but it vastly improves social interaction.

Im really not trying to be mean here, I figure youre asking here anonymously so that people will be honest, and there are things you can do to help.

raspberryripple43 Fri 02-May-14 16:51:10

Just want to reiterate what a lot of other people have said on here. I think we get so used to our 'story' that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy - whether it's that we're the one who gets left out, or whatever.

It's like when you think about green cars - well, you'll keep spotting IYSWIM.

Having said that, I also think when people are socially desperate, people sense it and run away - they are worried they are going top be pulled into a chasm.

The answer? Start spotting the good stuff. Write it down daily, however minor. Someone smiled at you in a shop? Great. You shared a laugh with someone at the school gates? jot it down. You've worked out by now no-one will rescue you. So rescue yourself.

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 16:57:25

I do take things personally beeshuffle I try not to obviously, maybe I need to develop a thicker skin and not feel so slighted over silly things?

raspberry I think you are right, maybe I need to look for positive things instead of constantly fixating on the negative. I have always assumed that I'll always be the one left out.

raspberryripple43 Fri 02-May-14 17:04:20

Great Rhine. I think if you start giving yourself alternative explanations for perceived snubs, it's easier.

I used to be like you. I have taught myself not to be.

whois Fri 02-May-14 17:10:29

Agree about getting out what you out in. It's hard work developing good friends and takes a few brave steps in mKing the first move.

There is a girl in our extended circle who has started to be 'left out' as she sees it. But the reality is she just doesn't register. She smiles, nods along, comes to event religiously when invited but, well, tbh, she isn't exactly super engaging. I'd rather spend time with my closer friends when I do small group things like dinner at my house. I find it really rude that she gets upset about not being invited to my house for dinner (total invite 3 people and she's never invited me to hers!) or to a play (only me and my best friend went!) or to Sunday lunch (a girl who doesn't even know this one organised it!).

She NEVER invites me anywhere, or initiates things. She never finds a good deal on at a restaurant and says 'hey, anyone want to go here' or anything.

I'm busy, it's hard to maintain meaningful relationships and find enough time for my existing friends. I don't want to spend the effort on this girl when I get nothing back.

She isn't horrible, she's just a bit boring and lacks the confidence to invite people out.

Also, there is probably an inbuilt human thing where people give off a bit of a social awkward and being kinda clingy vibe which makes others run a mile.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 02-May-14 17:11:34

I think beefshuffle has broken it down quite well. You really may be unaware of what you give off. Unfortunately life is such that if you do not put yourself out there, or don't make an effort then you will be left behind. Nobody really has the time to drag out a friendship from anyone. Brutal but true.

PrincessBabyCat Fri 02-May-14 17:23:20

Would it be rude to ask to tag along somewhere? I've always been brought up to believe its rude to go somewhere unless your invited, but my counselor told me it's OK to ask if it's OK to go along to something that you like the sound of.

Kind of tricky on that one. It depends on the situation. If it's casual planning for something low key like lunch or something and you're there while they're planning it, yeah jump in and go "Ooh, that sounds fun! Can I come?". But if they're talking about their plans for the weekend and meeting up with a group of friends (and plans seem to have been already made), it might be kinda awkward to jump in. It also depends on the person asking

How well do you get along with these people that aren't inviting you? Weird question I know. But if you're friendly with everyone and get along with everyone but don't really hang out outside of certain situations, it's fine to jump in. But if you're outcast or a casual acquaintance they don't know so well, it might be awkward too. Uhm.. know your audience I guess?

Anyway, I just go to like work out clubs or something with common interests if I'm feeling up for socializing. It's ok to have situational friends. You don't have to be BFF's with everyone. Personally, I'm one of those people that's friendly with everyone and we get along great at work/activity but we just never take it further than meeting during that situation.

If you're feeling nervous, you could test the waters with "Hey, we should all see a movie sometime" see how enthusiastically they respond. Take it from there.

Thetallesttower Fri 02-May-14 17:35:56

I think trying to ingratiate yourself with an existing group is asking for friendship trouble. I wouldn't just invite myself along unless it was a new big group and anyone could turn up. Most people already have their social circle though and don't just want someone they don't know well or who won't ask them back tagging along.

I think you are looking in the wrong places- the two things I would try are a) hobbies or activities or clubs or playgroups where you can go along and do the activity and chat to people and see if social friendships form, but that's not the main event. It's lots of fun to be in a group like this and they tend to be much more open than a closed friendship circle and b) see if you can make and maintain one-on-one friends, it's much better to have one good friend who you have a coffee with every couple of weeks than keep asking to tag along with existing circles.

It is not just you- I don't fit in every single group or circle I encounter but the difference is I don't expect to- why would a group of mums that are friends suddenly see me hanging about and ask me along? On the odd occasions this has happened, I've been left out of the next time anyway- but I don't mind at all, as I have lots of nice friends and I don't really see why they should extend the hand of friendship if they don't really want to include more people. I can't 'fit' everywhere I go- so I tend to make friends with people I really like, might be just one mum who seems a bit isolated but ends up having a really interesting life, they are much more likely to be pleased to make a new friend than an established group. I have made a good collection of interesting friends this way.

Ignore Facebook if you have social anxiety, for your own sanity!

Rhine Fri 02-May-14 17:53:45

Facebook causes so many problems doesn't it? If it didn't exist then we'd probably never have know that the group had done something without us and we'd be none the wiser now.

The people I'm talking about do a particular activity with me. It's a very large group to be fair, and you can't get on with or include everyone in your plans. They have regular socials which I always try and go to them if I can, I thought I was friendly with some of them and they do always chat to me. About five or six of them seem to have formed a core group (don't want to say a clique) and they obviously socialise together away from the rest of us, which is fine, but they have in jokes and talk about stuff they do together and I always feel out of it. It was this group that invited me and another person to the pub with them and then backed out.

I joined the group with the intention of meeting new people and getting out a bit more which is why I feel a bit upset by it all.

MexicanSpringtime Fri 02-May-14 17:59:21

Mmm, I have always had social anxiety too. Lots of good advice here that I am reading and taking note of.

The only thing I want to add is try to let people see you who you are. One feels that if they don't like me, I should try to be someone else, but remember you are a unique person and it is your uniqueness that is interesting, not how good your manners are or how much you resemble someone else.

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