inez3 asks: All of my friends have gone to one of my best friend’s sleepover and they didn’t invite me – but they never do any way. And I’m really upset.
Hi inez3 –
I don’t know if there’s a worse feeling in the world than being left out by those you love. Children hate being left at home when their parents go out, and, wow, if you’ve ever had a puppy, you know how nutty we get when we’re shut away from the family, even for a few minutes!
Then you add to that that humans have different interests at different times, and between the ages of about 10 and 21, they really care more about their peers and how their peers see them than anything else. So I’ll just bet you’re feeling awful about this! And I relate! I still hate it whenever Handsome leaves me alone at all, and even worse when he’s with other people. And when he comes home smelling of dogs he played with, it just drives me nuts!
So the tough question is, of course, what to do about it. The best thing is probably the most difficult: figure out which of those friends is the one you trust the most, get that person alone, and ask them if they know why you weren’t invited. Now it’s possible they might be scared to answer you, fearing they’d hurt your feelings and lose your friendship – so you’d have to be able to promise them that you wouldn’t get upset with them, whatever they answer.
And if they do give an answer, then it’s up to you to deal with it in the best way you can. Maybe your friends are keeping you out for a reason you’d be happy to change about yourself (they want to hang out with kids who dress more like them, for example), and that’s something you can gladly do. Or maybe they’re staying away from you because they’re doing something you wouldn’t approve of (drinking or smoking something), and you realize you’re actually happier not being with them at those times.
But if the answer is a tougher, crueler one, that’s when this is very hard. For example, one member of that group really dislikes you, and refuses to hang out with them if you’re there. Or they aren’t really your friends in the way you think.
Moments like that are heartbreaking, and they’re also a person’s chances to define themselves anew. Maybe you have to drop that whole group of friends, and move on to find a newer, better group. Maybe you need to confront one or more of them about what’s wrong.
But the worst thing you can do is just feel awful and not do anything to change the situation. The more you do that, the more used to this feeling you’ll get, and that will reduce the quality of your life drastically.
So if you can ask one of them about it, that’s the best. If not, you could just tell them that it really hurts your feelings to be cut out, and maybe that’ll be enough for them to bring you in.
But none of this is easy, I know Inez3. There are much worse things that happen in people’s lives, but there aren’t a lot of worse feelings.