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Left out of the birthday party

Published: May 1, 2016 | By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
After being left out of a birthday bash, a young woman feels like the friends who were invited and attended were disloyal to her.



I wasn’t invited to my friends 18th birthday party. I have a feeling this may be because I didn’t have a birthday party this year. However, I was quite hurt afterwards since all my friends were invited except me.

The birthday girl and I actually lived together for a whole year and we still talk quite often. I’m not sure if I should confront her since it’s over already… And what would I say?

What made matters worse was that my best friends were in that group and knew that that girl and I lived together, yet they didn’t request for me to be invited (which is what others did). One of them was also invited yet she doesn’t even get along with the birthday girl.

I feel like my real friends aren’t my real friends as they aren’t loyal. I also feel like it’s always been a competition between us, to see who has been more social or is more popular. I’m just a little upset that this is happening to me.

Signed, Megan


Hi Megan,

It’s always upsetting to feel left out of a party but as time passes, I’m sure you’ll feel less hurt so it’s good that you didn’t impulsively say anything you would later regret. As you suggest, it may have been a simple misunderstanding if this girl thought you hadn’t invited her to your party.

In any case, it was the birthday girl who left you out.  Even if your other friends felt awkward about her not inviting you, they may not have been in a position to do anything about it. For example, they may not have realized you weren’t coming until the day of the party or someone may have said something that was over-ruled by the birthday girl. I wouldn’t necessarily interpret this situation as a lack of loyalty. The birthday girl herself may have been limited in the number of people she could invite.

If you want to maintain a friendship with the birthday girl, you can tell her that you hope she had a nice birthday but as you suggest, I don’t see any reason to confront her about why you weren’t invited after the fact. Raising the issue in this way may open the door to her explaining why she didn’t invite you without making her defensive. If it doesn’t, perhaps it will signal that she isn’t the friend you thought she was.

In terms of your other friends: During the teen years, young women often jockey with each other for social status. However, unless this group is particularly competitive, you don’t want to paint all of these people with one broad brush. Are there one or two people in the group who seem less competitive? Perhaps you could nurture those friendships. Or, it could be that this group isn’t really a good fit for you.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (6)

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  1. Ruth says:

    The letter writer said she herself didn’t have a birthday party (not that she had one but didn’t invite this friend to it). She said she thinks *that* may be the reason why she wasn’t invited.

    I don’t think her not having a birthday party would automatically uninvite her from other parties.

    I agree with Sandra a non-drama convo would be helpful. Explain that it’s a safe zone and you want her honest truth, that you would like to know so going forward you can be aware (in case it’s behavior related). Explain that you were hurt (remember no drama) and before assuming anything would like to know her side.

    If she responds with compassion and sincerity, it was likely an oversight. If she responds with defensiveness it was likely on purpose.

    I know it hurts deeply. I’ve been left out (and stood up) more times than I care to count. At 18, people don’t think (usually) about the consequences of their choices. I normally dont bother to confront when I’m excluded but as roommates that gives you a closer background and relationship and I’d probably confront…. Just remember no drama. Keep it even keel.

  2. LauraSL says:

    Being left out is so painful . Irene has laid out some really wise advice and puts the situation in perspective .

  3. Amy F says:

    Being left out hurts. I’m sorry your friend didn’t invite you to her party. I don’t think blaming your other friends or being mad at them for attending the party is fair. They may not know you weren’t invited or they may have decided any issues are between the two of you. By thinking they should have avoided the party, you almost set up a her-or-me problem for your mutual friends. Also, as Irene said, there may have simply been a misunderstanding,

    About the competition between you and the birthday girl, I have a general rule of thumb, if I can’t be happy for a friend’s successes, then I shouldn’t be her friend. Competition can be healthy when geared toward completing a project or bettering yourself academically, the type of rivalry between the two of you seems driven by something other. You don’t describe this coming from a place of making each other better and growing.

    Sometimes in group friendships you’ll gravitate to one or another and away from someone else. Do your best to be kind and civil. Don’t talk about her to mutual friends, because that can make others uncomfortable and it’s also unkind.

    Try to branch out and make friends outside your group too.

  4. Sandra says:

    Megan, I don’t blame you for feeling hurt. At some point in our lives, everybody gets left out of a party or a special social event — and it can really hurt.

    You noted that you and the birthday girl are still close friends, and given that information, I think it does seem unusual that you were not invited. I read your letter twice, but still am not sure if this was a surprise party. In that case, it’s very possible that the birthday girl didn’t know about it — and therefore had no control over the guest list. (I’ve seen many situations in which important friends were not invited to surprise parties — and only because the hosts of the party were unfortunately not fully aware of which friends to invite.)

    I’m not sure if “confront” is the right word to use here. But I believe you would feel better if you talked the situation over with the birthday girl. Carefully point out that you were hurt and/confused over being left out of the party. Tell her that her friendship is important to you, and that you need to clear the air. As Irene pointed out, you will know whether this friendship is sincere by how the birthday girl responds.

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