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Slowly being excluded from an adult clique: What could have happened?

November 13, 2012 | By | 144 Replies Continue Reading
When something doesn’t make obvious sense, you may have to dig deeper to find out what’s happened.



I am looking for some advice on adult female friendship cliques. I have mixed with a group of 7 or 8 women in my hometown since my oldest child was at kindergarten and she is now nine. I have been closer to some more than others and fluctuations in the intimacy of these friendships have occurred, which is probably normal.

Recently, however, I have felt excluded by multiple members of the group. For example, this is what’s happened:

  • Having to have own room on recent girls weekend; everyone else was paired up
  • Conversations going on around me based on previous chats that I’m not aware of (with no attempt by others to involve me in the discussion)
  • Ignoring me when I try to initiate discussions
  • Waking up on a girls’ weekend to a friend knocking on my door telling me the others were all were ready to go for walk (while only inviting me at the last minute.) The other six women were all outside waiting.
  • Sitting at dinner feeling distanced by people’s body language and verbal communication. For 45 minutes, I watched the clock as conversation flowed around me without anyone asking me a question.
  • Awkward seating arrangement when we’re out together. I sit down first and the other six arrange themselves to my left so no one sits directly opposite me.

I could go on. As a result I have been incredibly quiet which has then attracted mild interest about what’s wrong but with little follow up. The closest friend has even sent regular texts, one stating she wanted to talk because she was concerned about what was going on with me. One week later there were invitations to group activities but no 1:1. Since I told her I felt excluded and on the fringe, she has acted as if I haven’t said that and keeps saying she doesn’t want to converse through text. But she hasn’t suggested a time to chat (she was the initiator about needing to talk)—which I find odd.

I’m not sure whether to distance myself or confront. Other friends have been cold since the weekend away. I feel strong alliances and cliques have developed and I don’t have a position anymore. In fact I feel I am at the bottom of the hierarchy.

Any advice? I’m 38.



Hi Sharon,

It’s hard to know what’s going on. It could be that your group of friends is less welcoming and pulling away from you (although the reasons why aren’t obvious); it could also be that you are pulling away from the group (because you feel rejected); or it could be some combination of the two—which is probably the most likely scenario.

When a group of women have been friends for four or five years, it’s natural that the relationships between individuals and among the group would change over time. But like you, I’m not sure why they would suddenly cast one person in the role of an outsider unless something happened of which you are unaware.

Since your value these relationships and your participation in the group, I think you want to get a better notion of what has happened. Distancing yourself would only exacerbate the problem; confronting the group might give the impression that you feel wronged and put them on the defensive.

Your initial impulse to speak to one person was correct but don’t let the situation drag on any longer. Follow up with your closest friend. Invite her to join you for coffee or tea and tell her how awkward and uncomfortable you have been feeling with the group. Maybe there is something she wants to communicate that she hasn’t felt comfortable putting in writing. A text message might be misunderstood or forwarded to other people.

If this friend isn’t willing to meet, try to see if there is another person to whom you feel comfortable speaking. Is there any possibility that this schism could have to do with the kids rather than the adults? Understandably, at this point, you seem very hurt, sensitive and hypervigilant to slights, so try to give your friends the benefit of the doubt that this can be worked out.

Stay in touch and let us know what transpires.

Best, Irene

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Category: Dealing with threesomes and groups of friends

Comments (144)

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  1. Tina says:

    Same thing has happened to me, I work full time with 2children. One of my daughter’s friends of approximately 4 years has kept me a “friend” on FB, but has blocked me from seeing her tags and posts. Ashamed to say I’ve lost sleep trying to understand why?

    She’s successful, attractive and I actually like her, so I’m confused? Should I let it go or confront her? :(

    • jo says:

      Don’t lose sleep. She my have blocked you from seeing her stuff because you are her friend’s mother. She may not want to offend you or she does not want you to see her party pictures, etc.

      I have several different lists on FB. If I am posting political stuff only friends who share my politics get to see those posts, etc. everyone else is blocked. I am very particular about who gets to see my stuff and I have often unfriended people if they comment on my posts in ways I do not like.

      Of course if it really bugs you, unfriend her and move on. Why allow her to have control over your life.

  2. Claire says:

    The same thing just happened to me. With my antenatal group. Everyone (9 of us ) used to meet at each other’s houses. As some went back to work the group changed. Then when 2nd kids came along the group re formed. We kept in touch on FB but things have gone weird. One decided to question my integrity over an issue that was 100% NOT my fault. I defended myself and it all turned ugly. She defriended me. Didn’t care. Now months later for no reason at all after normal FB communication another one from our group in her late 30’s has defriended me. Do I care – NO. There are lots of nice women out there and you don’t deserve to be treated badly. This was my first time in a group of girls and I hated it. Give me a few great girlfriends who don’t hang out in a group and I’m far happier. Life is too short to be excluded and ostracised. Find people who treat you as you deserve to be treated

  3. Teresa says:

    Is this still going on?
    It my be envy, it may be contempt… The best thing is always to find other people and be “independent” of them.

  4. Joan Durtz says:

    Ditch them. They’re a bunch of insecure, troubled clowns. They’re all probably unhappily married, freaked out about aging, and self absorbed. Why bother with them? Especially if they don’t make you feel good about yourself. You’re too old to go back to high school.

  5. nancy says:

    i started working in a new company after graduating, i met a girl(A) who introduced me to another girl(B). I was really close to girl A and was on friendly terms with girl B. After a year i introduced two new girls (C and D) to the other girls hoping to form a group of friends since i never had a group of friends just friends that weren’t friends with each other.Anyways after a year I moved to another company but I still made the effort to talk to them everyday just so I know what is going on with them, made an effort to come to everyone’s birthdays and events. Starting this year girl A has been attacking me every few months for not coming to couple get togethers even though she knew about my hectic schedule, then told me that she felt ignored when i sat next to girl D at our table. Just little things then she didnt want one of my other friends to stop joining our get togethers because she didnt want to have outsiders in our group even though that friend had joined us a couple times and was constant in touch with girl A because girl A wanted her to introduce her to some guy. all these four girls are living by themselves and have dont have much to do after work so I realize that they have gotten more closer. I ended up in an argument with girl A, then the girl B and C decided to back her up and started attacking me,we were supposed to go to an event together so we ended up going separately. By unfortunate fate I happened to be standing right behind them in a line and they started making faces at me to show that what was i doing here, girl a even pretended to get a phone call.Feeling uncomfortable i tried to make a small conversation with them but that didnt work. After we went our separate ways I texted them saying thanks for ignoring me, you seriously made my day. then the next day girl a and b text me saying happy birthday and then girl b decides to tell me that she no longer wants to be my friend because she found my ignoring text insulting. I feel awful that I even introduced these girls to each other, I feel like I shouldnt have introduced my friends. because of one person i will be losing 3 of my friends because they feel girl A is more precious to them than me.

    • Katie says:

      There is some comfort in knowing that others have issues like me. I have been excluded from a group also and it is a huge blow to my self confidence. The worst of it is that the mature aged mothers that decided they dislike me have been excluding my daughter from sporting groups that she has previously been a part of. She is good at sport and I think their may be some jealousy involved but mostly it is just to get back at me. We are quiet people and my daughter is very shy. Her sport is how she makes friends and it breaks my heart that adults can be so vindictive towards a child.

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