• Resolving Problems

Feeling left out by my group

Published: March 24, 2015 | By | 18 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman wonders why she always feels like an outsider with her group of friends.


Hi Irene,

I have been with the same group of friends all my life. When we’re together, we have a lot of fun. We constantly are laughing and joking around together. But this year especially, I have noticed that I am the one who is always left out.

I’m the one who has to walk behind the rest of the group when there is not enough room. If we get into groups of five and there are six of us, I’m usually the one who has to find another group. It’s been like this for a long time, but I have just recently realized it and it gives me the feeling that if I weren’t there, they wouldn’t even notice.

I also realized that I am the only one who makes any effort in the relationship (this goes for all of the friends in the group). Even with my closest friend, I always have to be the one to strike up the idea of getting together. I was just wondering if you could possibly give an explanation as to why I am always left out of the group and some advice on what you think I should do about being the only one putting in effort into the friendship.

Signed, Cindy


It’s impossible to analyze what’s going on from afar. Feeling left out can be a function of how you are feeling, how your friends are feeling, or some combination of the two.

If your overtures to get together are usually ignored, it may well be that you are “more into them” than they “are into you.” Short of asking your closest friend if you have done something off-putting to the group, my suggestion would be to work on developing other friendships, not with a group per se, but one on one with people you like. Few groups of friends stay the same over many years or all of someone’s life.

It sounds like you still have fun times with these friends so don’t give up on this group entirely. But if you had another friend or two, I think you would feel far less dependent upon them and more secure about yourself as a friend-worthy person.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Previous posts on The Friendship Blog about circles of friends:

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  1. Female friendships | Chicago Mama | October 31, 2015
  1. Alyssa says:

    Please help!!

    I have been very good friends with the same 3 people for over 4 years now. I will call them L,E, and B. To make the story easier. B and I were best friends, but in 6th grade(I’m now in 8th)she got a new best friend. I will call her C. That first year I hated her because she stole my best friend. But that next year C and myself became BEST friends, we did everything together. I also became more distant with B. It was all down hill from there. Towards the end of that year, C totally betrayed all of us. I was having a sleepover with her and another girl,(she’s not important to the story) during the sleepover C and the other girl started talking about B behind her back. I sat there and listened. 1 thing that stood out of the conversation was the C had called B a B****. Maybe I did the wrong thing(although if I wouldn’t have told her she would still be friends with a liar)but I told B what C had said about her. B was very hurt and talked to C about it. The other girl admitted that she AND C had talked about her but C denied it(and never apologized for it) After that she basically told a bunch of lies about us to try to make us mad at eachother instead of her. She now is good friends with the other girl and leaves me alone but still acts like nothing ever happened btwn her and B.

    It is less than half a year later now and I hangout with the same 3 friends. L,E, and B. B is still my closest friend but the friendship has kind of faded. L and E areBFFs and are basically 1 person and kind of isolate themselves from everyone else. But like Carol had said I’m always the 1 out of my group to walk in the back and find a different group or I’m just the last person that they would chose to hang out with or talk to. I feel like I’m the only one putting in any effort to the relationship and I can’t talk to L and E about how I feel because they just aren’t the type of people you would go to to talk about all your problems and I can’t talk to B about it because I don’t want to burden her with my troubles. My parents are pointless also. My dad is a man so he won’t even listen and my mom calls me a victim every time I start crying and I’m also the oldest of 3 and have to help out around the house all the time. And no one notices how much I’m hurting and I just feel like giving up. And I haven’t told anyone this ever. So please help me.

    I don’t know what to do about my friend situation and I know you will say find a different group of friends but I am a very shy and awkward person so making new friends is not my strong suit. I hate to sound like a drama queen but I’m sick of having this wrapped up inside me and having no one to turn to and no where to go.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Lois says:

    My situation is kind of like carol they’re about 7 of us and out of all of them I’m really only close to 3. One of the 7 moved out but the others are still in contact with her before we were sort of close but not much. I tried to keep up with our relationship but it felt like I was the only one trying and soon we don’t really communicate anymore. The 5 of them have always been close and known each other since they were young. I’ve known them for 3/4 years now. The 2 I’m closest with are currently on vacation and with the other 3 with me I feel left out I’m the one who always has to walk behind, find my own table if it requires 3 groups. I was really close last year with 1 of the 3 when we had class together but now sharing classes with the other 2 from the 3 of them, they would pull her and I would feel even like a drag a long. They talk about the memories they share and I would feel awkward. Like last year they would hang out till late night and with that I’ve missed out a lot because I had to leave earlier. I keep thinking about voicing out but I can’t get myself to and right now I’m waiting for my 2 other friends to get back and maybe talk to them. But right now as hard as it is to tell you the truth I would wake up and before going to school I would always feel nervous and anxious and it’s just been bad. Although I think my situation is worse than Carol. And I’m sorry if this was really confusing

  3. Carol says:

    The more you know who you are, the more you can make decisions that will feel like a “fit” for you. When I stayed close to one of my five sister-in-laws as she was dying of cancer when I was 23; now 76.5. I learned so much about life and death. I went on to spend my life counseling those who were dying of cancer, AIDS and other life threatening illnesses. Little did I know that she would become the person who taught me to be still and listen to others,but most importantly to your own heart as it guides your life.


  4. Pat K says:

    For the longest time I used to blame others for not wanting to be friends with me. My husband says it’s because I am a prude: meaning I don’t like profanity, dirty jokes and that sort of thing. Yes I do admit to all that however, the group I was with are supposedly Christian so aren’t we supposed to be not profane in our words, not throwing out dirty jokes or sarcasm? We can poke fun at each other but in a fun way not hurtful. I then began to realize that it is my own choosing not to be friends with them, I don’t attend the many outings as to me it was sort of boring, they always chose the places we were going to and that made me feel bored. My husband and I never got to choose a place and if we did no one wanted to go. They preferred their old tried and true and let’s go back there again and again places. So I have moved on and now I am perfectly happy getting together with a new group of wonderful ladies I met on Meetup.com. We go to a lunch or dinner once a month, we read a book and discuss it over a luncheon once a month as well. And all this fits my most introverted nature.

  5. Tianna says:

    “Before I called her”

    I’m so worried for my friend kim… why won’t she call me? Either I did something wrong/said something wrong or she doesn’t need another shoulder to cry on? She might be just busy, but that cant be healthy after a loss of a loved one. or even worse….. she could be falling into sadness and busy. that’s what I fear has happened….

    “After called her on her birthday”

    well, after talking with her. she sounds fine*
    happy as it were. was she too busy to call, txt or email me in anyway at all and be happy in life? if that’s the case, why would she do that to me, knowing how much I was worrying… I’m kinda hurt… but if it was all a play and she isn’t okay, why wont she tell me?? Am I not a good enough friend for her to tell me? If its that, then I’m still hurt but I cant say I am because she has all the reason in the world to block out anyone she wants after what happened to her grandpa!! what did I do?

  6. Darcy says:

    Friendship is a two-way street, and reciprocity is key! Here are some of my thoughts on the issue, in one of my blog posts as a helping professional who helps others with this important issue when it comes to navigating friendships. Best of luck to you, Cindy!

  7. officerripley says:

    Dionne, when you said, “Have there been any changes that have made you end up with less in common than the others have with each other?”, I knew I had to leave a reply & agree that this can certainly sometimes be what’s going on. I really think that it has been in my case: I live in a mostly rural area where women in my age group (60s) are people I have usually nothing in common with; they’re almost all interested in things (kids/g’kids, church, gardening, crafts, hiking) in which I have no interest whatsoever (being a childfree, atheistic, non-creative, non-outdoorsy bookworm). I’ve been advised & agree that I’d be better off living closer to an urban area since the more people in an area, the better the chances of finding more (or any!) people with the same interests as mine. Unfortunately, moving is not possible so the not-fitting-in loneliness gets worse as I age and it’s too late for me. However, altho I realize moving is rarely an option for a lot of people (even younger ones), I feel like I should warn younger gals that moving might be your best option; don’t leave it too late, it only gets harder & worse the older you get! (P.S. be careful with the meetup.com thing: maybe it’s just this area I’m in–altho I’ve seen gals online complaining about the same thing in other places–but most of our groups seem to have too many middle-aged & older guys who are there just to hit on women, even the groups that specifically state they’re for women only, sigh.)

  8. Lauren says:

    Hi Cindy,

    Sorry to hear that this has been happening to you. Yes, it is troubling. Especially that part where you said that you always have to “walk behind” them, when there is not enough room.

    About 2 years ago, when one of my long term friendships was ending (for various major reasons), I began to notice that when we were walking downtown (going to a concert, movie, etc), she began to always walk in front of me on the sidewalk. This was a relatively small symptom of the fading friendship, but nonetheless I noticed it as it had never been like that before.

    I noticed that she would always seem to be a steady two or three paces in front of me. So that meant that we were walking continuously at exactly the same speed, except that she was two or three paces ahead of me all the way. It felt bad, but that was just a symptom of the rapidly fading friendship–there were other troubling, much more important things. All of those “mean girl” things took place in the last 12 -18 months of our long term friendship until the friendship completely died out. Even a relatively small, but on-going, thing like that troubled me and caused me to feel upset and a little sad.

    Look at all the aspects of your group friendship, and decide if you want to continue “chasing after” them, or to sit back and observe and then see what happens. You may want to put in the effort to find other friends–take an art course, join a photography group, join a walking group, canoeing group, tennis, etc and meet other people there. Then you may decide to remain friends with them, albeit second tier friends, and their behavior and their exclusion won’t bother you so much, or maybe not at all.

    Like Carol so wisely said, change is a constant factor in life.
    Best wishes to you.

  9. Carol says:

    I still use a lesson I learned a long time ago. If you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get cha! So the only way to deal with this awful feeling is to have the courage to check it out. I still use this method today and it really helps me to know the truth whatever it may be. All the suggestions are possibilities to be able to move on.


  10. Amy F says:

    Tempest you find friends at school or work, in your neighborhood, participating is religious activities, volunteering, taking a night class, book clubs (check out your local bookstore or library), walking through your neighborhood, your child’s friends’ parents.

    You can ask your closest friend, “I wasn’t asked to go for coffee last week. Is there a reason for that?” Avoid generalities like “always” and “never”. Approach the discussion non-confrontationally. If you ask, be prepared for honest response and don’t shoot the messenger. I’d want to know if there was a reason, because if something about my personality made my friends pull away, I would want to address the problem so I don’t keep repeating it. But, it can be hard not to feel defensive so prepare yourself to react graciously if you’re going this route.

    Some people are generally more leaders, the ones who suggest the plans. Others are more followers. Doesn’t mean there is less interest.

  11. Tempest says:

    If only it were so easy to just “go find some other friends”. How does one do that? You don’t have the history and familiarity to start with. Where do you go to “find friends”? How do you get them to be your “friends”?

  12. Carol says:

    Hmmmmm, I know that feeling…being left out. I love to hike (more often now at 76, walk in the natural settings of Sonoma County, CA. Whenever I see a duck, goose or any bird that is usually part of a group, I feel sad and anxious for it. Maybe as we age we see that sometimes we’ll be alone and out in the world on our own. However, there is always a good reason like maybe the flying wonder is taking a break from the nest where the eggs lay waiting to hatch, or it got tired and the flock went on without it for now. I try to learn by my reactions coated with anxiety. So I try to remember, “Change is the only constant in life.” by Greek philospher Heraclitus. Just remember, you are a perfectly wonderful human being. How else can we get through this time of ours on the planet? Just be yourself and let it show. Don’t live in fear as being alone, now and then, can mean many things like getting to know yourself. Best to you on your journey.

  13. Dionne says:

    I think I would work on finding some new friends and start transferring your time and attention to them instead. It’s not good for your self-esteem to hang out with people who seem like they’re just tolerating you rather than really wanting you there. I guess we all just fit with some people better than others and who knows why. Have there been any changes that have made you end up with less in common than the others have with each other?

    • Chris says:

      I also feels the same way. Many of my friends only remember me when they need my help.

      • Maggie says:

        I agree. I feel like so much of the time I only hear from this one group of “mom” friends. When they need something. I think I was hoping for a closer friendship that just is not there. I do feel like the odd mom out. For whatever reason I just don’t fit there thing. I will take the advice of most of you. Branch out and find different people to become friends with.

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