• Resolving Problems

Feeling left out from a circle of friends

Published: November 22, 2015 | By | 14 Replies Continue Reading
In every circle of friends, people often form bonds within the group.


Hi Irene,

I’ve always considered myself a good friend. However, lately, I’m never included in group activities. I know I have physical limits and unless you’re a marathon runner in my town (I’m 65), you don’t seem to be counted. I have a wide circle of friends and think it’s me somehow? Any suggestions?

Signed, Linda


Hi Linda,

In every circle of friends, it is common for individuals within the group to form ties between two or more people (smaller sub-groups) based on chemistry or shared interests.

Since many individuals in your circle run or are engaged in active sports, it’s natural that you wouldn’t be included since you are different from them along that dimension. It’s easy to understand how people who share that passion would develop closer bonds with each other—which could make you feel like an outsider in the group at times.

My suggestion would be to accept that reality and nurture the individual relationships you have formed with these friends. Identify common interests and see if you can take one or two of these friendships to the next level. For example, is there someone who is interested in arts or entertainment? You could invite that person to join you at a show, movie or museum. Or, perhaps, someone would be interested in signing up for a crafts class with you. Is there another non-runner who would want to join you on the sidelines to watch your friends race, cheering them on and, perhaps, join you for coffee afterwards?

Many people would envy your situation. Having a wide circle of friends suggests that you are a social person and have a knack for cultivating friendships. Perhaps, you are also craving the intimacy of a close relationship with one or two friends in this group or with other people in your neighborhood.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Comments (14)

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  1. Nan says:

    years ago our bunco group split up and I had some words with some of them due to them not understanding I had had 2 eye surgeries and could not do the month I should. they disbanded and then secretly formed a group and did not invite 4 of us. at least I did not feel alone but recently I realized a good friend of mine was asked to join and she actually lied about going…then I see she is in the theater with them and yes I am jealous and hurt but I have gotton over it and now I am invited to a party to one of my good friends in the group and all those girls will be there and I will feel strange. IF I don’t go wouldn’t that be ok? it is a party for her daughter and her baby just hate feeling like I don’t fit I have other friends and am open to new ones.

  2. Tracy says:

    Ugh please excuse the typing errors! It is autocorrect!

  3. MM says:

    They totally sound like they have “the herd” mentality. Urgh.

  4. Jannie says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for your wise responses. I realize certain groups are not my mindset but in a small town quick judgements are often the norm. I’ve hosted too many events in my home to mention and with a diverse group hoping just one or 2 would see I’m social and would be interested in a wide number of activities but never invites back. I’ve started an art group now in 3rd year, volunteer where I can – I’m just wanting to be invited (sometimes) to feel included. I’m in my 7th year living here, so either this is a hard click town or its me. I have so many interests and usually upbeat and positive, is this a turn off? Thanks again
    Enjoy the day!

    • Francesca says:

      Totally get it, Jannie. I too have many interests I’m enthusiastic about and also keep my demeanor friendly and upbeat. Doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference. In the club I mentioned previously, the woman most people seem to think is a wonderful person has the meanest face I’ve ever seen! After doing my best to reach past that exterior, I’ve found that her soul isn’t anything I would have recognized as wonderful! Go figure, or rather, don’t. From my experience, you can put yourself in a vicious circle trying to figure out “what’s wrong with me” only to finally find out the answer is “nothing”. It does seem frustrating but, on the other hand, can also be freeing and quite a relief.

      • Jannie says:

        Thanks Francesca, I do think I’m ok and going to reach out in other areas and see where I land. I’m not interested in small minded people or gossip so my search will be a life long journey. There’s a nice saying I’ve come back to many times
        Someone to Love
        Something to hope for
        Something to do

        Enjoy your day
        Jannie ☀️

    • Amy F says:

      Small towns can be cliquish and in many 7 years is still considered a newcomer/transplant. I bet many of these friends have known each other for their whole lives. If this is the case, you might be best off trying to meet other non lifelong residents.

      • Jannie says:

        Very true Amy, even though I was born and raised in my home province I’m considered an outsider, I’m going on my own way but welcome new people and will see where it goes. Thanking you, enjoy your day Amy

    • Tracy says:

      Hi J-
      I found myself being excluded from events out of the blue and found out the hard way- by seeing pics on FB. It was very painful and even though I confronted the isse with the group, no one changed or invited me back. It blue my mind that they continued to exclude me even though they knew of my hurt. I too was very upbeat, genuine etc so I couldn’t figure it out. I eventually stopped trying , and luckily had other friends. I focused on the friends with whom I had chemistry and personality similarities. Lo and behold I began to see the forest foe the trees amd realized (many months later) that I didnt really want to hang out with them anyway! I managed to rise about after many tears and just remained friendly. …now many of them will say hello in passing and I think they realize what a good person they let go.
      Even if it is just one person, continue to be you and host events or join classes of interest to you and someone will come along. Friendships shouldn’t be hard or painful. Good luck:)

      • Jannie says:

        Thanks Tracy, I guess you just want to fit in or belong and moving to a small village where many people have life long friends so I get that. I’ve moved beyond now and accept what is. I have a wide circle of like minded friends and feel more comfortable just being me. It was I think a very old insecurity that creeped in. Now I do what I want and seem much more happy. Your right it shouldn’t be hard or painful – thanks so much for your encouraging and wise words. Enjoy the Season ????

  5. Francesca says:

    On the other hand, Linda, it is also quite possible that the problem is not yours! Although it appears that will probably not be the general consensus here, it actually could be what is often the case – “The Group” has a limited scope, and point of view, and are not able to see past their self-imposed “high standards”. It’s really not your problem if they can’t see the qualities of a good person because you don’t meet certain criteria in their limited perception.

    Do you really want friends that don’t see beyond their clique? You will never get much out of people like that. What is that wise, old saying: You can’t get water out of a stone. I’ve joined a club that touts themselves as a neighborhood, community group and my observation is BYOF. You may have heard of BYOB,Bring Your Own Beverage/Booze. Well, how about BYOF,Bring Your Own Friends. No matter what some groups espouse, the fact is they are made up of cliques and/or limited-minded individuals that are emotionally unable to grasp the real concept of gracious acceptance. Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!!!

  6. Amy F says:

    I have a chronic illness and I understand how that can hold you back sometimes. I had some questions about your letter.

    -Have you expressed interest in being included in group activities so your friends know you’d like to be included? Perhaps your friends assume you wouldn’t enjoy an activity because of your limitations or another reason you’re unaware.

    -Have you initiated group activities? This would be a great way to show your friends that you fit in with them as a group.

    -Perhaps you need to find other friends who share your physical limitations or at least have an understanding and respect for all that you are able to do, despite your limitations. You could just be looking to the wrong people for inclusion.

    -Is this a lifelong problem or something recent? If this is a lifelong issue, there may be something about your personality people perceive as better matched to individual rather than group friendship.

    • Tracy says:

      Group frienships can be tricky and I know I prefer individual friends. Not to say I can’t have friends who are mutual-but friendships based on a group arent as deep as I prefer.
      Cliques form because certain people are drawn to each other. Someone inevitability gets left out.

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