Excluded

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  • Justagirl
    December 29, 2022 at 2:36 pm #1117346

    Hi all, I am part of this group of ladies with whom we’ve been hanging out (along with our spouses/kids) for the last few years. Last year I have been a bit out of touch with them since my parents were not keeping well. Out of 5 of the ladies, couple of them checked in with me asking me where I’d disappeared (we are all in one watsapp group together), the rest didn’t bother to check in. Anyway, this year I’ve tried to make it to their get togethers but missed a few due to travel etc. I have not been in a situation to host anything at my place for the last 1 year since my mom was really unwell and staying with us- the last year was really rough on me with trying to take care of her and 2 young kids at the same time.
    Recently I have been seeing 3 or 4 of them getting together on their own and plastering their party pics on social media. I feel super awkward being part of this group now- what am I supposed to do? Like and comment on their pictures? Pretend like I never saw them? Show up to the next get together (where everyone is invited), act normal and ask them about the pictures? Invite all of them to my place? One thing though is that all of them live pretty close to each other, I am the only person living about a 40 minute drive away. There is one person in the group though who is initiating these get togethers (since they are all happening at her house) and it seems like she just wants to exclude me. I’m not sure why. I feel pretty left out and sad as if being too tied up (with my family troubles) was somehow my fault. Should I just politely inform them and exit the watsapp group and just keep in touch with some of them 1:1?

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    December 29, 2022 at 4:01 pm #1117347

    I wouldn’t politely inform them you’re leaving the WhatsApp group if you have any interest or intention in maintaining friendships with any of these women as leaving the group feels kind of passive aggressive and, like, a pointed message that you no longer want to be friends. You also mention spouses and kids hanging out. Have your kids or spouse seen any of their kids and spouses recently or or all the get-togethers mainly held through the moms?

    I’m sorry you’re feeling excluded. It never feels great to see evidence on social media of your friends having fun that you weren’t invited to be part of. But it sounds like you HAVE been invited a lot and there have been times you couldn’t make it. You say that you’ve been out of touch, have missed some get-togethers, live pretty far from the others, and aren’t in a position to host. It’s possible that everyone got the message that you simply aren’t very interested in being part of the group.

    You have to invest in friendships if you want them to continue. You can’t just disappear – regardless of your intentions – and expect everyone to not only all check on you, but to continue to check on you and continue to invite you to things when you rarely are available and don’t ever reciprocate in initiating plans. That might work with people you’ve known forever who are what I call “lifers” (in your life for the long haul). But friends you’ve known for a few years? Eh, if there’s not much return on the effort, people move on. If people are getting mostly “no’s” when they invite you, they aren’t hearing much from you between those invitations, and you are initiating any get-togethers, people are going to move on.

    So, what should you do now? Well, initiate something with these people! Message them and say you’re sorry you haven’t been very available this year and that you hope to make more time for friends this year and would love to start by inviting everyone to [blank]. Maybe “blank” is getting a meal out together, seeing a movie, a coffee date, cocktails, hiking, ice skating – I don’t know what you all like to together, but there are lots of options that don’t require you to host if that’s an issue.

    Finally, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate – two young children and a sick mom living with you must be emotionally and physically exhausting. What are you doing for yourself to help you cope? How are you making time with your spouse, just the two of you? It’s so important to take care of your mental health and your primary relationship, especially during these stressful, demanding stages (which won’t last forever, I promise!). If it’s financially doable, a therapist can help you navigate the feelings you might be struggling with that you only allude to here but that I imagine could be overwhelming and, left untended, could threaten not just fledgling friendships, but close relationships, too.

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    Justagirl
    December 30, 2022 at 12:54 am #1117348

    Thank you for the advice Wendy. I’m actually quite confused now on whether I really want to be close friends with these people. TBH I missed 4 kid’s birthday parties and legitimately because they were all on the 2 weekends I was out of town, to all other events I did show up. I have 2 choices
    1) I tell the person who is trying to exclude me what hurt me the most about her behavior-the fact that she never bothered to ask me even once in these 6 months how my mom was doing (she is better and is staying with my sister now) and then try to initiate a get together which means hosting them at my place
    2) pretend like the fact that I’m hurt doesn’t matter and invite the whole group anyway to my place and carry on as if nothing happened
    Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes. Yes I haven’t been taking care of myself, need to do a better job at that, just not sure how mainly because its impossible to find a good therapist

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    Kate
    December 30, 2022 at 5:56 am #1117349

    I remember you wrote in before about this. It sounds like maybe you wanted advice to go ahead and confront these women, tell them how much they hurt you, or at least tell them that you’re leaving the group.

    No one’s going to tell you to do that, because it’s just not a good idea. It’s not going to have the result you want. Please re-read and consider Wendy’s entire advice. You don’t have to pretend that the fact that you’re hurt doesn’t matter. But you can reframe this to have a different perspective on it, where you aren’t the victim. Where you did go AWOL for a while and not let them know what was going on or that you needed help. Where it’s more about the integrity and health of the friend group as a whole than about your hurt feelings. Try to do that.

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    Anonymousse
    December 30, 2022 at 11:03 am #1117839

    Sometimes people don’t know what to do, and when you go awol, they assume you want space and that’s what they give you. I think you should work your hurt feelings out with a professional. I can tell you once I was taking crap like this really personally and the funniest thing is it was with people I didn’t even care about or really want a closer relationship with!
    In therapy I uncovered that my desire to be in the group, no matter the cost, is related to my dad leaving me when I was a kid. I was contorting myself into unrecognizable shapes trying to please people that I didn’t even like! Really step back and evaluate this. Do you want to be friends with them? It kind of sounds like you’d benefit from some local-er friends. It’s not worth bringing it up and what, calling them out? For what? I am sorry they excluded you. Forgive them. Examine why you are really feeling excluded and hurt. I don’t honk it’s these lady friends you don’t really like.

    I don’t know about you but driving anywhere 40 minutes away right now- not a dealbreaker but that’s not a person I would even think to invite right now, I am sorry. It’s winter and dark and I’m old. These women probably assume, like the last year, that you are unavailable.

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    Anonymousse
    December 30, 2022 at 11:05 am #1117840

    Think*

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    Justagirl
    December 31, 2022 at 1:50 am #1117858

    It’s winter and dark and I’m old.

    Lol lol lol all true. Maaaan who knew distance would be such a dealbreaker in friendships. I became friends with them when they lived much closer to me and then they all bought houses and moved away from me and close to each other. Bad luck!
    Will focus on making some local friends. Its just the “being part of a group yet not being part of it” is what has been bothering me. Either I be active and let the one person know what hurt me or I leave the group.

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    December 31, 2022 at 5:55 am #1117860

    Again, those are not your only 2 options.

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    Anonymousse
    December 31, 2022 at 9:03 am #1117865

    Those aren’t your only options. I was trying to point out that not every exclusion is made personally AT you. Especially when you went AWOL yourself.

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