Ever felt like your not a real part of your friendship group? Or feel like your friends are doing things that you don’t feel a part of? Guess what, I have good news. You’re normal, and having these feelings aren’t uncommon.
Feeling excluded can happen for many reasons…
- Something happened on the weekend and you weren’t there. Your friends are talking about it but you feel like you can’t contribute.
- You’re sitting at the end of the table with your friendship group during class and sometimes your friends backs are to you. You can’t hear them all the time and they are having discussions that you’re not a part of.
- You’ve been away sick or have missed some school time. Things have happened while you were gone and you’re feeling out of it.
Can you feel connected to someone all of the time?
Even with all of the technology and social media we have access to, feeling close to someone all of the time is unlikely. I would even go as far as saying it is an unrealistic expectation.
Relationships are like cars. They need to be serviced every now and then.
When you notice you aren’t feeling as close to a friend as you have been or would like to be, recognising that feeling is the first step. The next step is to think about what you can do so you can. For me, this looks like me telling the person how I’m feeling and then invite them to come and do something with me. For example, going to the movies or having lunch together. This is ‘servicing’ the relationship.
I’m going to sneak the word ‘acceptance’ in here again. I’ll explain…
I have two sisters. Sometimes, they do things without me. One might go and visit the other one, or they might have sleep overs or parties where I can’t be there. I can feel left out and excluded, obviously! And seeing snap chats of them having a wonderful time without me is sometimes heart breaking.
But can I expect to be with them all of the time? Can I expect them to not hang out and do things together when I’m not there? Certainly not. This is what I call and unrealistic expectation.
It’s not fair for me to ask them to not be together without me, just like it’s not fair to put myself through those negative and horrible feelings of being left out. Instead, I accept that I can’t be with them all of the time. But what I can do is organise and invite them to do things with me when I can. This way, I have a plan to make myself feel included again which makes me feel good – instead of thinking about those uncomfortable, excluded feelings. I simply change my focus. I simply accept what is.
And if your plan doesn’t work and you still feel disconnected, try again. Or, accept what is, and move on knowing you have tried and feel comfortable feeling you have made an effort.
Sometimes it’s better to move on from a relationship when you accept you are wasting time servicing it.
There may be times when you are doing a lot of friendship servicing and you are not feeling closer or connected to the other person. This is OK. It’s great, actually. It’s a great opportunity to find someone else who will appreciate your friendship.
As the saying goes, ‘invest in people who invest in you.’