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

November 13, 2012 | By | 121 Replies Continue Reading
When something doesn’t make obvious sense, you may have to dig deeper to find out what’s happened.

QUESTION

Hello,

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.

Signed,
Sharon

ANSWER

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 (121)

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  1. Ashira says:

    I am not sure how to feel about this topic. On one hand I am happy that I am not alone in this situation, I guess there is strength in numbers. On the other hand I feel incredibly discourage that this situation will change among women, neighbors, etc. It is even scarier for me because I have children. As much as I wish I can protect them from situations likes these, I know that I can’t and that being excluded from the neighborhood groups are hurting my two kids, which isn’t fair to them.

    I feel like moving is the only way to solve this problem. After all, why would anyone want to remain in a place that they are not welcomed in. Since moving in to this Kansas City neighborhood the following as happened:
    1. I’ve invited neighbors over for a Passover meal. During the religious portion, many of them decided to hold their own conversations and ignored my husband and I as we recited the blessings. We also had children there too and a few parents did not even attempt to console or remove their SCREAMING/CRYING so that others may enjoy the ceremony. They all later apologized when I wrote a letter expressing how and rude and hurt my family was.

    2. I’ve invited the Queen Bee for lunch with her never reciprocating any invitation towards me.

    3. I’ve invited neighbors to birthday parties for my kids, with never RSVPing that they are not planning on attending.

    4. Another person I’ve invited to my Passover dinner, never once invited me to anything. Months later, at 7am, she texts and calls me that should would like to borrow a superhero cape. She found out that my son had one from this birthday party and this was her reason for asking. I eventually texted her that I did not have any more and that I did not appreciate her asking me for a favor when she’s never reciprocated any hospitality to me or my family. After this text, she began to bad-mouth me to a mutual friend she invited to decorate cookies with.

    5. Another neighbor that I thought I was close with, said she would come to my child’s first birth. I send the invites about a month in advance. She never showed up, stating that she agreed last-minute to babysit for another neighbor and then that neighbor cancelled.

    I could go on and on, but the fact is this women do not want my friendship…maybe because they all go to the same church and my family is Jewish. I have no idea, but I am so hurt by the whole thing. I just find it is easier to not be around them. The saddest part is about my children. They are never invited to their parties, and I fear inviting kids to their parties because I feel like no one will come and I do not want to crush their little spirits. It has made me think that maybe there is something wrong with me. But I finally had to say that I am a kind person, a little different, by nice if you are nice to me. I have to say that more than anything I am happy that I stood up for myself in a few situations because I had I not, they would never know that treating people like this is unacceptable.

    • Ann says:

      Ashira,

      I have never written my own entry on this topic of clique exclusion, but I do have some thoughts for yours…

      Religion can be a potent force. It has been devisive for hundreds, well, thousands of years. I am a somewhat progressive mainline Protestant Christian and I often feel the cold shoulder from both Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians. I know too that those of Jewish faith can show decided preference towards those of their own religion, I have seen it first hand.

      Even at my own fairly liberal UCC Church I am often kept arms length away by some people people because I am a MODERATE Republican! Sheesh…

      I have a hunch that if you have invited a bunch of singleminded, hardline, take-every-word-from-the-Bible-literally Christian types to a Passover meal you, yes indeed, might be given the cold shoulder. Can’t say for sure, but that is my hunch. Hey, I would be delighted to partake…wish I had been invited! But people are very often rigid and non-intellectual about their beliefs and may actually feel threatened by those not directly within their belief circle…..

      So, maybe try to approach these types of events with a bit more caution, and focus on inviting those which you truly sense are are opened minded to the possibilities…more worldly thinkers.

      After reading several of these posts for a few months I think I may have to post my own exasperating story…

      Mazes Tov!!!

    • Gwen says:

      You can’t change people, but you can change your behavior/response around them (or not around them!) That statement has helped me in a great number of situations.

  2. Rachel says:

    That’s why I don’t make friends in this state I have been in for 5 years. I don’t have time for this crap. I have things to do, a family, and a child to raise. I only form acquaintances except for my DDs cheer team. we are like family during the season. I am distant and never let anyone get close and like it like that. I am now hesitant as at my DDs old school I was loved as a PTA leader and the new one resembles the mess above. But, I don’t come to make friends and will do what I want to do on the PTA and don’t care if they like it or not. Strangely, I used to live in TX and was in cliques and at work I and 2 bffs had a clique of three that delighted in only being with ourselves, we wrote a book together, had our own secret language and only hung out together for 4 years. Only later I realize we were exclusive and I felt kind of bad. Although we three mobilized everyone to kick this jerk boss out of our dept and that was cool. Did the Mommy baby clique thing. Fun but that’s done. I don’t care about the neighborhood but my DDs cheer team I do. After reading this, I will try hard and consider everyone’s feelings as team Mom and try and include all Mom’s instead of my favorites from last year.

  3. L.B. says:

    I speak from experience as someone who values all of my friends (I consider all my close friends as best friends), and would do anything for a good friend, but have experienced a few times where friends start becoming cliquey with other people or social circles and distancing themselves.

    It doesn’t matter if you are 6 years old, or 60+ years old. “Friends forever (aka BFF)” is just a sentimental notion and people grow apart for whatever reason.

    This was satired on “Seinfeld” many times. Jerry said about relationships: A relationship is an organism. You created this thing and then you starved it, so it turned against you. Same thing happened to the Blob.

    You can try to explain it in terms of many sociological, or psychological reasons but people change, people’s interests change, people’s dynamics change, people find other people they feel better connected to.

    It sucks when this happens and you feel a great deal of betrayal.

    But don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault. It’s THEM. They are the ones choosing to act weird and cliquey. In fact, some theories say that cliquey people are actually neurotic in that they are introverted extroverts. That is, they may seem outgoing on the outside but they are insecure introverts on the inside and they need a “mommy” or “daddy” figure to latch on to in order to give them some sense of security.

    I’ve noticed this in a friend at work who I have done many favors for during good times and bad and vice-versa but they have chosen to distance themselves and latch onto one main friend and no more invitations to coffee.

    I don’t take it personally because I accept that this person and I have grown apart, and have little in common anymore.

    If they have chosen to leave our friendship it’s their choice and their loss. I have better friends who will be there for me and for whom I will be there for.

    This might sound cold and resentful but it’s not. Life is too short to waste on someone who doesn’t want you around anyway and I’m not going to waste my time salvaging a friendship that is dead.

    • morcika says:

      i agree with what you say here. would only like to add that even when you know in your head that all this is true, it is not always easy and takes more time to walk the path to fully accepting it.

      i have friends, good ones, with whom i have no significant emotional bond. it’s not good or bad, it is just the way it is, it is also mutual and works pretty well. we can still enjoy each other’s company, we can help each other out, we _like_ each other, but if one of us moved to the other end of the world, none of us would feel deeply down and cry for days.

      and there are the really close ones, the ones you really _love_, where there’s an emotional bond as well, not just the mutual “being sympathetic” or having a common interest. and when a close friendship like that ends, it is not that easy to move on from one day to the other. even if you know that okay, that person has changed, has chosen to be with others and you are not that high (or even very low) on their priority ladder anymore, it hurts extremely. it is simply the pain of losing a loved one. i think it is not any different from romantic relationships, or when someone (friend or family member) dies. and the grieving process can take time, in my personal case, months. no matter whether my head keeps telling that “it’s her loss, it’s not me, etc.”

      • Eze says:

        I’m happy and appalled all at the same time. My situation was very similar to many I’ve seen posting here. My step sister’s best friend teaches an exercise class. I started taking the class and after about a year I was helping with special events and doing things outside of class with about 5 others. My sister didn’t attend the class but was included in all the get togethers. It was fine for a few years, but it was also obvious that my sisters BFF was used to being the center of attention and really only shared the spot light with my sister. I’ve never been good at following people and I used to try and tune it out. My sister and her BFF both got divorced about a year apart and the BFF and my sis seemed to get much closer. The BFF would make little digs and do stuff like not introduce me while introducing everyone around me. Her and my sister are both pretty accomplished in their jobs and I may have sealed my own fate when I told the BFF that I wasn’t one of her employees…I’ spoke to my sis (& it’s kind of complicated but there is no mistake that I would not win out over the BFF). She pretty much said the BFF has always had groupies and all of the other girls certainly are. Long and short of it are I don’t really think this group is good for me anymore, and even though the freeze was starting I think I’ll withdraw…..my problem is I am now pissed!!! My step bro past away and not one of them said a word to me about it. They all rushed to my sister tho. Mind you my sister was not in our class and I saw these girls everyday!!! They had no idea what my relationship was with him. My Birthday came and went without really so much as a word…my sis the BFF and this new groupie showed up at almost midnight took a bunch of pics of each other on the dance floor and then twirled out. My sis blew it off like I should be happy they showed up…I really think one of them was only nice to me to get in with my sister and now she speaks to her more than she does me….I feel so immature but it’s like I’m obsessed with wanting to cuss all of them out. Maybe not cuss but I’m so mad that they think I’m not good enough for them??? Really??? Sorry I’m venting. I actually do have another small group of friends that I don’t spend near as much time with but are all supportive and none of this I’m the Queen stuff…I guess I should just be greatful….very difficult though as I’m sure they are saying I have no idea why she just quit coming to class and speaking to us…..

  4. morcika says:

    hello everyone,
    i only found this post (and comments) recently, and i would like to thank you all for sharing your experiences. though in a way it is sad to know that this kind of thing is so common, it is also reassuring to know that i am not alone. i’ve been going through very similar experiences with people, a group and a very close friend i loved (still love) and cared for a lot. we had it all: the queen bee, the exclusion, the secrets, the me thinking i am totally nuts and paranoid (and what’s wrong with me anyways??????) because things like this only happen in soap operas, but then there was everything again. though i apologized for things i had done or i might have done, noone seemed to care about _my_ hurt feelings and the fact that they had hurt me, too, and not once. i just got the blame and some very not nice things into my face. it was the typical “i have a bad conscience, but instead of admitting doing something wrong, i will blame it all on you” situation. i was so confused for so long, that something’s just not right. some people see these people as very nice ones, how come i see them otherwise? is it really me the bad and mean person? should i really change? even if others see me nice and kind? but then how is it possible that it hurts so much what they’re doing to me? where is the boundary between good and bad? because i do think there is one. i am a christian and my faith also confirms and teaches me that there is good and there is bad. but then how do i tell one from the other?

    i found a lot of truth in what fran wrote and it cleared a lot my confused mind : we all make mistakes. even big ones sometimes. but at the point when we can own them, admit them, humble ourselves and apologize, we’ll be “washed clean” and we can get up from the ground and continue our journey. but if we don’t, if we think we’re perfect, or at least that is what we want to show the world (and maybe ourselves too), then that really falls out of the “right” category.

    i also read that “Asking for feedback and getting angry for the context of that feedback isn’t fair and won’t make the person want to be closer to you”, and in a way it is true. but i feel that there are different ways to give someone a “feedback”. you can make it the way so that afterwards the person will feel like a piece of sh*t and not worthy to live (and then you can be very happy about yourself how you are above this poor sinner), or you can make it the constructive way, which — in a friendship or any kind of personal relationship — will always include admitting your own mistakes as well. yes, constructive criticism is kind of an art. we should all learn it. it starts with being humble and not putting yourself above others and their sins thinking that you are so much better.

    just as Jesus said: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    in a way i am very grateful because i have learned a lot from the experience and it opened my eyes to many things — things about myself and things about other people.

    in another way i am still down-to-tears sad because i lost someone dear for good, someone who is very close to my heart. i am also very grateful to her for all the moments we shared and the love i got from her before everything turned upside down and inside out, before she changed, before she decided that in order to stay in the group and the vip lounge, she had to throw me away, as i was not that keen on melting in. this sounds harsh. i also understand though how tempting glamour can be. i hope one day she’ll find the real treasure and will be able to throw away this make-believe and shallow glitter.

    i also wisb that for all of us. till then everyone can decide for themselves which one is better for them: be alone for a while and even feel very lonely at times (also because it is pretty difficult, at least for me, to gain back my trust in people altogether, though i know i should and must work on it hard) until you find what you need to find; or blend in and go with the flow, shields up around the soul and heart, and just ignore all the bullsh*t around and take what makes you feel good out of it.

    is there a rigth choice or they’re are simply different but not better or worse?

    ps: i feel very much for those who don’t even have a loving family in the background. hang in there and don’t give up hope! i am blessed to
    have it and it was a good lesson to learn how much more i should appreciate them.

    • JAE says:

      This blog is just what I need to realize the mean-girl dilemma is real and literally happens at all ages. I have never been a conformer of situations and/or people and for the most part have done just fine. Obviously, I have bended my rules and took a leap of faith or stupidity. My story isn’t new or unusual, but is difficult for me as yours is for you. I’m in a work situation which has spiraled out of control where I once felt to be part of “the group” am now feeling more like an outsider. It’s a small department where we work closely together, and yes it’s all women. Most are younger, 20-30, and I am over 50 though didn’t seem like an issue. Over the past 6 months the environment has changed where I don’t feel to “fit in” anymore, maybe it’s me who’s changed? I do know I’m tired of the high school behavior and won’t waste anymore time and energy on trying to fit. It’s great to feel like you’re part of a group, though when the tables turn it’s a horrible and lonely feeling. I did unfortunately share with who is the leader or as put “queen b” who I use to be very close to, probably a mistake, as I know they talk when I’m not around. Maybe I am paranoid, but I’m so over it that I’m looking for a new job. Wish me luck in this tough job market!

      • morcika says:

        yep, that is the “funniest” thing: as these people play cruel but silent games, the “victim” always feels that she/he must be paranoid or even crazy, imagining things. what reassured me is that i have other people around me with whom i didn’t/don’t feel the change, the paranoia, the little strange “signs”, the uncomfortable things or the painful stabs in the heart.

        i’ve also found that it practically makes no sense at all trying to talk to them. those who play this, are not honest people. opening to them honestly — unfortunately — won’t make them be more honest with you, they’ll keep playing their pathetic little roles, leaving you feel even more paranoid and even more crazy.

        try to move on (eventually it’ll come, even if it feels otherwise at the moment), forget them and enjoy and appreciate the company of people who enjoy and appreciate yours. (easier said then done…)

        i wish you good luck with your job hunting and hope you’ll find welcoming people.

  5. jaj says:

    So true.

    I see it so often in nursing school. It’s a shame too because when you exclude people from your “group” (which I think is beyond ridiculous, include and talk with everyone, not just only a few people), you are missing out some great friendships if you don’t talk and have conversations with them. Oh well their loss. The funny thing is one of the courses I’m taking is online, we’re halfway through our program and NOW we are just starting to get to know each of our other classmates! So basically we spent our 1st 6 months barely knowing everyone in our class only because we don’t take the initiative to get to know them and talk with only who we like…such a shame !!

    To be honest I don’t feel so welcomed in nursing school, don’t even have a great relationship with my instructors while I see others make friends with them and are attached, but I don’t care. My job is just to get through, not make friends. Though I do admit I do wish I had at least someone to talk to in times of stress and challenge, as I feel I have to do it alone.

  6. mouse says:

    Hi Ladies,

    I am in Chicago and am available to be reciprocal friends either one to one or in a group. I don’t have a great history with groups but I still crave to be part of a community of women somehow. I have learned that all friendships are conditional. And if we are honest, that goes for our side too.

    I have also learned that as it becomes evident to me that there is a Queen Bee or a royal couple (in mixed groups) that is my signal that I will eventually find heartache here and my safest bet is to remain on the outskirts of the group or leave it altogether. Because part of the dynamic of a hierarchy will demand that the ones in charge never can see their shadows or else they would be participating differently and wouldn’t accept or allow a power position. With a hierarchy there will always tend to be a scapegoat or two, there will be a conflict pair, the enforcer, there will be second in commands and all the other roles. Additionally, the energy dynamic will trick/lead everyone to believe they agree with the ones in charge, that they wish to rise in rank and will support all of the leader’s wishes, even those unspoken. This dynamic is so powerful. It seems that the currency of hierarchy is humiliation. We find ourselves making excuses for allowing a hurt or exclusion to be perpetrated upon another, we watch in fascinated horror as someone is publicly humiliated and cast out, we feel paralyzed, unable to relinquish our own hard won positions to rescue another, realizing they are doomed anyway. These are all the signs that it is time to flee. Flee before you are burned at the stake or witness as it happen to another while you take another chip out of your own integrity.

    I know I am unusually sensitive, I own that its so easy for me to feel excluded. And I am also a geiger counter for noticing that as the meeting breaks up, everyone leaves in pairs, carpools and gabby clusters and no one rides with me, lingers for another ten minutes with me. I cannot see what I am doing wrong. And I am heartsick about it every time. At 60 years old I see this as my greatest failure, not having developed the skills for being liked or for being sought after. And I am still learning, practicing, studying.

    Even my one to one relationships often find me initiating much more than half the time, cooking almost all the time. I excuse this by saying, well, I don’t have any kids to be my connectors, so I have to do more work. Really, I have studied groups and the best training I have found is Matrix Group Leadership out of Boulder. They travel and offer classes and experiences all over.

    I am thinking that for me, even though I long for a community, I will shift my attention to my individual friendships staying healthy and will not allow myself to give up completely.

    I didn’t marry until I was 42, because I never gave up and refused to settle for what wasn’t right for me.

    I love Fran for reminding all of us to befriend ourselves. It reminds me that back in my late 30′s I decided that if I wanted to be married so much I should marry myself to practice being true and devoted. I made a ceremony, I wrote vows and I gave myself a ring I wore on my thumb. I took this all totally seriously and I felt surprisingly filled by this and it did make a difference. Maybe I have just talked myself into cultivating a girlfriend relationship wtih myself.

    And I still have plenty of room for you.

    We are not alone. Is anyone else in chicago?

  7. Shona says:

    So glad I came across this blog – this seems to happen to me on a regular basis. It seems ‘friends’ want me in their life when it suits them i.e college, divorce, single ladies, etc but when I have no purpose they ditch me. Those I don’t seem to bother too much about. The one that is really bothering me is a ‘friend’ I have had for 20 years. Since I began my degree (I am in my 40s) and decided to work for myself she seems to have distanced herself from me. It has got quite obvious in the last year.

    When we do talk or get together she doesn’t seem like she knows what to say to me and when I do tell her what I am doing she can be very negative towards me. I am surprised a friend who has been in my life for so long is not more supportive of my desire to better myself and provide a better life for me and my son.

    The last straw was when she said she was able to pick me up after a mild operation and then when I confirmed times she said she might not be able to do it after all. She didn’t quite get that I have to have a confirmed lift home or I won’t be able to have operation (I have been waiting for 6 months for this). She then had the cheek to say she was quite happy to be the back up!

    I think if I look back to a couple of years ago and something she said to me one night out of the blue ‘I wouldn’t have bothered to stay in touch after college if you hadn’t’ This I found a very bizarre thing to say considering we have been friends for 20 years and if she felt like that there were times she could have quite easily have removed herself from my life (I moved ten years ago out of the area).

    This does annoy me as three years ago I moved back to the area I grow up in and nearer her (she suggested I did so we could see each other more). If I don’t contact her I don’t hear from her.

    I know people drift apart over time but our lives have never been the same so why such a problem now?

  8. Daniel says:

    I will tell you it is not only women. It’s applicable to men as well. My wife and I (we’re 40) moved to a new area of town two years ago and have made zero friends, even after trying VERY hard to meet and become acquainted with couples. (There are 400 families in our subdivision.) Neither of us know exactly why this has happened. We have a neighborhood pool and we try to talk general small talk as an ice breaker to NO or VERY LITTLE response from people but these same people will be very chatty with nearly everyone else. I thought we left the two-faced behavior back in high school?

    There are cliques here, of course, and the leader of the main one cannot stand us for some reason. She and her husband sat next to us at our children’s school program and said NOT A WORD for an hour. They knew exactly who we were but chose to ignore us. I have no idea if it’s jealousy, something I said, or something else entirely. I have the sneaking suspicion that she has turned most of the people we’ve tried to be friends with against us, as most of them are friends with the “queen”.

    Why people cannot be more accepting of other, new people in their groups is beyond me. (Not just the “queen’s” group but most groups.) It would make life a lot easier if they would.

    • Jo says:

      Ah, the queen bee problem. Usually people are afraid to defy her. I would bet there are people in your community who have been her victims and would love to be friends with you.

    • Colleen says:

      I so understand. It took me 38 years of hearing my friend recount my sin against her of which I have apologized profusely each time she did bring it up. But I have had enough. What is sad is I really love her daughter and I do believe she ruined that out of jealousy. I refuse to talk to her about any of this because she is a mean person when she is drunk. I didn’t realize she was so mean until I got a Facebook account and saw how she commented on others postings of which where about her supporting her and I did so as well but nope she ignored every time I posted and then she basically let me know I wasn’t her family but in a way only I would understand. Caddy… I never saw her for what she was until I saw it online! So for years she has manipulated me and knowing my good nature probably loved everytime I cried and told her I was sorry. Wow I dont think I want to make any friends because it hurts too damn much. Yet in my heart I do want a friend to talk to and listen to and have real support. For years she has reminded me of my weight problem. For years she has brought up every single bad thing that happened even to the point of making me feel like shit because I am not able to work. So yeah I get how after trusting someone for so many years it hurts so bad and I am so sorry for all who has written on this site. I am sorry for the man who wrote too! I am so sorry that people would rather lie for years just to cause pain to make themselves feel better. What I am not sorry for is the fact that I am done and I can say I tried. She lost a good friend and as long as she continues this route she will only have people like herself left in her life. Too bad for her kids though, she could have been different. They could have had a wonderful mother like she had. Her mother loved without conditions and I know she loved me. Maybe that was my friends problem. Maybe the only reason my so called friend stayed friends with me was because when her mom was alive I always called her mom and her mom always treated me like a daughter. Well at least she lied the whole time her mom was alive at least she had enough love for her mom that she didnt want to hurt her feelings about how much she really hated my guts.

  9. Gigi says:

    I remember cliques and groups from my school days. Back then I wasn’t educated in the heiarchy and pecking order and the reason for these groups. I felt a rejection from these groups when I was younger and felt some hurt that I wasn’t included. I thought when I was younger, when I get older, adults don’t act like this and it will be better. The experience from when I was younger prepared me for adult life.

    I rise above these cliques and groups and know how they work. Knowledge is power!

    • gerri perri says:

      Its so hard. i wish i had a magic want to help you through it. But there is none. Eventually you will meet good people, trust your gut, if it does not feel right–move away from negative people. You are a special person don’t suffer idiots who don’t appreciate you. Trust your gut.

  10. Ken says:

    From a male perspective to all this: I see a paradigm. Perhaps it is that you are seeking out some approval from others??? Perhaps due to self esteem issue? As a man, whenever I feel shut out of a group, I start concluding that the group must be a bunch of losers who are jealous of something about me. I then pity them, then move on to greener pastures. Work relationships are different, PURE POLITICS THERE! Whether the issue of being “shut out” is due to jealousy by the group doing the shutting out, or that people sense a lot of neediness and don’t want to have to deal with all the work involved in the relationship, when I sense I am being shut out, I find that it is time to just walk away and start looking for other social settings, or just be to myself for a while to sort things out a bit. Easier said then done, I know. But sometimes, it’s just time to be on the introverted side for a while. Good luck ladies.

    • Sumi says:

      Hi

      I too have somewhat similar situation. I am fed up of such ladies and am happy being alone. But my husband feels as if I am unable to get along. The blame cones to me if he is facing a boring weekend while others are enjoying. I have tried a lot but no duch effort from their side. I am quite confident and mostly live on my own with two little children managing everything. I do feel that they are jealous of me as I can’t follow them blindly.

      They are organising a picnic and because I was there when they were origami ding they asked me too. Initially I was ok with it. But can feel a sense of avoidance in their acts. What should I do? Should I go of not??

  11. Ellie says:

    Seeing all these posts from women of all ages, completely saddens me to see that this behaviour seems to happen in all ages and here I am a 19yr old girl thinking people will grow up with age. How wrong I was. I have been having a similar situation where I am not being included in group activities and know for a fact when I’m not there certain people of the group will talk behind my back. This one girl in particular who seems to talk about everyone she doesn’t like apart from her main ‘clique’ just shows the 2 faced, pathetic, self absorbed girl she is and how the others think it’s perfectly okay to also engage in her nasty, negative conversation about others. My best friend whom I was friends with before forming this friendship group now seems distant and only really fits me in her schedule when she’s available (admittedly she is a busy person) but I just feel awkward when I’m with her now which I never did before. An incident happened where they were all with each other but me and another friend of the group weren’t invited until the other friend text one of them to see if they wanted to have dinner together and probably out of pity and guilt got invited to join them. My best friend who was also there at the time didn’t ask me to come until I’m guessing she found out my other friend had just been invited and thought it would be best to quickly let me know they were all out with each other and I should join. I know I don’t know if this is what she was thinking so I will give her the benefit of the doubt and hope our close friendship still remains but I fear that I am also loosing her and that is one of my biggest fears as she is one of the best friends I have ever had. I hope she doesn’t change within the group, I don’t know what I’d do without her.

    • Jo says:

      Ellie,

      I am sorry you are going through this. It is hurtful and scary to think you will lose your best friend. But, if she is truly a friend she will be loyal to you. You are young and their will be many more friends in your life.

  12. Twentieth Century Fox says:

    This is a great forum. I am in awe of how brave, humble, self-aware, and responsible most of the posters seem. Great friendship material. I wish I could meet you all, or even just a few more like you closer to home.

    This exlusionary pattern many of you mention is so widespread, consistent, irrational and destructive that it seems it must have a biological basis: all those primate females competing to be the alpha breeder and raise the next generation of dominant males–or something like that.

    Closer to our hearts nowadays, I wish someone would study the biochemical processes in these exercises of female social power, especially to see if there is a feedback loop that leads the excluded party to suffer distress but basically submit meekly, rather than shrug and look for greener pastures or concentrate on their own talents.

    Keeping subordinate females unhappily within the group may have had survival value at one time, but it seems so perversely contrary to modern values and opportunities.

    And on a practical note, has anyone, ever, experienced a positive result from trying to discuss exclusionary processes and feelings with other group members? I’m guessing very few people are as honest and self-aware as Z above, who was willing and able to examine her own behaviour. I would speculate that the impulse to “talk it over” is actually part of the feedback loop roping the “victim” into the group process. I’m guessing this is a situation where thinking and acting like a man would actually be the kindest thing to do for ourselves.

    Would love to hear what others think on this.

    • Ann says:

      I SO get what Twenteth Century Fox is saying. I do think strong, independent women who may think a bit outside the norm (though definitely “normal”) can be excluded from groups because they don’t conform to the group identity or behavior. I completely relate to Sharon’s scenario as sometimes I feel like I am having an out of body experience while at a party or at a gathering as if I am invisible.

      I also agree that is is very strange how much I let this bother me. I have so much to offer to women who could be true friends but I spend far too much time worrying about those excluders. I have been this way pretty much all of my life so it seems damned hard to change at this point!

      And, NO, I DON’T think people want to talk about this either. I think the term “Debbie Downer” comes to mind. So the vicious cycle continues. I could go on and on, but I have to stop now. Thanks.

  13. Dayeon Lee says:

    THAT HAPPENS Every Time!!! Even in South Korea that I live…. and I AM A student that is always being left out.

  14. Dayeon Lee says:

    I am in a very same situation too. Nobody seems to know that I exist.

  15. Marilyn says:

    Since moving to a retirement community a few years ago, I have been totally miserable and upset. My health went from bad to worse, several hospital stays, surgeries and just never settling into this community because of a felling of never fitting in. People have been nice but distant and I have very rarely been included in dinners or outings with the women. It has been very hurtful and upsetting and I just wish I never moved here. I wish I could tell them how I feel but it may lead to a misunderstanding and being cut off completely. This is how junior high school girls behaved and being left out has caused me to become very depressed and full of anxiety. Are there any answers as how to handle this situation?

    • Jen C. says:

      I’m just learning that life long friends can turn out not to be the people I thought they were. I’ve been part of a group of very close friends like family since childhood, I’m in my 50s. I don’t know what happened to some of these women. They are awful bitches; gossiping, backstabbing, self absorbed, narcissist and just plan mean. I’m so hurt and saddened by their behavior. I am working to keep from sinking to their level because it’s so ugly.

      • Nicole says:

        It amazes me how mean women are to each other, its the reason I don’t have any friends anymore. I don’t have the energy to deal with the negativity
        .

      • Vicki says:

        Wow Jen C. this is what I’m dealing with lately and I can SO relate. I’m 57

  16. Jo says:

    I am 55 and I feel like I am in junior high school again. I am being excluded, treated badly, made to feel like I am insane. I now have no friends in a place where I have lived for 15 years. One woman in particular has slowly turned people against me. I am also from NY, but I live in the south. These woman are also transplants from all over the country. These are woman I work with and I worry that one in particular will make it difficult for me at work. They have slowly excluded me and when they let me in to their world or have to tolerate me because of work related events they make passive-aggressive remarks about me, my son, my weight, my looks, — mean girl stuff (they are all over 50 years old). I try to ignore them but I am so embarrassed by their remarks they essentially shut me down. And I am so hurt. If I could quit my job and leave the state I would. They are destroying me.

    • Gwen says:

      Hi Jo,

      Sorry you are going through this. Been there.3 years ago I went through a period of disbelief and stalled not knowing what to do. I felt like such a loser and then as time went by I had a clearer picture of everyone’s role and behavior from observing. I picked myself up and found out that the small town I live in is actually larger than I thought;and there are nice people out there. I found a friend I had met years ago who stays away from group situations and girl drama. The exclusion made me realize that I deserve better. You do too and you will find if you look. What also helped and gave me persepective is changing jobs, joining groups, a different gym, a different supermarket, anything to explore new possibilities. I am still friends with the clique, but protect myself and keep a very healthy friendly distance. When you know better you do better. Hang in there Jo and keep in touch.

      • Jo says:

        Thank you, Gwen for your reply. I am so glad I found this blog. I have decided to try and focus on my work, look for another job, and hopefully move from here in the next year. My son is living in NY now and wants me to come there. There nasty behavior is sabotaging my ability to work and I have to stop letting them do that so I can shine when I apply for new jobs.

      • Nicole says:

        Very positive and uplifting reply.

  17. Ally says:

    Wow, I feel so sad reading all of these posts. I found this blog by googling “adult women ostracisation”. That is what I was dealing with and trying to make sense of. One of my “friends” posted a Facebook status tagging three other friends out for dinner. We had been a group of five for years, going out for tea every couple of months together. We even called ourselves the sisterhood. This time, I had not been invited. What was worse though was that they clearly wanted me to know I hadn’t been invited, otherwise why put it on Facebook. I have been going over and over it in my head trying to get to the bottom of why this would happen, and I honestly cannot think of anything. I know that logically, this is not my problem, this is theirs, but that doesn’t stop it feeling like someone has stabbed me in the chest and is slowly twisting the knife. I didn’t think something could shake my world like this. At the moment, even if I knew what the problem was, and it was something I could fix, I don’t know if I want to, because what sort of people do this to someone? Especially someone who is supposed to be their friend. Our kids have grown up together, and it is incredibly painful to contemplate the idea of not having these women in my life, but I don’t think I can look forward any other way.
    So in short, I feel for every one of you, this sucks b****. We can all take comfort – as Fran said early in the piece – in knowing that we would never treat anyone like this.

    • Cyndi says:

      Ally, It is not even worth the time. Before social media everything was done on the down low. Now we have to bear witness to every moment in everyone’s life 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have removed people from my Facebook who have done the same to me. I have no time for High School pettiness. I am 51 not 18. I have had to see the girls nights out and just decided that theses people are not as close to me as I thought they were. I am from NYC and currently live in Cheyenne Wyoming, I am not into man trolling and heavy drinking and it works for me and what I enjoy. I am sorry you have to have this all in your face, and yes it is a stab in the chest when you think you have a special bond with a group of women and suddenly realize you are not as close as you thought you were.

      • kitegirl says:

        Oh my goodness finding all of you and these posts is heartwarming to me. I am in the midst of similar situation with a group of ladies that I feel we are growing apart. I am in my mid 30′s and we are all at different places regarding work, families, etc… It’s hard feeling like the “odd” one out. Cyndi, you are so right in the whole social media thing. We do witness everything, the good and the bad. Sometimes a post of something your friends do together (of which you are excluded) hurts. I know that is the case for me this week, or when someone you think is your friend doesn’t bother to wish you a happy birthday. Anyhow, just wanted to stop by and say “hello” :)

        • Sam says:

          I’m so glad not to feel like the only person this is happening to, although the “group” is not exclusively female. One of my “friends” and me have birthdays only a day a part. We always do something together although I wasn’t invited this year. I only found out because someone slipped up and posted something onbook. When I wen to see my so called best friend about how hurt i felt she just had a go at me and said “well its not my fault, i mever organised it”. After being friends for 20 years and supporting her through a very messy breakup and having her over all the time so she wouldnt be lonely i expected her to stick up for me. Even beimg a part of it is cruel. Now she is acting like the injured party. When I look back she has never stuck up for me or had my back so I have to question if i want someone like that in my life. I shpuld say that there have been many instances like this lately i just think doing it pn my birthday pushed me over my limit with it all :(

  18. OMM says:

    Wow…just what I needed to read at the moment. Thank you Fran!!!

  19. Gwen says:

    I have learned over the years that it’s not worth it to give your spin on the situation to others. You have to be patient and you will see the story play out and parallel for others to see the true character of a person shine through. About 13 years ago, I removed myself from a toxic situation quietly and slowly. Everyone was a follower to the queen bee and I got the impression they thought I was crazy for stepping outside the flock.
    She yelled at me for inviting “her” friend/neighbor over for dinner (they were new best buds and had recently lost her husband (she was 30 years old). She thought it was very rude of me to invite this woman (we had just met)and her baby daughter over when my husband was traveling….a “Second class invite”. My guest brought me flowers and gushed that dinner time was difficult and lonely and it was nice to have a “girls “dinner. After I left the group we moved long distance. I didn’t keep in touch with anyone from that group, it was casual friendship with other followers, but a little bit closer with the “leader”. About 10 years after I moved, I received a long letter from a women who was in that group. It was largely a positive letter about her life since we left. She made a subtle point that in the last few years she had grown apart from the leader and was enjoying her family and working on her own interests and passions. She noted she began to see the leaders true character and choices. I felt after 13+ years someone thought of me and my choice and respected. How did she find me? I think people don’t understand our choices and can’t until they live through it. PS. Ridiculous ending to that story. I heard from an old
    neighbor that the widow, the new best friend I had over for dinner…..slept with the queen bee’s husband! I made a mental note to myself I thought each had hinted at less than virtuous values……sometimes you have to go with your gut and other times you have to give people a chance……Life lesson.

    • anonymous says:

      Thanks for sharing Gwen. I’ve made that mistake of giving my spin on situations. It leaves room for misinterpretation. Friends generally take sides. I read your other comment about the situation becoming clearer when you observe. Friends outside of a clique always advise me to step back and observe everyone’s role when I sense that something is off in a clique. Ultimately, I’m left with the same old three options: ignore the situation and remain friends, fix it or leave it. I always have a sense of how the situation will play out. Whether I leave the clique or not, if it’s happened once, I know what the friends are capable of so I’d rather leave. Leaving quietly is nearly impossible because some friends in the clique don’t agree with your choice to leave. Your choice to leave offends them somehow. I ask myself if it’s worth it to remain friends and it’s usually not. True character does show through with time. If a friend can do that to me, she can do that to just about anybody else. I’ve made that mistake of overstaying in two cliques and ignoring warning signs. The first indicator for me is if I complain a lot about a friend or a clique. Thankfully, I’ve remained in mature and healthy cliques where I feel comfortable and respected. I’ve also managed to meet new friends. I missed out on a lot of great potential friends because I was tied down and worn out by certain cliques. Being worn out is a major indicator to leave. Every clique has a personality and it takes trial and error to find ones where you feel content and comfortable. I’m not an advocate for staying in friendships where there is lack of trust and compatibility. No one is obligated to stay in a clique, particularly in ones that don’t meet our needs and expectations.

  20. daisymay says:

    I have had a similar experience to the ones mentioned above, I have been going to a group where ladies play games for 2 years, I made a friend with one of the ladies, this person insulted me and disrespected twice in front of the other ladies, I realized that person wasn’t a friend so I decided to end the relationship and told her I didn’t want to go out with her again.. Now when I go to play I find arrangements have been made without me to go out, one of the ladies who I have been out with previously makes excuses to not meet me when I ask, another lady who is new to the group ignores me and makes a big fuss of the lady who insulted me, I asked her if she would like to meet for lunch and she also made excuses not go. I feel excluded and left out where as before this happened I went out with other ladies from the group. I feel the lady who insulted me has turned the other group members against me, and I don’t understand why they should take her side when Ive done nothing wrong, she is the one who insulted me. I have not come across this kind of situation before and find it very hard to be cut off like this, I enjoy playing games and don’t wish to stop going, I am 68yrs old and Im amazed that grown up women of the same age as myself can behave like this. The situation is now spreading to other groups I am involved with and I am wondering when this all going to end. Any advice would be gratefully received.

    • Anona says:

      Daisymay I have no real advice except that the same has happened to me. I found out that I have been dropped from a club. It was been held in a ladies house who I don’t get on well with so I was dropped from the distribution list. I’m trying to get on with my life and not worry about these ladies.

  21. Mama Maria says:

    I am so glad I found this page. I wanted to share a story. Maybe some of you can relate. I have been friends with “C” for about 25 years. I am 44 now. She is very popular and has a ton of friends. Over the years we have done stuff together or with other people. I always have the best time with “C,” but she can be moody. One thing she has done to me repeatedly is make plans with me, and then cancel at the last minute. I know sometimes things can come up, but she has does this to me countless times. (I know of a few times in which she canceled on me at the last minute and went out with other people.) Recently she invited me to dinner for my birthday. An hour before we were supposed to meet, she called and said she was too tired and couldn’t go. For the first time ever, I called her out on it and told she always does this. We ended up going to dinner, but now she doesn’t want to talk to me. Sure, it hurts, but it’s not the end of the world.

  22. Fran says:

    Right sisters get hold of your big girl britches and pull ‘em up real tight here’s the deal on bitches and frenemy cliques and how to smash your way through the icy wasteland that they create when warmth and compassionate, self effacing laughter become mere shades in your usual self.

    First of all a self assessment, are you frank, open and kind and able to humbly & humorously own your shit minus self hate ?

    Yes?

    Well that my sister is why they hate you and that is why you need to be hooching up your skirts and making a fast exit stage left towards those who will welcome what you bring & treat you as a sister.

    Mean women & queen bees, are some of the most insecure, neurotic, spiteful beings to walk on Gods green earth. But that isn’t what makes them unique, oh no plenty of us are insecure and neurotic but we have a handle on our behaviour and we have an industrial scale inner policewoman making sure that we are not ‘acting out’ on undeserving others, that is grown up self government, that is the behaviour of a responsible loving adult who owns & loves her own imperfection as a part of living. But who works to monitor inner fairness, behaviour, decency and compassion along with correctly managing the normal life ‘moodies’ that we all have when we go wrong or forget to give ourselves a break from perfection.

    No what makes these icy harridans of hierarchy unique is an inbuilt sense of entitlement to perfection and to play out their every perfect dream and insecurity therein on the backdrop humanity that surrounds them minus self awareness or healing and Sisters yes this is what forges the doorway to the sort of evil bitchery that ruins the wellbeing of more humble, ordinary others.

    What to do when you sniff out the not so subtle put downs, the manipulation of children, the in people being made more in, the out people being made less than human. The sense of inadequacy being thrust upon your ordinary clothes, minimal make up and none obsessive fun exercise that takes in nature and friends but doesn’t involve costly equipment, special clothes, elite membership and a waiting game by the phone.

    Here is what to do,

    Treat yourself like would have treated the nice, friendly, ordinary kid who tried to make friends and was treated like dirt. Befriend yourself fiercely and with all your self loving armour on and your sword arm ready, you damn well smite the first bitch who attempts to take your self love from you with a sincerely made observation that will have her downing three bottles of Chardonnay and taking a £2000 shopping trip to patch up the black hole of nasty that you just exposed in her soul.

    These women are sociopathic in their hate of others self love, they are not itty bitty little victims who need support, love, attention and you being their councillor, though they will try to convince you of this. Oh no they are not interested in responsibility, they are not interested in growth, theirs or yours, they are interested in being most important, most perfect and most popular and the only way to keep these women at bay and out of your face permanently is a succinct verbal blow that exposes their truth at the deepest level. Best affected on the THIRD time that their knife pierces your heart & twists. Giving ‘em two strikes is fair and it gives you time to assess things clearly.

    Don’t think they won’t find others equally fucked up to take their corner and their social largesse, you may well end up with a little bunch of losers who fear and blank you in equal measure. This is a WIN, because they are life’s losers. Joyless, self absorbed, needy, empty, shallow…. you fill in a few blanks you know the blanks! Their hate is a sign that you are loving and respecting yourself to a place where they don’t matter. (oooh the pain, they hate not being important to you and they miss the power because power is just so very very tasty)

    Lets face it life is too short for someone to piss on you and try to tell you it’s raining and that you either deserve it or this is for your own good. We are not stupid, we are not without wounds, we are not without compassion.

    But this sort of subliminal social evil infects our children’s lives and our society. It is ALWAYS unacceptable to be manipulated cruelly, to be excluded from common courtesy, to have the attempt made upon your personhood to cast you in the role of less than deserving, less than human other. We never stand and watch this without stepping up for the victims, so why oh why do we accept it for ourselves?

    OK it’s hard to be blanked for a while & it takes a serious set of Lady balls to walk that walk, but after a wee while see how much more happy your life is, more time, less worry, more joy, less shallow conversation, more space for special work, time with kids, art, reading, learning, dancing and it is through these new spaces that new friends will step into your life. Before you know it the imposing queen bee will be reduced to a very human, very ordinary, very last year, part of your NEW EXCITING LOVELY LIFE.

    It’s a lot like exiting a bad abusive relationship with a crazy man, there’s the initial pain and fear of bridges burned to the tiny fragments of amazing good that you were baited in with & then your sanity returns and you think WTF was I doing with that ass clown, I was in thrall to a false construct of happy!!!

    They say the best victory is to live well. This is true, if bullies target you with mean, expose the mean openly, publically & politely BUT always fiercely. Turning the cheek is due in certain circumstances but not in others, we don’t the cheek to those who can’t and won’t own their bad. This is crucial for those of you who are Christian. Jesus forgave everyone who owned their bad and sat feeling like a sinner and doubting their right to forgiveness. BUT he reserved his wrath for those who felt they were above sin. The money changers sitting making a fat profit in a temple at the expense of poor worshippers who were humble, they were the ones jesus pooned. Jesus was not a push over & he did not offer forgiveness to those who denied their capacity for any form of sin.

    So…..where am I going with this?

    Don’t be afraid to fall out, it’s liberating to get shot of any poisonous and evil behaviour that undermines your deep & kind self love, the greatest ever thing about a blatant and open fall out is that you don’t have to pretend any more. ( pressure off to buy best gifts, wear right clothes, say right things)

    Courtesy can be a nod or a complete ignore so long as you’re not running at the bitches with an ice-pick at the nativity who gives a shit? There’s no drama once it’s over. You can let others take care of karma or judgement or whatever. Just strike the severing blow for your self love and walk, no backward glances and keeping this in mind. say it to yourself over and over whenever the social heebie jeebies get to you and you doubt your choice.

    ‘If it had been someone else being treated this way I would have stood up for them in this situation, but it was me & I was there for myself because I am a child of life and of life’s thirst for human love.’

    Sisters, women like you will always be there for your kids and for others, but remember this is no good to anyone if you are not there for yourselves when dealing with sociopathic female evil.

    And lets call it what it is. Cruel, nasty, negating, exclusionary, manipulative, anti social behaviour is normal at times within all ordinary people who might be having a bad time, but if this isn’t owned, recognised, made amends for and addressed because it’s owner feels bad to hurt good people and wants to heal and grow more whole, then we are in the realm of evil. Nasty for kicks minus remorse = evil.

    NOTE Evil cannot be mended it is a choice of material, finite power based in self deceit. Sad but remember the rattlesnake story of the Native Americans.

    ‘Why did you bite me I rescued you?’
    ‘I’m a snake bitch what did you expect?’

    Not fluffy
    Not acceptable
    Get your temple clearing boots on and kick it’s arse out of your life.
    Lets get rid of it together.
    We are all sisters of life and love together.
    Blessings and love in your journey away from cruel treatment and evil.

    • SSG says:

      Exactly what needs to be said!!!

      • Jean says:

        Thanks Fran…great bootstrap advice. Been going through the cliques being formed at work….these cliques are in 3′s. Thus the triangle effect… Been a little painful “realizing” this…but redeeming in the sense that there is no need now for behavioral games. Love your post. People who behave this way always want to make the reason why they are behaving badly is…”about you.” When it isn’t, it’s about their own need and they are feeding it through projection and the allaincing of similar personality types. Well said!

      • Trish says:

        Awesome words! I especially love this line: “Lets face it life is too short for someone to piss on you and try to tell you it’s raining.” Ha! Made me LOL!!

        My clique of nasties, unfortunately, began with our kids (boys) being together in kinder. Now those kids are 9 and 10. I think the problems started last year with issues between younger siblings (girls). We have a queen bee, but the craziest part is each mom has expressed their dislike of her at various times…but they still follow and include her because of friendships with her kids. A couple other moms have dropped out of the group due to her. She spews so much negativity and false judgments–it just infects other people’s minds! And once someone else has a gripe it becomes a bond with her. I think the main reason this group prevails must be the kids. At least that is what I shockingly have heard from others in the group at different times: “I only hang out with her because of her kids.” So sad. I bet she (the “queen”) would be devastated to hear that!! I even have empathy for her even though she has been rotten toward me and my kids. it just sucks when friends talk behind your back.

        The background: I was feeling excluded and left out … as were my kids. I thought maybe I was imagining it. Finally, an “outer orbiter” of the clique confirmed I was not crazy and she advised me to “put some distance and watch your back.” Nice. I was devastated. Still am and it’s been a year since she told me this. I thought these were my friends. It sounds like their issues with me stem from our girls not getting along.

        I’ve distanced, but haven’t totally dropped off for the sake of my son. It’s REALLY painful. I waste SO much time and energy thinking about it. I can’t wait until my son is done with elementary school so that I can get away! I will never jump into a group of women like that again. They are too complicated and manipulative.

        I’ve encouraged my kids (and myself) to make new friends. My daughter has successfully found other friends. My son is still clinging to his boys. It’s just awkward and sucks. Period. I would confront them, but I don’t want to put the “outer orbiter” in the frying pan.

    • hc says:

      Thank you, Fran. This is exactly what I needed to read. I have been being bullied by an outspoken, passive-aggressive friend whom I confronted in a vulnerable and loving way. Less than two days later, I sit reading a blog she wrote about me (again, passive aggressive) but cannot openly address her without looking like a crazy bc my feelings are so hurt and she has styled herself as a victim of mistreatment in her blog. I know she has discussed with others bc I am now being excluded from talks about a Christmas party I had planned for this small group, which had now been relocated to a restaurant instead of my home. I don’t feel that I can speak to others in the group bc I also finally let another member of the group know a month ago that her sarcasm about me not being able to take free photos for her on her timeline due to work and family obligations was hurtful. I am starting to realize that really only one member of the group has actually talked to me since, so perhaps I got in bad with the group then. I have been feeling terrible–like it is my fault for speaking up for myself and creating conflict. Thank you for telling those of us selling answers to love ourselves the way we do others in our situation. That is exactly what I needed to read.

    • Courtney says:

      Fran,

      Do you have a blog? There is something about the way you write that resonates with me. I would love to read more of your perspective on issues. If you don’t have a blog, I would recommend you think about it!

      My situation feels less like “evil” intentions, but has been hurtful, still, over the years with a grouping, and I was often left out. So I distanced, trying to preserve self love, and then when I gave it another try (reentry) because they were such a part of my small town social circle, it would go well, then — whammo — left out of something big. And I have expressed several times my feelings, but it continued in some form, with my friends often making me feel like I say no so often, that they didn’t bother extending the invite (which is true, because I teach, have three active kids, a husband who travels, etc., and when I am left out, I distance a bit after that for self preservation). The latest — a good friend in the circle is turning 50 and wanted to make plans to getaway as friends. I told them weeks ago, I would love to participate. So I got a call last night, and she and two others (the main source of most of my exclusion) had determined “the plan” without asking first what weekends might work for me (or inviting me over to the house — a mere 2 minute drive to help plan). As it turns out, the weekend tour they decided to book included the last day of classes (I teach at a college), and I have final presentations scheduled for students, so I can’t participate. They expressed that they were disappointed I wouldn’t be able to go — “So sorry you can’t join us — would love to see you, though, soon.”

      Am I different? I would have asked everyone what weekends were good for them first, or invited everyone to participate in the plan — but I am never invited to that. Months later, if I express my feelings about it, I will be told “you are always busy.” No. It is simply one of two weekends out of the next 14 that aren’t ideal for me. It seems to be a self-perpetuating cycle.

      Is this toxic, a signal to simply move on (which I have to some degree, with some emotional attachment in the form of a carry-own rather than immense baggage), or am I somehow being overly sensitive?

      Do you have any wisdom on this? Thanks — and let me know if there is a way to read more of what you impart!

      • Jenny says:

        I love this post because it SO resonates with a situation I’m in. I don’t think that you are wrong in assuming that people need to plan these types of events in advance. So why weren’t you part of the planning? I guess that I would suggest saying something like, “I’m disappointed too. Is there a reason that there aren’t more options for dates?” or “I am disappointed too. I wish I had been part of the planning process because so-and-so means a lot to me and I would really have loved to celebrate with her. I’m wonder why there wasn’t more discussion/options for dates?”
        I am definitely not a professional so I am sure there are other, better ways of saying this, but I would say (to you and to myself) that asking the obvious “why wasn’t I invited to plan this” question gets to the heart of the matter.
        I don’t know that it is necessarily a toxic situation. Maybe there is a reason. It sounds like you own your busy schedule – maybe they, if given a chance, can own their behavior too? (They may not be able too, as Fran points out so eloquently!) I’d love to know what you decide to do!! For my own situation, as well!

    • Flinch Saint says:

      This is one of the best thing’s I’ve ever read on the Internet, and exactly what I needed to read right now. Cheers, Fran, you’re a superhero. :)

    • Gwen says:

      Fran,

      Exhale! Wow Fran, you are a captivating writer. I suspect you also have been the odd woman out or an even better writer than I originally thought!

      Thanks for sharing. Reading all of the comments and experiences has been incredibly helpful and therapeutic..

    • Anna says:

      Well said Frank! Thank you

    • poetrywater says:

      Thank you! Just what I needed to hear to pull up I big lady panties and fearlessly BE who I am, not who THEY want me to be. I’m Out! YOUR AWESOME!

    • HaP says:

      Wow! This is all so relevant to me. It’s heartbreaking but also comforting to know that there are women like this all over the place. I live in a small community with several circles of friends. I actually went to see a therapist because of the hurt in my heart, and the mistakes that I made trying to “fit in”. I separated from the group, and focused on my close relationships that were stable and seemingly consistent. However, there was always one friend who was jealous of my other relationships and had bad things to say about my other friends. Now she has pushed our family away and has taken to building relationships with the women who she would put down. What has been really difficult for me in all of this is that I have kept quiet about everything because I do not want the conscience that comes with talking about someone behind their back. I try to live by and large without reproach since exiting “the female rat race” in this community. Things got really bad after friend “a” blew up on me about the absolute most trivial thing and even remarked that she was being bitchy/catty-her way of justifying herself I guess. I try not to assume anything but when your friends drop hints and you feel like they are lying to you it hurts. I have thought about approaching one friend about it but I fear the consequences of even asking because friend “a” commands such alliance from the people who fall into her ways. I’m very sad because here I thought I had this little safe haven and all it took was one insecure woman to turn it upside down. Sad :(. Thankful to be able to vent/grieve the loss on here.

  23. TP says:

    I met two G in college, was friend with one for two years, then later met B who was just a new student. B and I became acquainted and I introduced her to G. Together, we formed a trio and became three good friends. I would say that G and I were like sisters and she was closer to me than to B because we had known each other longer and our family became close.

    G and I rent an apartment together so that she could save money, then two years later, B joined us in the apartment to crash for a couple of months, that turned into a year. She was G’s guest. Anyhow, 8 months after living together as good friends and after letting G free ride, I brought to G’s attention the need for B to contribute in the rent and other small household expenses. I am not sure if G just did not have the gut to demand this things from G, but hey I became the villain for asking everyone to take financial responsibilities and keeping the house clean. G also pulled a shady move on a money she owed us, but did not pay back and I overhead her tell someone that she doesn’t need me to know her business when she couldn’t pay for transactions that were supposed to covered by that money.

    So I basically had someone who I considered as a sister, make a 360 turn on me and opt not to communicate with me on whatever issues she was facing then. I sensed that there was a change in our friendship, but this just confirmed my observation. Then, they started ordering food, cooking between the two of them, excluding me from meals that we normally shared. B was the guest, as hosts, G and I took care of dinner and decide what we eat, then would invite G to join us. Nope, things changed. B skipped me, and just made plans with G. The first time they ordered food, I was home too. Instead of calling me to eat together like we normally do, they ate together, and then later in the night, B told me she saved some leftover for me in the fridge. I believe that she felt obligated to give me the leftover because I saw when the food was delivered and it obviously became awkward for her because I was not supposed to know that they were ordering food. Anyway…

    I never had the opportunity to discuss with G because of our schedule and because she was always tagged with B. So a month later, when I finally got a chance, I told her that I noticed that the dynamic of our relationship had changed. I asked, begged, and insisted that she tells me if I had wronged her and if I did what it is so that I can make it up to her. I mentioned to her that as friends, she should feel comfortable telling me what’s putting a strain on our relationship. She said, work, school, and bunch of excuses and she told how she is tired etc…So I asked her how come these things are putting a strain on our relationship, but not on hers with G. She said nothing.

    The following day, she sent a text to G and I, telling us that the weather is nice and we should do something. LOL this is coming from the same person who the previous day, just gave me a load of bull shit about how she was tired of everyone. A 180 flip with no explanation. Anyway, I kept my distance, but remained polite.

    Embarrassed by her attitude, she went on to only communicating with me by text when she needed something. She had literally stopped talking with me or acknowledging my existence in the apartment. She would not respond to my e-mails regarding house stuffs nor texts. We would cross in the hallway, she would not greet me in the morning, unless if I looked at her straight in the eyes and say explicitly: Good morning G!.

    Of course the walls are thin and G took pleasure in the drama. Never did she step in and say, com’on girl why are you not inviting her to your grad, why are you not communicating with her. I mean they slept in the same room.

    G had her graduation, she did not invite me. In the morning of the grad, she sent me a text telling me they are having lunch in some place, to stop by if I feel like it. I was out of the city that morning, so of course I did not go to this non-invitation. Her parents were so pissed of at me because they thought that as a friend, a “sister” I should have been present at her grad. She did not even have the decency to give some excuse about my absence. She let them think that I deliberately chose to not attend and she did not tell them that she did not invite me. She tried to screw me up with rent etc…

    Anyhow, so that was the first time I was dragged into such drama/friendship.

    I went from being disappointed, to being pissed off, then grieved the lost friendship and forced myself to forget about both G and B. I was still trying to understand how could someone being so close to you make such a 160 turn on you. I was mad at the fact that she never had the gut to tell me what was pushing us apart, even when I reached out to her. I was disappointed in her for not telling me from the get go if she did not see eye to eye on something.

    So 6 months after we departed from each other’s life, I woke up one day and told myself that if someone does not care enough to protect a friendship and try to screw me over rent like she did, then this person was not a true friend and I would not need them in my life. Unfortunately, after that epiphany, I had a bad day at work and when I came home, I realized that I needed friends and perhaps missed my G because we could just chat and rant about work drama, and console each other. B has been messaging me since we parted ways. I never heard from G nor do I wish to hear from her. I am trying to let go of what happened, because even though I don’t wish and will certainly not rekindle a friendship with G, I don’t want to let bitterness and resentment eat me.

  24. Patty says:

    I am currently going through a really hard time. My dad died last October and I’m now the guardian of my adult autistic brother. I have 2 other out of state siblings who will not help and at the moment are not speaking to me. I’ve had a very close friend for the last 2 to 3 yrs. Last night I worked up the nerve to ask why I had not been included in some activities. She said I’m not part of the group because I question things and don’t “go with the flow”. My whole world has been turned upside down. I’m in charge of two estates, teach full time, had to move in with my brother, deal with getting my house ready to sell, and deal with depression. Throughout all this I put myself out there for my friends and helped them when they needed it. I’m devastated! I dread the thought of the holidays and now I feel like I’ve lost the one person I trusted. Thanks for listening!!

    • jacqueline says:

      Patty, first of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your father.

      Do you have anyone to help you with your brother’s care? I don’t know where you live, but are there any government programs you could apply to?

      Is there someone you could talk to either professionally, or one of the teachers you work with, who could maybe suggest where you could get help for this heavy load you are carrying? You do not want to burn out or have a nervous breakdown. You cannot continue to do this all by yourself. Is there anyway you could contact your siblings and have a talk with them, face-to-face? This is their brother too.

      The holidays are a very difficult time of year. The holidays are always perfect in the movies/tv.

      That woman was not your friend. A friend is there in good times and especially the bad times. Forget about her! She does not deserve you.

  25. Anon says:

    I recently visited my best friend (Michelle) who lives on the other side of the country, in Utah. We have been best friends since we were in grade school and we remained good friends while attending different colleges. She also invited one of her friends (Amy) from college to hang out with us during this trip. I don’t know Amy very well, but she seemed like a nice person. However, during my 2 days with them, I felt completely excluded for a couple of reasons. The first reason was that most of the conversation revolved around either discussions about their major (both of them majored in geology) or college gossip. Since I didn’t major in geology nor did I attend the same school, I felt left out because it was hard to make conversation, besides asking what certain jargon meant. The second reason I felt left out was because both Michelle and Amy are a foot taller than me. Therefore whenever we went on hikes or whenever we were walking around town, the two of them would walk ahead of me; I actually had to jog to keep up with them. I felt so hurt and excluded that I began to shut down and give up on trying to make conversations. This apparently upset them because they now felt awkward being around me (Michelle actually offered to take me to the airport before my stay ended). It just boggles me because in my defense, I do feel like I tried to get to know Amy. I tried to talk to her when Michelle wasn’t around, but Amy was too preoccupied with her cell phone; it was like talking to a brick wall. I tried to jog to keep up with them, but that didn’t work. And I even tried to talk to Michelle about this whole situation after the trip was over. The problem is that she is avoiding my phone calls. So today I texted her about the situation, but she got defensive and accused me for having a bad attitude, being disconnected, and starting high school drama. Anyway, my question is, how do you handle these situations? How are you supposed to act in certain social situations in which you are butted out from conversations? How do you react when people isolate you and go off into their own bubble? Do you shut down and don’t say anything? Do you disconnect from them at that very moment? Or do you speak up and call them out on it? I ask this because Michelle claimed that I should have acted like I enjoyed being there despite the exclusion. I would appreciate any advice anyone has. I hope this wasn’t too confusing to understand.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Anon-
      Sorry for the late reply. Its hard to say what, if anything, you did that was wrong. It is likely that Michelle was just being defensive and trying to pass the blame to you, as many people do in these situations. Michelle was the tie between you and Amy and it was Michelle’s responsibility to make you both feel welcome and to make you both comfortable with each other. Not sure of the details, but I am wondering why Michelle had to invite someone else.
      I have learned the hard way that being excluded should be a queue to pull away completely. I hate to say it, but it seems these situations are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.. there are nice people out there (like myself) who would listen to a friend when they feel they are being excluded, some would say this is what a real friend would do. But there are others, many others, who view this as a sign of weakness and calling attention to it will just make it worse.. I hate it that this is the reality, but this is what I have learned. Another important factor is what you say when you call it to their attention. The last time I brought attention to this type of situation, I was very angry and mean and it completely severed any chance that I could be friends with the group again. I hope everything works out for you better than it did for me. My 2014 resolution (besides the typical losing of 10 lbs- LOL) is to find a book club. A new friend is always nice and I am hoping to meet some this year. Good Luck. Above all things, value yourself even if those around you do not seem to. :-)

      • Anon says:

        Hi Elizabeth,

        Thank you so much for your advice. Since it is the holidays and my plate is really full of family things, I have decided to just take a break from dealing with Michelle. Perhaps some distance would do us some good. However, thank you for your suggestion about the book club. Perhaps meeting new people and making new friends is the way to go.

        Happy Holidays.

      • yvonne says:

        Hi, start your own book club or language club. I have started to teach myself french over the last year and met someone there who has become a good friend. There is also the option of learning with someone on skype over the internet.I know having a tangible friend is best, though maybe an internet bookclub is a second best. Some people have scrabble clubs on the internet. For me the experience has been, stepping out of the known sphere creates new contacts somehow.Celebrate your own uniqueness. There are bound to be many other people in most communities that have been shunned for wearing the wrong clothes, for simply not bowing to the queen bee, for asking the wrong question, for walking wrong , for eating wrong, for having the wrong partner, so the list goes on.Life has so much to offer, especially if we take the option of looking under another rock, peering around another corner. Each of us are amazing individuals, even though some of us celebrate that in a way that resembles Hitler’s sister. I know if you did not do it Hitler’s way there were bad consequences, though through personal experience, I encourage you to throw a party for yourself and celebrate who you are, declare it out loud. I am kind. I am worthy. I like the clothes I wear. I like how I am a friend. Maybe its not the question why queen bee is like she is but how could I be living in a way that shares my gifts and talents with those around me, and engaging in activities and functions with people that allows you to be you and you allow you to be you. I believe we are all very capable of creating new things, ideas, etc. Queen bees suck that kind of life and creativity out of us, which I think is very sad, because then there is less variety. As the saying goes build the church and they will come. Jump whole heartedly into being you, acknowledging you, and what you need will comme.

        • Elizabeth says:

          Yvonne-
          Great advice! I am in awe of the synchronicity here! Seems to me like a sign from God.. I am the same Elizabeth who posted in Nov. and I am still yet to find a book club, but have always wanted to learn Spanish. Recently (literally within the last month), I have started looking into Spanish programs. Now I am going to look for a language club, which did not even occur to me yet. And yes, you are absolutely correct that a friend does not need to be someone who is there physically. Thank you very much!!

  26. Social Loner? says:

    I have also gotten close to a group of three other girlfriends and I am now also on the outs with one of them, the one who I have known the longest and who I felt closest to. Lets call her B. Here’s the story: I invited these friends to the movies, my treat. As we were driving to the movies, B was talking about an impromptu party she had at her house the night before with several mutual friends. I mentioned that it sounded great and that I wish I had been there – maybe she could call me next time. Since the party happened after a concert they were at bit that I hadn’t been at, I understood when she explained that there wasn’t really time to invite anyone else. We sit through the movies, talk some about it, and carpool back to our homes. As I am looking at Facebook the next day, I see a picture posted with these three friends who went out later that evening to hang out and listen to a mutually lived local musician. I was crushed – seriously so – because clearly they didn’t want me to join them. I posted that they all looked beautiful and like they were having fun. My “close” friend called me, saying that going that night “just happened” and that she didn’t intentionally leave me out. (Really? We were just all together an hour or so before. ) I spent a lot of time soul searching, crying, repeat that summer. I decided not to keep persuing the issue because I realized, painfully, that B just didn’t want to be around me as much as I wanted to be around her. I have a tendency to be over sensitive anyway, bit I have struggled to come to terms with this for over a year.
    The fact is, she doesn’t have to like me or doing things with me. I don’t know if I did anything wrong or not, but I chose not to keep asking her if something I had done or said had made her mad. I kind of figured that the ball is in her court. So, instead I have been trying to work on what I have control over. I have gone through a really tough year (bankruptcy, two foreclosures, a daughter who became pregnant, a bully boss) and I had no friends to talk to or shoulders to cry on. Still, if I want friends to care about me, than I can focus on being a caring friend. I can persue other interests and work on fostering more friendships with people who want to be around me too. After over a year of working on this (along with trying to have a more positive attitude) I would love to say that I am over being rejected as a close friend. It still hurts, a lot, but not as much.
    I read this page today because I stumbled on to plans B made with two other women I am also friends with while excluding me. But, the fact that I want to be close with them more than they do with me still sucks. Since I am still hurt, I feel like it’s time to try to talk with B again to see if our friendship can be revived and even thrive. But, I know this is just as likely to end it and cause awkwardness with our other friends. Uuuugggghhh. Is it easier to just be lonely? Maybe. Is it better to just be lonely? I’m honestly not sure.

    • Cyn says:

      It seems to be worse the older we get. I am almost 49 years old and have no time for cliques at that age. If you want a new friends I am available. :) Peace and Love to you

      • Angie says:

        I agree, it’s happening to me too! Women seem to get worse!

        • Zoe says:

          What a wonderful discussion. So relevant to me too at the moment!!

          • Jane says:

            very relevant topic to me . I’m amazed this happens so frequently I’ve been in a triangle friendship with my home town girls for 45 years.now that two of them are best buddies, I’m being excluded. It still bothers me & I’m age 55.

      • Celia says:

        I am open and available to be anyone’s friend. I agree that it gets worse as we get older. I have never felt so isolated in my entire life.
        Blessings to all you sisters!

    • Cyndi says:

      It is relevant absolutely, especially with the holidays upon us. I have gotten rid of those so called people who want to have me as a friend when it is convenient. I would rather spend my time alone than to be with people who are phony and who only call when they want something or have nothing else to do.

  27. Stacey says:

    I have had the same problem. Always felt left out from conversations and would often catch my girlfriends catching each others eyes whilst they thought I didn’t notice. It all recently came to a head and I’m now not talking to two of them as I expressed an opinion and they didn’t like it. Anyway my major problem is how do you deal with these people going forward . I am also in a small town and it is hard to avoid them. I will see them at baseball games or at fundraising fetes. I feel very uncomfortable and moving is not an option. I lose sleep over this and it is making me very anxious.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Stacey-
      That’s a tough one.. I am in a bigger city and I have thought about what I will do if I do see any of them out and about. Smiling a lot definitely helps, and the more confident I become the more I realize that they are the ones with the problem, not me.. But I am still working on this one myself. Although I havent seen them, I know I really could at some point and I dont know how I will act. Does anyone else have some insight?

      • Stacey says:

        Thanks Elizabeth. I can try the smiling. Its hard though. I hope as time passes I won’t worry about it as much or overthink it. Its amazing though how you can get dropped so quickly by a bunch of girlfriends.

    • Zoe says:

      I lost sleep and tears for weeks over my situation. However, I am training to be a Counsellor at the moment and I go to a psychic development workshop every week. Both of these things help me to realise that I have choices in life and that I have a whole load of wonderful friends that respect me outside of the clique friends I have. Be happy, be free, that’s what I say!! Look at what these friends offer you anyway, and if they don’t make you happy,ditch them! It’s your life!

  28. Diane says:

    I have carefully read every ones response with regard to the initial comment. And I’m so glad this site exists. Here’s my story:
    For the last few years I have been suffering with being ostracized from a group of women who were once considered my friends. I began to feel like one of them was envious of my new “Zumba” sculpted body- although I was always fit, she was considered the petite and thin one.
    So I’m going to put this question out there- as we grow older, I’m 50, do women start to become more insecure with themselves and “turn” on the one who ages more gracefully? Who receives more positive feedback and perhaps who wears a size smaller in jeans?
    I’m currently undergoing intense EMDR therapy for the social anxiety I have undergone over these experiences. The truth is- I’m over sensitive and feel negative energy from women – so when I’m going to a party etc- I have stomach aches and start to get extremely nervous. Through all these treatments, I’m still a wreck.
    So, I was listening to Dr Laura one afternoon and she relates to a women who stated a similar experience to all of us. A lot of
    Our issues with women have to do with our relationships with our moms and sisters. My mom taught me to be her caretaker. My sisters made fun of me and left me out of their plans consistently. So therefore, I always felt very sensitive and vulnerable around women. And you could imagine my reaction when they would not invite me on their shopping trips etc. however, all this does not excuse bad behavior. Women treating women badly is something that is completely unacceptable! When you draw a line in the sand- dont let that person who hurt you cross it, don’t draw another line. Put your foot down. Well, I did just that, after taking years of obnoxious toxic abuse from these women, I drew a line and became very intolerant. All the while keepin it a secret only to myself and becoming more reclusive.
    When it became time for me to sponsor one of them for this unique members only club- I withdrew their application. It was wrong for me to do- but it came on the heels of a fall out between us and our husbands. Nothing was going to Remedy the situation. Especially since they felt completely “entitled” and had been using us all along .
    Now that I can step back and look at this, I can see clearly how egocentric these people are.
    Long story short- I was cast out by the entire organization bc queen bee has rolled my name around in the mud. She had turned women who have no knowledge of this into efficianados on the subject. I have no leg to Stand on and cannot find a way to clear the false rumors that follow me wherever I go in this tiny town.
    I have looked into relocating once my daughter graduates in 3 years, but until then, I’m miserable and trust no one! Thank god for my husband and daughter.
    Final thoughts- so people can act like jerks and the person they attack calls them out on it- and we’re wrong??? Huh? HELP!

  29. Pamela says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one. New Year’s Eve this past year my fiancé took it upon himself to tell my ‘best friend’ (friend A) exactly what he thought of her. To be fair, some of what he said was right on the mark, but he had absolutely no business doing that. I heard about it from her repeatedly-even tho I continued to try to be a good friend (sat with her when her cat died, offered to loan her money to pay vet bills, etc.). He then made a facebook comment to her-not really nasty but she is very easily offended. THEN, he told another member of the group (friend B) that he enjoyed talking to her, but not the best friend. Of course, friend B told friend A, and when I heard about it the story was he told friend B that he hated friend A. I confronted him, and he said he told friend B that he ‘wasn’t keen’ on talking to friend A.
    Whatever the truth (and friend B has modified stories before), friend A has pretty much shut me out. I should add that friend A has consistently said things like ‘long hair on women over 50 looks horrible’ (I have long hair and am over 50) and similar comments-and friend B accidently included me on a conversation where she accused me of plagiarizing students work (which is laughable since I’m the only one in the group who is an active academic). So, there’s a history there.
    Long story shorter, found out last night they had their regular Friday evening dinner, and excluded me. I was hurt, very hurt. I’ve taken friend B to the doctors for ‘tests’ (hypochondriac, but whatever) and her cat to a vet 2 hours away for ‘tests’ (hypochondria extends to the cat). I’ve personally buried (dug the graves for) 4 of friend A’s cats, took her to the hospital after a car accident, etc. Friend C, who removed herself from the group a couple years ago, has been in severe financial straights since not getting tenure a year ago, I’ve sat with when her cat was dying, bought her oil for her house, lent her money, took her out to lunch on the anniversary of her cats death, etc I don’t think has been involved in active attempts to shut me out, discredit me or ridicule me (e.g. long hair) was also at dinner. Friend D stays out of it.
    My point I guess is that I finally confronted them-texted two of them (B and C-A doesn’t do cell phones) that if they couldn’t stand to be around me because of what my fiancé did they should have told me-AND I called B and said that I knew that what the fiancé did was inappropriate, that I was sorry for what he did, but that I was really hurt that they would do this to me. She claimed that a week ago, when I said I couldn’t go to a movie with them because we had construction going on-and that I would be tied up for 2-3 days-that I said 2-3 weeks I would be unavailable-so she didn’t include me. Frankly, I don’t believe this-I feel that she is (again, like she did with the plagiarism accusations)lying to cover her butt. I double-checked the email conversation and sure enough I never said anything about 2-3 weeks-only that I couldn’t go to the movie.
    I’m furious at him for what I view as his harassment of A (although I know A well enough to know that she overreacts and considers the stupidest stuff an insult). I’m furious at them for treating me this way. I think I’m done with friends and relationships all around.

  30. BethieMom says:

    I know I am late to post, but I am so glad I found this page today! I can also relate and it is very therapeutic for me to read these similar stories. I am having a tough time dealing with rejection from a group of girls who all stopped taking to me, a group I considered lifelong friends. The hardest part was that one of them completely told me off and belittled me for every flaw I have, even though herself and the other girls have these flaws in common with me. Then all of them completely cut me off. For a long time I felt as if I was grieving a death and this was weird to me until I realized that grieving was a natural response, because this truly was a loss in my life. All of this conspired about 7 months ago and I slowly feel myself getting better. It hurts so bad when a person or people that you care(d) stop caring about you. I attribute their coldness to the fact that I was going through a really rough time personally and they could only handle “sunshine and rainbows”. Unfortunately people do change and misunderstandings arise. Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories. Thought I would add one for others who this could help.

    • Friendship Doc says:

      Thanks for adding your story, BethieMom. I’m sure it will be reassuring to others who are going through something similar.

      Warm regards, Irene

  31. Jen A says:

    This is depressing to read, in a way – because it seems like we don’t outgrow these behaviors. It is also comforting, in a way, to not be the only one in this situation. Like the person above me, I am hoping for a catharsis.

    Our neighborhood is very small-town-like. We have lived here for 8 years, and have been pretty close to one family (spent holidays together, vacations, etc) – but the woman in this family seems to shift her friendship ties periodically. She has a circle of close women friends, of whom I have consistently been one. I have outlived many of the previous shifts, but am feeling that my time has come. I have always been a little on the fringe, which I have attributed to being the only one in our group (even with the shifts) who works outside the home (and so I don’t have as much time to hang out). She has said that this was a problem before. But I always respond to plans, and try to come whenever I can, even if it is just for a while. I take my own turns to host events, too. The current circle seems to have a couple of members who are intentionally not including me. (We have nearly weekly happy hours on Fridays, and I know of several I have not been invited to -usually it is the same hosts who somehow neglect to include me). They have no problem attending when I host! I know that one of them is two-faced, and think that she has been stabbing me in the back (for what, I am not sure, but it doesn’t matter).

    And – children do play a role. Many of this group has daughters of a similar age range and are all very tight. I also have a daughter in this age range. But my daughter is very introverted and one of the other daughters has been downright mean to her – so she avoids this group (we work on other friendships outside the group). THe two-faced one has expressed how happy she is with the girl’s group being just the way it is – (in front of two other women besides myself who have similarly aged daughters). I keep hoping that the main friend will tire of two-face and move on from her(this has been her pattern in the past), but I am getting tired of being left out and feel like this painful pattern is not worth it. I appreciated Jen’s comments above about recognizing that maybe this is a sign that it is time to move on and focus on other things – or other friendships. It isn’t fun anymore. I realize that I am also prone to being super-sensitive, and know that this is contributing, but am just feeling over the whole thing.

    I hope that each of you finds comfort in someone or something else that is important to you. I hope you each appreciates your own value and doesn’t allow other’s childish behaviors to bring you down. Best wishes– Jen A

    • Zoe says:

      I lost sleep and tears for weeks over my situation. However, I am training to be a Counsellor at the moment and I go to a psychic development workshop every week. Both of these things help me to realise that I have choices in life and that I have a whole load of wonderful friends that respect me outside of the clique friends I have. Be happy, be free, that’s what I say!! Look at what these friends offer you anyway, and if they don’t make you happy,ditch them! It’s your life!

  32. Blue-collar Soul in a White-collar World says:

    I am late in the conversation. I think talking about it is a good solution instead of making assumptions and letting doubt burn the friendship. However, both party must have an open heart to face the issue. I know someone who is double-faced, a very close friend, but that double face is not only reserved for strangers. In the events that something similar happens, regardless of who is being excluded, she will pretend that everything is right and will not sincerely discuss the issue. You can’t fake things with fakes like that.

  33. val says:

    Thank god for this site! I can hardly take the rejection any more. Im alone all the time . Im a stay at home mom and my husband works afternoon shift. Im never invited anywhere. I have health problems and unable work so i have no chance of making friends. My “friends ” either ditch me or don’t invite me at all. Ive had to remove myself from fb because i would cry every time a frind would post about an activity!

    • Cyn says:

      Hey Val, I know exactly what you are going through. I am from NYC and currently live in Cheyenne Wyoming. I have a son with Autism and I am divorced. I have noticed that people here are very cliquish and catty, women here are not opened to new friendships and the friendships here are based primarily on HS ties and not much else. In NYC we leave that all behind at graduation and we move on in our lives. I have best friends that I have been close to for over 35 years. I am 48 now, these friends also live in other places and have faced the same thing. I thought I left that kind of nonsense in HS but it seems to get worse the older we get. I am not the type of person who cares about what others think of me. I walk to the beat of my own drum and I think that for people who are insecure that might be intimidating. I am not the girl who needs to have a group of catty wannabees to feel good about myself, those people are insecure and need acceptance.

    • I totally understand what you are saying Val. I’m beside myself with rejection! Have strugged with it all my life. In the last year, discovered the root cause…my mother is mentally ill with narcissistic personality disorder. I have been sick with ME/CFS for fourteen years, but have had it in a kind of ‘remission’ the past 6 years, before entering a horrible relapse end of 2011. Horrific stress set it off. My marriage hit a crisis (we almost didnt make it through), then my sister who has always been so close, decided to stop speaking to me and side with my npd mother after mother lied and manipulated (my punishment for setting boundaries and trying to break free of her). My best friend of 9 years also decided we needed ‘space’ and we called our friendship quits (it had been toxic many years). I have slways supported and advised my sister, but she hasn’t spoken to me for 18 months. marriage slowly improving, but I’m so burnt from all the rejection, I wonder who will be next to say they want to cut me off?! Also, another long-term friend said she couldn’t support me as she had issues of her own to deal with. I have a 7 year old daughter at school, and I can’t work due to my health. I go to a church where I have been stuggling to fit into a wonderful group of women, but it’s so hard! They’ve known eachother much longer, and I always feel like I’m on the outer. Often, I isolate myself and hide away, it feels safer…but is depressing. I like going to my daughter’s school as no one really knows the trauma I have been in the past 2 years and I can have fun, superficial conversations…however…these are never satisfying friendships. Feeling so burnt…I’m almost 39.

      • Wendy says:

        … My story sounds almost the same as yours. My sister & mother have been so mean, (always toxic also) that I finaly walked away 7 yrs. ago from emotional, spiritual, & intellectual abuse. Doubtful I will ever get over with, if anyone excludes me, I go nuts, but only within myself.

    • Cyn says:

      Val, I am on FB as well and if you want a new friend. I am open :)My name is Cyndi Ortiz Brown
      Why don’t we start our own friendship group. I am from NYC and all my friends are in NYC, not in Cheyenne. The ties that bind here are all pretty silly. I graduated HS 30 years ago and have moved on but it seems like many women never leave that mindset.

  34. Jen says:

    Wow…I wish we could all be friends with each other…:) we probably wouldn’t take each other for granted…
    It is very sad and also a relief to know this happens to others…but what to do?
    It can be a very lonely road…even more so when the men get along great with each other…!!! Why can’t we be more like them in their behaviors??
    I can say that when this has happened to me…I step back and ask myself: 1. Am I being oversensitive? (I know I can be…just saying…)
    2. Am I creating this situation (usually without realizing it?)
    3. I step back and really look at the kinds of things these women say and do…do I really want to be around that? Is it uplifting or toxic?
    4. I wonder if this is one of life’s ways of saying…there are other things that need your focus right now (be it my kids, marriage, career, etc…) and I put my energy into that
    5. I realize that all things in life have a balance and that there are highs and lows and they change…is this just a low that will work itself out?
    In essence, I try to step back, try (really this is hard) to not take it personally because, like all of you, it can be easy to beat ourselves up, to question what we did wrong, to analyze all of the imperfections of ourselves to the point of feeling worthless…DON”T DO IT!!! I have read all of the comments, you are all sensitive to something you might have done..that is called consideration!!! But remember…the other women need to have that quality too or really…are they worth being friends with?
    Big hugs to you all!!

    • Suzanna says:

      Great perpective Jen!…I try to do the same, I am being over-senstive??..or making assumptions??..then I try my very best not to ruminate over friendships or the feeling of being an outsider. I am a popular person in my lil’town but not really part of a group, but there is a group of moms,that just seem so perfect..always doing something fun and expensive..that they photo document all over Facebook..
      Recently these ladies invited me to a get together, it was eye-opening. They are so competetive with each other, about what they have or trips or kids accomplishments, theri weight, ect.. After that nite I realized these ladies are out of league! I beat myself up enough about things, I don’t need friends who have to one-up each other.

    • Cyn says:

      You can all reach me on Facebook. My name is Cyndi Ortiz Brown

    • Themom says:

      Hi, thank you for your post. I’ve recently been rejected, again. My daughter and I are members of a sports group and have the same friends, kind of. The friends are mostly in their 20s, 30s and 40s,a few are in their 50s and I’m almost 60. Yesterday my daughter mentioned something about a party that one of the couples is hosting. the invites were sent through facebook as events. I looked at my events and I didn’t get an invite. It’s also a closed event so I can’t see who all was invited (it’s for this Sunday). I’m friends on facebook with the hosting couple, and I thought we all got along fine in the group setting. My daughter said that the people who were invited weren’t just those who are in the sports group. I’m perplexed as to why I wasn’t invited. SO, I am so hurt and wondering what I’ve done or said, or even not done to be treated this way. After the last sports event, the husband posted group photos on his fb page. Someone else mentioned that one of the other members might have a summer party so I replied with ‘please keep us posted’. the husband then ‘liked’ my post, to me, meaning the he would let me know of any parties going on in the summer.
      Sorry for the disjointed story. I’m tired and upset and can’t seem to get over this. My daughter tried to make me feel better by saying’maybe they are inviting you through me’; but I am a member of the group too, and not through her association with it.
      Sorry to ramble, thanks for reading. I’m so sorry we all have to go through this. Thanks for having this site and these stories.
      ~Janet

  35. Natalia says:

    I lived in USA for 12 years, and I encountered many situations like the ones you refer to in which I was bullied and socially excluded. My husband worked in a small town and we were “forced” to socialize with all his coworkers and wives. It was like dealing with sharks…if they smelled blood, they would eat you alive. The problem is that American culture promotes bulling or at least it doesn’t condemn it. The minute that you don’t follow the group norms or show some kind of weakness (such us being an introvert,) you become a looser and the group has the right to punish you by ostracizing and trashing you. The problem is that many people follow the bully because they are too afraid to end like you.
    The biggest problem is that you start thinking that there is something wrong with you.
    Please ladies, you all sound like fantastic people. Don’t let these frenemies ruin your self esteem. Be strong. You deserve to have good friends who support you. The reason why they treat you like this is because you allow it to happen.

    • Themom says:

      Thanks for your post. I’m sorry you had to experience this at the hands of other ‘humans’ I know I allow it to happen but can’t get over the hurt.

    • gisele says:

      I’m 50 & being ostracized for not looking as good as I used to & not being as fashionable (as I am low income) I live in a small town where bullies are heroes & coolness is everything… i wish I could move ..but there is no escape :*( it is so disappointing to realize that the nastyness of high school was just the beginning!

    • gisele says:

      I live in a small town where bullies are heroes & coolness is everything… i wish I could move to the city but it’s too expensive ..but there is no escape :*( it is so disappointing to realize that the nastyness of high school was just the beginning!

  36. Sharon says:

    Update. Thanks for the posts. I take on board that I have been distancing in order to protect myself and I have made this known to the friend who has enquired after me. In setting up a time to meet it was cancelled (she had a good reason for this) but then rang a few days later saying she could not set aside anytime in the next few wks to meet but suggested we speak on the phone. I was put on the spot and with a need to talk I reluctantly said ok to this. Though for me saying she had no time to meet didnt match my view if how i would orioritise someone i had kept conveying concern for. Anyway, It wasn’t a good idea. She was scathing in her assessment of my behavior at weekend away and was unable to hear my hurt and sadness about changes in our friendship and within the bigger group. I felt misunderstood completely. When I said my focus was on friendships with people not a group she became very angry and said she didn’t have time for individual friendships. I felt my way of engaging was being judged and I was being punished to a degree by not going along with group norms. When I tried to reflect back what she was saying about seeing ea other individually and not in group she would get furious with me. I was just reflecting back what she was saying so I could be clear then make my own decisions as a result – but she thought I was trying to put pressure on her. I felt I was being chastised for asking to spend time with people other than within the larger group. Why do you have to see people individually she asked? I think although I have probably been sending vibe of powerlessness, and awkwardness which has changed some of the dynamic, I do feel that who I am and how I think is not fitting in with the clique agenda of the dominant group. Groupthink in action. Her rage at me was about upsetting the apple cart for her – one who had arisen in power within the group over the past 18months. Kids are irrelevant – many of our children are not close – this isn’t an issue at all.

    So the call had to end. I felt I talked calmly and tried to reflect what I heard. I owned my quiet behavior of late contributed to confusion. She didn’t want to own any behavior in relation to exclusiveness. We agreed to disagree and our friendship continues whilst we work through the post conflict awkwardness. Privately I’ve decided to pursue the friendships individually and steer away from larger group gatherings – and accept that the level iof emotional intelligence within the group is varying and that many if my passions are not reciprocated in the group so I am not one of the sheep. I think there is a group view that this difference is not accepted although I’m not sure people consciously see the subtle ways this belief is expressed.

    Thanks all – like to hear further feedback. Pls do not post anything to Facebook at all – the letter is quite revealing.

    Shaz

    • Gwen says:

      Dear Sharon,
      I wish I had seen your original post back in Nov ’12. I’m sorry you are goin through this. It’s clear in reading between your two posts that you have done much soul searching and reflection on your own values and what a friendship means to you and what you need, not what the group needs. It is very difficult to recreate yourself and move forward, but you can and will and you’ll be wiser for it.

      In my situation, my group friends looked the other way when the dysfunction erupted (queen bee administered silent treatment and exclusion to me on a group family vacation). It was sneaky as she acted normal amongst husbands, and silent and exclusionary to me in women only situations. This behavior would switch back and forth. My behavior over the vacation looked strange to many, I appeared bewildered, confused, quiet and isolated. I approached her and asked her if we could resolve whatever problem there was. She “didn’t know what I was talking about”. The vacation personally was a disaster for me, I sat in my room isolated by the queen bees and wanna bees (not invited on runs, lunch, etc). 2 weeks later, she reached out back to normal ready to resume our old friendship with no explanation. I asked if we could chat about the situation…she felt “sorry that I felt that way”. I’m not crazy, I know when people are not treating me the way I want to be treated. It was clear her followers didn’t want to get kicked out either. 10 years of friendship down the drain. I tried to rescitate it, but there is no trust….no trust no friendship.

      I realized my punishment was administered because I decided to be independent and seek out other friendships, it was met with scorn, silence, exclusion, and subtle examples of punishment for the others if they fled. I live in a small town, have children the same age, so my family has been largely excluded from social gatherings. We had some great times together as ladies, families, and couples and now it is few and far between and when a social event does get put together, I mentally have to prepare myself in order to protect myself.

      This situation set me free of alot of things that were keeping me down. It forced me to work on myself rather than working for the group. I began working part time and love it. I also reached out to an aquaintance I had met years earlier in my town. An intravert who appreciates personal friendships and steers clear of cliques. It’s not as fun and exciting but it feels true and I walk away feeling good about myself. When I am in the company of this clique the dysfunction is so crystal clear with my new outside persepctive and new life. I feel fortunate to have been freed. Albeit a little meloncoly of the good old days, but realized I had been so naive.

      I hope you are doing well Sharon, you sound like a wonderful friend that has great insight into other peoples feelings as well as your own. It’s a valuable quality that many don’t possess. Take care

      • Sharon says:

        Gwen, thanks for your kind words. It has been over 12 months since I put my update here to my original post. Things have changed dramatically in a year. My friend I shared my feelings with about feeling excluded did eventually end the friendship in a very painful way – we continued to communicate by txt generally after our initial discussions which came to an abrupt end a few months into this year – around my birthday – she left a gift for me to which I replied with kindness by txt and never heard from her again – until I learnt from a mutual friend of her planned birthday gathering (which I was not invited to). My husband became involved in this point – communicating with my friend’s partner about the coldness in which his wife had been treating me. The relationship ceased with her stopping contact. I did send her a card, after much internal wrestling – which went unacknowledged. It has caused strain on all other friendships within the larger group — it was a powerful decision on her behalf to not include me in her gathering. It sent all the other women clear messages about her intentions with me. Hence Ive not been included in any group functions since then. Not one of them has asked for my story. One friend still lingers within the group but I find her fence sitting rather repulsive to say the least. She is of the view that she can go to group gatherings and keep some sort of friendship with me by txt (no invitations offered). I respond kindly but have found myself not initiating contact – it all feels so inauthentic.

        Much pain has been experienced – and I have endured ongoing rumor and relational aggression within the wider network. I have confided in friends (2) who are not living in the same town and have nothing to do with the network here. My social confidence and social lovability has taken a very big hit but it feels as though that is changing. It has helped me to assess my values and to assess those of potential friends – I am keen to invest in reciprocal friendships only and if developing connections do not have this quality, I reassess their value in my life.

        I have conducted myself with integrity and am proud to say that. My kindness has been mistaken for weakness but I will not change this about myself out of fear of being taken for granted. It hurts to still see the group functioning and attending events but it is the idea of the group, not the actual dynamic that i miss – it is a toxic dynamic that exists and I imagine that with me now gone, the next scapegoat role will be developing. It is inevitable. I am pleased to not be part of that.

        Good luck everyone – Shaz

        • Irene says:

          Thanks so much for updating your story, Shaz. I’m sorry that there is still some pain involved but that you can feel good that you handled it the best way you could. Warm regards, Irene

  37. Jen says:

    This is a great forum. I too feel this pain. I have learned over the years that I must be doing something to facilitate this exclusion. I’m not saying I or anyone deserves to be bullied but what I’m saying is when you see the situation repeating itself from grade school to high school to adulthood then you need to look within yourself a bit. This is what I believe to fuel this fire. 1. I’m drawn to exciting people. 2. I’m insecure 3. My feelings are easily hurt when it comes to certain situations i.e.. anything that validates me as being much liked as others. A situation that comes to mind is that in my circle of friends there are birthday celebrations at a restaurant for many of them but never for me. Some bday party ideas for others start up right around my bday time and mine is never mentioned. 4. I am quick to jump to self pity (look at #3). 5. This is the worse. I have always “saved” myself by walking away. Excluding myself. Creating a distance in order to save my feelings. This will result in losing friends. So here’s what I “try” to do to address it (a work in progress). 1. Being drawn to exciting people can mean being drawn to self centred people with their interest as a priority. These people can also be loving, caring, generous but the bottom line is they are NOT boring therefore all like minded people are drawn to them. 2. My insecurity is at bay when I’m in the “circle” but any hint of not being included I will look way to deep into what is going on and internalize it as being bigger then it is. I can clearly see that others are not included in everything and if I took their more laid back approach and not try look deeper into the root of the problem I an enjoy the friendship as it. 3. Ah, the birthday party problem. Wow, I get very depressed about this every year for days at a time. I even planned to be out of country on my 50th as I was so worried about how I would handle the rejection. With a great deal of my friends turning 50 in advance of mine I was so worried all their over the top celebrations would valid my lack of worth when my bday came and went. Going away with my husband on a fabulous holiday was a great idea however I cried for months in advance of my bday and months after when it seemed to me that my friends didn’t care much. # 3, is a hard one for me to fix as you can see I again have jump to #4 self pity. Okay, number five. This is what I’m not going to do this time. I am not going to exile myself because of 1, 2, 3 and 4. There is one gal in our group that is the queen bee and if you get on her wrong side she will take you down and the rest will either 1. think she’s right because after all she is the queen bee or 2. they will jump on her band wagon be cause they are naive or 3. eat or be eaten, survival mood. Either agree with queen bee or your number will come up next time. Please keep in mind that queen bee is not a bad person however there are a few in the group that aren’t so kind and will take queen bee’s lead and run with it. Everyone else are pretty good people and I want to keep many in my life. This is what I have to do. 1. I have to stop running the craziness through my head. Just let gueen bee be qeen bee, let the mean soldiers do their thing, don’t jump on any mean band wagons, cultivate healthy friendships, be kind to everyone, don’t have knee jerk reactions, don’t be victimized…………..seriously, we have control of all these situations. If you still want to be in the group, put your best food forward, be someone people want to be around. And for Christ sake if your bday is so bloody important throw your own party. haha, I’m not that cured yet but I’m working on it. In fact, I came home tonight crying because queen bee set up one of her mean soldiers to take a jab at me. All because I didn’t support queen bees verbal attack on someone that was not in the room and a slight aquintance to us all.

    • Z says:

      Amazing advice, Jen! It is amazing how common this experience is for women of all ages. I guess we have been under some misconception that because we are “adults” that we would outgrow this kind of behavior.
      Men have pecking orders they naturally fall into… and I suppose women have their Queen Bees. I guess just having the awareness of it helps a great deal.
      Personal responsibility is the greatest thing we can do for ourselves. We all have triggers from our past experiences and upbringing that often colors our present relationships. We see situations through emotional filters… leading to many misperceptions and victimizations. If we give ourselves the moment to recalibrate, often we realize that many of our assumptions are off-base. We also receive behaviors we mirror. We may say that our friends are excluding us; all the while we’re the ones distancing ourselves from our friends. We subconsciously set up tests for our friends to prove their loyalty and affection for us.
      Truth of the matter is, we ALL are the STARS OF OUR OWN SHOW. Our friends are doing the best they can maneuvering through their own life, insecurities, challenges and so on… as we are in our lives. But through our own eyes we sometimes don’t see the instances where we act in the same way that we are offended by.
      This was brought to my attention a few years back when I complained about some of the same behaviors others complained about me. I was glad to have had that brought to my attention because it made more aware of those subtle double standards we live by and unintentionally impose on each other.
      We need to learn to take things less personally, make fewer assumptions, accept each other for who we are and learn to let go when needed.
      Drama seems to be ingrained in our D.N.A, so all of this requires a moment-to-moment practice to master the discipline (whether that’s possible or not).
      But lastly, let’s be kind to ourselves and accept our own worth. That will attract the friends that we truly find joy in and will give us the grace to deal with the challenging ones.
      Be well Ladies… I have really enjoyed this conversation.

  38. merr says:

    Sometimes it can be hard to have perspective in the moment, but maybe as time goes by it will come. Take care.

  39. Alisa Bowman says:

    I do see this as a combination of any number of factors. it could be one mean girl in the group being the ring leader. It could be the reader reading too much into things. It could be group think.

  40. Reading this makes me feel that we never completely grow up. You think you’re mature and confident — but all of a sudden, it’s like you’re in junior high again. Wasn’t once enough?

  41. Susan61 says:

    This is a painful situation and I can relate. I made a female friend through another friend (who she doesn’t see much anymore) about 5 years ago. She had about 2-3 other female friends that we would occasionally socialize with. My “friend” seemed to like and welcome me in the beginning but through her words and actions over time, made it very clear I would never be welcome into her “inner circle” that consisted of these other women. She seemed threatened by the fact that they might actually like me, which it seemed they did. When we were out together (especially in threes) I could feel her palpable discomfort with the fact that I might be sitting closer to her friend than she was. She told me I could never call “Sheila” (one of these women) because Sheila was not my friend. Yet, she befriended their friends, somehow I was excluded from doing the same. I have never experienced anything like it.

    I realized after some time that it was because we were both single and all of the other women were married and it made her feel competitive with me. They all had mortgages and I did not (I rent) and she held this over my head with subtle jabs like I was a loser for not having a monthly payment to the bank and not a landlord. After the last four years of social exclusion, critical comments and judgements from her (things she could never dare to say to these other women that she holds on pedestals) I rarely see any of these people anymore. It was one of the most painful experiences of my adult life as I felt betrayed by this “friend”. I know for a fact that she trashed me to these women and told them things I told her in confidence. Intellectually I know her need to exclude me and put me down with her insidious comments was more about her own insecurity and miserable state of mind (which these friends do know about) but it still hurt deeply and not a day goes by that I don’t deal with feelings of rejection and sadness. Trying every day to let go of this and it is a challenge.

    Time to go out and make new friends I suppose.

  42. I think talking openly about what’s going on is the best way to handle this situation. Either with just one person or with all of them.

    • TP says:

      Not if the other people/person are not willing to talk about it.I told a friend that the dynamic of our relationship was changing based on her actions and the way she treated me. I asked, begged, and insisted that she tells me if I had wronged her and if I did what it is so that I can make it up to her. I mentioned to her that as friends, she should feel comfortable telling me what’s putting a strain on our relationship. She said, work, school, and bunch of excuses and she told how she is tired etc…So I asked her how come these things are putting a strain on our relationship, but not on hers with another common friend. She said nothing.

      The following day, she sent a text to our common friend and I, telling us that the weather is nice and we should do something. LOL this is coming from the same person who the previous day, just gave me a load of bull shit about how she was tired of everyone. A 180 flip with no explanation. Anyway, I kept my distance, but remained polite.

      She suddenly wanted to hang out, but she never said what was the true issue behind our straining friendship.

  43. Living Large says:

    I think your idea that it might have something to do with the kids is a good one. So sorry this happened to you, Sharon.

  44. Amy says:

    I had a similar experience with a bunch of women who were diagnosed the same time as me after about 5 years, but our group wasn’t static. Some people died and some newly diagnosed ones came in. We’d arrange for a social outing several times a year. I noticed people having conversations that I was oblivious to. I had my answer when I was accidentally cc-ed in a group email discussing distancing from me. I emailed back asking the email writer why. She felt awful and said she was uncomfortable because I’m lesbian and apparently sitting next to me at a restaurant was against her religion. I graciously forgave her and guess what, her priest said sitting next to me wasn’t a sin, so she wasn’t endangering her mortality. I was hurt that none of the women stuck up for me and there seemed to be more conversations without me. I was ok with it, because 5 years out, I didn’t have the intense longing to be around other survivors. I also found a gay friendly group of survivors, women who would never stand for me or anyone else being excluded for being gay. They’re the first ones to sign petitions for gay marriage, even though they’re all straight.

    I wonder how much of your insecurity in this group you’re inadvertently projecting as aloofness. Sometimes, we close down in order to protect ourselves from being hurt, and that can be seen by others as disinterest.
    I have a policy of giving people the benefit of the doubt over my insecurities. I don’t assume I’ve been wronged without proof, since I know I can be super sensitive at times.
    As for your friend, she’s right to want a face to face conversation, so much can be misinterpreted over text. I always find that being aware of my part in communication break downs helps when having uncomfortable relationship conversations. You’ve withdraw in what you perceive as rejection and have allowed those thoughts to continue.
    If you can’t get your friend to talk to you, go to the next person you feel closest to. You have to be prepared though, that you might get honest answers you’d rather not hear. Asking for feedback and getting angry for the context of that feedback isn’t fair and won’t make the person want to be closer to you.

  45. FriendAnon says:

    Maintaining friendships in large groups is tough. Eventually some will get clicky and exclude others. Try focusing on one or two friends and distance yourself from the large group. Seek out others outside this group.

  46. Suzanna says:

    I am interested for follow up with the conversation with your closest friend. I was in a similiar situation, but had a hard time determining is this happening or I ‘feeling’ like it is, so I am looking for it, make sense??…but I regret how I handled it, I just avoided everyone. Now 2 years later, I feel bridges are burned. In small towns, there are not endless social circles of woman any particular age, so not real easy to just make a jump. In your situation mu guts, tells that your friend mentioned ya’ll talking because she knows what is going on and cares about you. BUT someone, husband or another friend told her to stay out of it. Have a talk with her, she will probably be able to shine light on exactly what is going on..So Please keep us posted.

  47. Sheryl says:

    Ugh! Mean girls and cliques! Does it ever end?? I guess this is why I tend to shy away from groups and instead have individual friends. There’s always drama and exclusion…it’s inevitable, I fear.

  48. Amy says:

    So sorry to hear this has happened to you. I am in a similar situation losing all friends. I live in a small town and everyone seems to know everything that happens so news travels fast. My husband was treated very poorly by his best friend at a local baseball league ( for kids ). My husband was verbally attacked by a coach and the friend who also happened to be the President of the league chose to allow this to happen and didn’t defend my husband at all. As a result my husband was hurt and the relationship between our families was very strained. ( I was good friends with his wife and their son was very good friends with our son ). Add to this that their son was bullying my son a few months ago. We tried to talk to them about it and were told ” my son would never do this.” My son came home from school crying about the bullying so I know that he didn’t imagine it. This couple has a great deal of influence in the baseball league( all of our friends were involved in the league) so as a result were were basically chastised by everyone. So here I sit with absolutely no friends. I am a stay at home mom and care for my elderly mother so I don’t get out much. This rejection has depressed me and I can’t take another rejection like this from so many people. I can see us selling our house when my son is out of High School and moving to another town. He is only in 8th grade so it will be awhile . I am so glad that I found this site. I have no one to talk to about this. Just writing here is cathartic.

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