Life lessons

On being excluded by friends

There are several things you think happen to you only when you are a kid or a teen. But then, when you do become an adult, you realise that the world isn’t really all that different as it was when you were back in school.

Recently, I have had a fair few clients tell me about feeling lonely, about feeling rejected. I validate. I empathise. But I rarely have all the answers. When a teen tells you their small group of friends invited everyone else but not them to dinner or a party, what else can you do but validate that shitty feeling?

We tend to think that only teenagers behave in a cliquey manner — forming groups, excluding some and including others, being nice to people on one day but ignoring them on others. We put it down to their development; we talk about how teens are egocentric. The reality is, fully functioning adults can behave in this manner too.

It starts slowly, of course. First they have just one thing you are not invited to. Or maybe you were and because of other commitments, you couldn’t make it. Then you find that you suddenly have more alone time on weekends compared to a packed diary. You think nothing of it. After all, it’s not like they have completely ignored you; it’s just that you catch up less frequently. Then you find out that it’s not about catching up less frequently — it’s just that you haven’t been invited most of the time. You find out through social media or through them dropping it in conversations when you do meet up. All you can do is wonder why.

You feel like a teenager again. And you find yourself wondering what the hell happened. This shouldn’t happen to 30-something adults, should it? But it does. It happens exactly like that. People still exclude you; people reject you. Or they contact you when they need something. Adults have their little cliques.

You personalise. A lot. You try and reach the deep recesses of your brain in attempts to figure out what you did. You cannot remember a thing. So then, you try and rationalise — maybe they are behaving like teenagers, maybe they haven’t outgrown the cliquey-ness. That doesn’t work either. You finally pretend that it doesn’t bother you — after all, you are a fully functioning adult and not a teen anymore. But you are only fooling yourself.

It hurts.

While you understand people change and times change, it still doesn’t change the hurt.

So when a teenager cries about feeling lonely and rejected, you can truly empathise with them. You tell them you know it sucks. You bite back the news that it might still happen when they are mature adults. You fight back the tears as their stories hit too close to home.

You help them with their hurt while trying to suppress your own.

Have you ever been ignored or excluded by friends as an adult? 

Do share!

Until next time,

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  • Kaddu
    5 August 2015 at 11:16 pm

    You’re in a tough job! I usually find it so difficult to sort out my own emotions, can’t even begin to imagine doing it for others!
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  • Kaddu
    5 August 2015 at 11:16 pm

    You’re in a tough job! I usually find it so difficult to sort out my own emotions, can’t even begin to imagine doing it for others!
    Kaddu recently posted…Quote Challenge – Day 3 of 3My Profile

  • Obsessivemom
    6 August 2015 at 1:45 am

    That was such a heartbreaking post Sanch. I can only begin to imagine how hard it must be to day after day handle such hurt. It’s sad how hurtful people can be.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Bollywood and kidsMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks Tulika…I’m glad it showed the emotions. I wonder sometimes whether the people who cause the hurt realise the consequences of their actions…

  • Obsessivemom
    6 August 2015 at 1:45 am

    That was such a heartbreaking post Sanch. I can only begin to imagine how hard it must be to day after day handle such hurt. It’s sad how hurtful people can be.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Bollywood and kidsMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks Tulika…I’m glad it showed the emotions. I wonder sometimes whether the people who cause the hurt realise the consequences of their actions…

  • Sid
    6 August 2015 at 2:08 am

    Ah! The ‘ignoring’ – been there as a teen, as an adult, and now as a parent. I guess it’s just a realisation that hits you hard, especially when it comes from people you’d been close to up until the ‘change’ happened. Perhaps, as an adult, we cope slightly easier. As a teenager, the need for validation is perhaps higher. Of course, I’m no expert. Just thinking aloud.
    Sid recently posted…Then, now and …..My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Sucks, doesn’t it? I think we can rationalise more as adults but I think the hurt remains the same.

  • Sid
    6 August 2015 at 2:08 am

    Ah! The ‘ignoring’ – been there as a teen, as an adult, and now as a parent. I guess it’s just a realisation that hits you hard, especially when it comes from people you’d been close to up until the ‘change’ happened. Perhaps, as an adult, we cope slightly easier. As a teenager, the need for validation is perhaps higher. Of course, I’m no expert. Just thinking aloud.
    Sid recently posted…Then, now and …..My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Sucks, doesn’t it? I think we can rationalise more as adults but I think the hurt remains the same.

  • Shilpa Gupte
    6 August 2015 at 4:46 am

    Oh yes, for sure! And, yes, all that analysing, the over thinking, only gives more heartache. We try to move on, immerse ourselves in our lives, but the nagging thought doesn’t leave us in peace for long. What do we do? Letting go, moving on is not as simple as it sounds…is it?
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…A matter of fate.My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Oh don’t get me started on the over analysis! I’m the queen of that. I sometimes wish it was in fact simple to just let go and move on…ah the different facets of life.

  • Shilpa Gupte
    6 August 2015 at 4:46 am

    Oh yes, for sure! And, yes, all that analysing, the over thinking, only gives more heartache. We try to move on, immerse ourselves in our lives, but the nagging thought doesn’t leave us in peace for long. What do we do? Letting go, moving on is not as simple as it sounds…is it?
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…A matter of fate.My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Oh don’t get me started on the over analysis! I’m the queen of that. I sometimes wish it was in fact simple to just let go and move on…ah the different facets of life.

  • Zita
    6 August 2015 at 6:23 am

    Yep I know this feeling all too well! I think it happens more as their life moves forward, they get a boyfriend, married, have kids, and you just get left behind.

    I also recently found my old diaries from high school and had a little moment of realisation that I am mostly still that teenage girl but now stuck in a thirty something body!
    Zita recently posted…Where was I WednesdayMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Y’know the funny thing Zita is that I get to an extent when people grow apart due to life changes like partners and kids. But in this case, funnily enough it’s been me with the partner still wanting to be with friends who are single. Don’t understand it.

      Had to laugh at you still being that teenage girl…your posts don’t sound that way

  • Zita
    6 August 2015 at 6:23 am

    Yep I know this feeling all too well! I think it happens more as their life moves forward, they get a boyfriend, married, have kids, and you just get left behind.

    I also recently found my old diaries from high school and had a little moment of realisation that I am mostly still that teenage girl but now stuck in a thirty something body!
    Zita recently posted…Where was I WednesdayMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:38 pm

      Y’know the funny thing Zita is that I get to an extent when people grow apart due to life changes like partners and kids. But in this case, funnily enough it’s been me with the partner still wanting to be with friends who are single. Don’t understand it.

      Had to laugh at you still being that teenage girl…your posts don’t sound that way

  • Fatima
    6 August 2015 at 8:19 am

    I love reading you sanch especially your sadder stuff I relate to it so much and I was in child proteçtion for 6 years and know what you mean

    That’s over now

    Friends who exclude u Are friends u do not need they will add nothing to yr life. Even when. They r around all they do is make u feel insecure

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Fatima…I wish I could write some more positive stuff though. Just not feeling it a 100% though. I agree that eventually, with experiences like this, they don’t add anything but maybe we’re there to learn something.

  • Fatima
    6 August 2015 at 8:19 am

    I love reading you sanch especially your sadder stuff I relate to it so much and I was in child proteçtion for 6 years and know what you mean

    That’s over now

    Friends who exclude u Are friends u do not need they will add nothing to yr life. Even when. They r around all they do is make u feel insecure

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 August 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Fatima…I wish I could write some more positive stuff though. Just not feeling it a 100% though. I agree that eventually, with experiences like this, they don’t add anything but maybe we’re there to learn something.

  • Inderpreet Kaur
    6 August 2015 at 12:07 pm

    This is so difficult, all of us have felt it….Keep the chin up and keep helping. I don’t think we humans are going to grow up anytime soon.
    Inderpreet Kaur recently posted…#TornadoGiveaway 2 MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN by Sundari VenkatramanMy Profile

  • Inderpreet Kaur
    6 August 2015 at 12:07 pm

    This is so difficult, all of us have felt it….Keep the chin up and keep helping. I don’t think we humans are going to grow up anytime soon.
    Inderpreet Kaur recently posted…#TornadoGiveaway 2 MATCHES MADE IN HEAVEN by Sundari VenkatramanMy Profile

  • Shantala
    6 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Very true. Adults have their cliques too. The intent and the motivation is no different than those of the teenagers. The hurt is the same too. However, I believe, with age, we are more equipped to deal with it.
    Shantala recently posted…A Change of Direction #BlogAnnouncementMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      9 August 2015 at 7:46 am

      I know right? Who would have though? But yeah, maybe we deal with the hurt better and know there are others who care

  • Shantala
    6 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Very true. Adults have their cliques too. The intent and the motivation is no different than those of the teenagers. The hurt is the same too. However, I believe, with age, we are more equipped to deal with it.
    Shantala recently posted…A Change of Direction #BlogAnnouncementMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      9 August 2015 at 7:46 am

      I know right? Who would have though? But yeah, maybe we deal with the hurt better and know there are others who care

  • Rajlakshmi
    6 August 2015 at 3:10 pm

    You are doing a great job. Kids need someone to express and empathize to… the fact that you are lending them an ear is beautiful. I don’t know what to say about adults except to have a thick skin. It hurts no doubt. I never really had a group of friends, once a loner … always a loner 🙂 but I like it that way.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Ghost CrawlMy Profile

  • Rajlakshmi
    6 August 2015 at 3:10 pm

    You are doing a great job. Kids need someone to express and empathize to… the fact that you are lending them an ear is beautiful. I don’t know what to say about adults except to have a thick skin. It hurts no doubt. I never really had a group of friends, once a loner … always a loner 🙂 but I like it that way.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…The Ghost CrawlMy Profile

  • Lizzing Lightly
    6 August 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Yes I can relate but luckily I feel as though through losing friends I have found ones who I truly feel are the “right” ones.. they are awesome, nice and I am sure they will always be there… I hope its the same for everyone who is feeling sad and hurt in the future too
    Lizzing Lightly recently posted…Modern Cloth Nappies – Washing and CareMy Profile

  • Lizzing Lightly
    6 August 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Yes I can relate but luckily I feel as though through losing friends I have found ones who I truly feel are the “right” ones.. they are awesome, nice and I am sure they will always be there… I hope its the same for everyone who is feeling sad and hurt in the future too
    Lizzing Lightly recently posted…Modern Cloth Nappies – Washing and CareMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    6 August 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve seen this happen. But often it’s not meant to be malicious. I’ve realized that people move on and we must learn to let them go! It’s so much harder for children and young adults to process it this way though. Glad you are there for them!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…You FirstMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    6 August 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve seen this happen. But often it’s not meant to be malicious. I’ve realized that people move on and we must learn to let them go! It’s so much harder for children and young adults to process it this way though. Glad you are there for them!
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…You FirstMy Profile

  • nibha
    6 August 2015 at 5:02 pm

    No matter what age we are, changes happen suddenly and when the people change around us, it hurts. And it hurts really bad. 🙁
    nibha recently posted…The Call To Write A New ChapterMy Profile

  • nibha
    6 August 2015 at 5:02 pm

    No matter what age we are, changes happen suddenly and when the people change around us, it hurts. And it hurts really bad. 🙁
    nibha recently posted…The Call To Write A New ChapterMy Profile

  • Shalini
    6 August 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Oh yes, of course! But you somehow just deal with it. Heart-breaking post, Sanch! But what you wrote is the truth.
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  • Shalini
    6 August 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Oh yes, of course! But you somehow just deal with it. Heart-breaking post, Sanch! But what you wrote is the truth.
    Shalini recently posted…Warrior: Book SpotlightMy Profile

  • Varsh
    6 August 2015 at 6:58 pm

    You drove the point home, and I’m sure lot of adults will agree with you on this. Friends are friends, no matter what age, and anything they do deliberately to exclude is indeed hurtful.
    I hope you don’t let the confessions affect you. It can be so emotionally exhausting!

  • Varsh
    6 August 2015 at 6:58 pm

    You drove the point home, and I’m sure lot of adults will agree with you on this. Friends are friends, no matter what age, and anything they do deliberately to exclude is indeed hurtful.
    I hope you don’t let the confessions affect you. It can be so emotionally exhausting!

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts
    7 August 2015 at 10:55 am

    It’s real and it’s life too. Sad but true. It’s hard to watch your children experience this – even harder than feeling it yourself.
    Jody at Six Little Hearts recently posted…ECCO Barra Crossbody Bag Review and Win an ECCO Leather Handbag! #SLHFeaturedThursdaysMy Profile

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts
    7 August 2015 at 10:55 am

    It’s real and it’s life too. Sad but true. It’s hard to watch your children experience this – even harder than feeling it yourself.
    Jody at Six Little Hearts recently posted…ECCO Barra Crossbody Bag Review and Win an ECCO Leather Handbag! #SLHFeaturedThursdaysMy Profile

  • Michelle@myslowlivingadventure
    7 August 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Why can’t people just be kind. Be kind, be kind, be kind. It should be so simple.
    Michelle@myslowlivingadventure recently posted…the healer withinMy Profile

  • Michelle@myslowlivingadventure
    7 August 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Why can’t people just be kind. Be kind, be kind, be kind. It should be so simple.
    Michelle@myslowlivingadventure recently posted…the healer withinMy Profile

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    7 August 2015 at 3:33 pm

    From a different perspective- as an adult,me hat do you do if you don’t want a person in your life? It’s a hard one- people grow apart. Things change. I guess we never learn how to deal with it in non hurtful ways.
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…7 Questions With a SubmissiveMy Profile

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    7 August 2015 at 3:33 pm

    From a different perspective- as an adult,me hat do you do if you don’t want a person in your life? It’s a hard one- people grow apart. Things change. I guess we never learn how to deal with it in non hurtful ways.
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…7 Questions With a SubmissiveMy Profile

  • Bronnie - Maid In Australia
    7 August 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Yes, I’ve been there. It hurts even as an adult. But nothing is worse than watching your own child go through it.
    Bronnie – Maid In Australia recently posted…Mens Rings Online – Product ReviewMy Profile

  • Bronnie - Maid In Australia
    7 August 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Yes, I’ve been there. It hurts even as an adult. But nothing is worse than watching your own child go through it.
    Bronnie – Maid In Australia recently posted…Mens Rings Online – Product ReviewMy Profile

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    7 August 2015 at 9:44 pm

    This has hit a nerve with me – but it’s taken me 2 years to realise to deal with it. We weren’t suited to start with and I didn’t like who I was around them so while the exclusive was gutting – it was also a gift. Thinking of you.
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted…The day wine saved my blog + $248 Giveaway!My Profile

  • Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    7 August 2015 at 9:44 pm

    This has hit a nerve with me – but it’s taken me 2 years to realise to deal with it. We weren’t suited to start with and I didn’t like who I was around them so while the exclusive was gutting – it was also a gift. Thinking of you.
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted…The day wine saved my blog + $248 Giveaway!My Profile

  • Geets
    1 September 2015 at 9:53 pm

    This phenomenon of cliquey-ness is ubiquitous. And it takes so much time to accept the way things function around you. I feel horrible when my friends discuss something without me or may be make fun of me sometime. They don’t mean to be rude, but there’s a reason behind why I feel like this.. will share on my blog sometime..

    Cheers
    Geets recently posted…Reflections- AugustMy Profile

  • Geets
    1 September 2015 at 9:53 pm

    This phenomenon of cliquey-ness is ubiquitous. And it takes so much time to accept the way things function around you. I feel horrible when my friends discuss something without me or may be make fun of me sometime. They don’t mean to be rude, but there’s a reason behind why I feel like this.. will share on my blog sometime..

    Cheers
    Geets recently posted…Reflections- AugustMy Profile

  • Marissa
    11 September 2016 at 3:20 am

    I have literally just been excluded by my “friends” today. I found out through social media that they all took a weekend vacation together to see a concert, wine tasting, etc.. I’m 29 years old and it still hurts as much as it did when I was 17; makes me cry. I feel excluded and completely rejected.

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      11 September 2016 at 3:40 am

      Oh Marissa, I’m so sorry to hear that. It sucks big time! I don’t get why adults do this. You can understand why teens do it but fully functioning adults excluding and being cliquey is beyond me. Big hugs and I wish you all the strength to deal with this. Xx

  • Marissa
    11 September 2016 at 3:20 am

    I have literally just been excluded by my “friends” today. I found out through social media that they all took a weekend vacation together to see a concert, wine tasting, etc.. I’m 29 years old and it still hurts as much as it did when I was 17; makes me cry. I feel excluded and completely rejected.

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      11 September 2016 at 3:40 am

      Oh Marissa, I’m so sorry to hear that. It sucks big time! I don’t get why adults do this. You can understand why teens do it but fully functioning adults excluding and being cliquey is beyond me. Big hugs and I wish you all the strength to deal with this. Xx

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  • Jasmine
    23 August 2017 at 1:27 am

    It is unfortunate that adult cliques especially female cliques do exist, but what can you do? But also I try not to judge on all cliques because some really do mesh well together like two peas in a pod and the exclusion could be unintentional. All you can do is to build confidence in yourself and not everyone is going to like you. Of course, it does not hurt to know what our shortcomings are and to improve ourselves but we cannot please everyone.

    Besides building self-confidence, we also need to be open and approachable when making new friends. If you feel rejected or excluded by a clique, maybe start branching out to find new set of friends that you really mesh better with. Besides it’s a bigger world out there than the high school world. 🙂

    That’s what I had to do when all my close friends have moved away, and I didn’t really “hit it off” with the clique so I went out to find new friends and I made a couple of new friends. As for the “clique”, I just let it be and the best way to deal with it is that you live your life well and stay close with the ones who really care about you.

  • Jasmine
    23 August 2017 at 1:27 am

    It is unfortunate that adult cliques especially female cliques do exist, but what can you do? But also I try not to judge on all cliques because some really do mesh well together like two peas in a pod and the exclusion could be unintentional. All you can do is to build confidence in yourself and not everyone is going to like you. Of course, it does not hurt to know what our shortcomings are and to improve ourselves but we cannot please everyone.

    Besides building self-confidence, we also need to be open and approachable when making new friends. If you feel rejected or excluded by a clique, maybe start branching out to find new set of friends that you really mesh better with. Besides it’s a bigger world out there than the high school world. 🙂

    That’s what I had to do when all my close friends have moved away, and I didn’t really “hit it off” with the clique so I went out to find new friends and I made a couple of new friends. As for the “clique”, I just let it be and the best way to deal with it is that you live your life well and stay close with the ones who really care about you.