What To Do If You're the Excluded Friend

It’s that problem that we all know too well. You introduced your friend to a friend of yours and the two of them hit it off and left you in the proverbial dust.

It all starts when you introduce your friends to each other just to be courteous. If you are friends with them, then why can’t you all hang out and be cool with each other? All is going great. You guys are hanging out and everyone is getting along, but then you start to notice a shift, a change. You start to notice that the friends that you have brought together are suddenly starting to talk more than before. You ignore it at first and think it’s nothing major.

One day, you talk to one of the friends on the phone, and you want to tell them about something that the other friend told you, but it turns out that they already know. Then one night you invite your friends over for dinner at your house, but it turns out that they already had dinner plans. It just so happens that they forgot to tell you. They already picked up dinner from your favorite Chinese restaurant and are taking it back to your one friend’s house where they are going to hang out for the rest of the night.

 

Your friends start hanging out more and more, call each other all the time and leave you out of the information loop. What happened? Why did this shift occur?  You were the glue that brought this group together, and yet, you’re the one that is being left out.

You are left feeling frustrated, confused, angry and lost. What do you even do? Do you approach them about the issue? Ignore it? Maybe it’s just a phase?

 

Before you do anything, take time to evaluate the situation. Do not instantly jump into thinking that your friends are deliberately being mean and purposefully trying to leave you out. For all you know, they might have thought that you’ve been really busy lately and didn’t want to disturb you. It is important to look at the situation from an objective standpoint and assess where and why things could have possibly gone wrong. Did you perhaps say anything to make them upset? Had you been more distant lately? Do these friends have common issues that they are currently dealing with? Either way, try to see what the cause is.

Now that you have evaluated the situation, there are two different ways in which you can approach this situation:

You can take the assertive approach in which you face the person, share your feelings and let them know their ignoring you is affecting you. Or you can take the passive approach where you just decide to ignore their actions.

 

For the first assertive approach, this is where you would contact your friends and tell them that you would like to talk with them. You can either talk to both of them simultaneously or you can even ask to meet with one of them (possibly the one you feel more comfortable talking to). Let your friends know exactly how you feel and the actions that made you feel that way. Remember to not come off too strong or be overly aggressive because that will get you nowhere. Let them know that you value their friendship and that you would like to try to get it back to what it once was. The next step is to listen to what they have to say. They may be surprised to hear that you feel left out and they may give you reasons as to why they have not included you. Use this as an opportunity to set straight any assumptions they may hold that caused them to have unknowingly left you out. This is the time to be honest with one another and clear the air.

From this point, things can go one of two ways: either it goes well or it doesn’t. If it goes well, great! Next step is to be proactive and to meet your friends halfway. Suggest ideas of things to do together on the weekends or suggest a time in which you guys can hang out. When you initiate the activities with friends, this provides a great opportunity to get rid of any negative agenda that may have been occurring. Hopefully this will lead you guys back to the good ole times. If your friends aren’t really taking to your suggestions and aren’t changing, perhaps it’s time to heed the message: move on.

 

For the passive approach, you ignore your friends’ actions. Maybe you take it as a passing phase since relationships in groups tend to shift every once in a while. If things, however, don’t get better over time, it might be time to back away. Remember some friendships aren’t meant to last forever. You can always leave the door open to the friendship and just have more of a casual friendship.

The most important thing to remember is that true friends will respect you and treat you well. And you deserve that. So you can either try to mend the relationship or simply let it go. Just know that you have to do what’s best for you.