Feeling Left Out

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I am 34 but every know and again I feel like an awkward middle schooler wondering why I couldn’t go to Elise’s “slumber extravaganza.” Every now and again I feel insecure. And just a little left out.

I am one of those people who is naturally inclusive. I love, love, LOVE introducing one friend to another and watching their friendship take off. But if I am honest, sometimes as they embark on epic journeys together, journeys that for one reason or another I cannot be a part of, I sit back, wave sheepishly, and feel a slight twinge of regret.

Ugh. How have I not managed to outgrow feeling left out?

When was the last time you felt left out? How did you deal with it?

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel left out. I’ve been pushed out of friendship circles because my beliefs changed, left out because of my marital status, etc. I don’t think we ever grow out of the left out hurts. But dealing with those hurts, well, I’ve become slightly more okay with letting friendships go at times. I’m so sure all friends are met to be for a lifetime, and if I cherish the I had, letting go becomes easier.

    • Yes, a lot of friends come into our lives for a season. I’m learning to be okay with that!

  • The last time? Oh… yesterday?

    I’m not sure I’m ever going to grow out of it. We all want to be included, to be accepted. I know people don’t always mean to be exclusive and sometimes I read into things more than I should, but it all stings, especially when we care.

    {Now I sound like a junior-high-er… heh.}

  • Ugh. I had hoped that ‘when I grew up,’ I would no longer feel insecure or left out, either. Every time I see a Facebook status update with “Girls’ Night Out!” to which I wasn’t invited, I get those feelings again. It’s silly, I know, but it’s true. Normally, I just move on or plan my own coffee outing with a friend for later.

    • Yes, best find a place, a person, a God who always makes us feel included.

  • Johnna Bigelow

    Hate to tell you….I’m 47 1/2 and I’m still struggling with thes feelings. It doesn’t help that my children are 14 and 12. They live with these feelings daily and as I try to comfort them, the memories flood back to me of my adolescent experiences….and some of those experiences were just last week. Maybe it’s just a part of being young at heart? Yeah. That’s what I’ll keep telling myself. =)

  • Pretty much daily. And I’m 47. Soooo… I hate to break this to you. But you don’t ever outgrow it. I guess we’re stuck with trying to die to it and not react to the feelings. Just recognize them and try to laugh at ourselves. Good times. 🙂

  • Who doesn’t feel this way ? I do all the time ! Social media can bring us together ,but then we also get to know maybe to much about what everyone else is doing and who they are doing it with ?

    I think it would be less normal to not care ?

    When I get to feeling this way I try to focus more up and not out.

    • Yes, social media definitiely makes us more aware of what we are missing out on which is not necessarily fun.

  • I so get this… I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow it either 🙂 But I still love connecting my people together… makes me happy so I deal with the “left out” part of it

  • Ron Edmondson

    I actually posted a similar question today…actually a lot of questions, but similar topic (http://www.ronedmondson.com/2011/02/friday-discussion-where-do-you-belong.html) about where people feel they belong…and where they don’t.

    For me, I get to feeling that way in middle age. I’m not as welcome among the young, but don’t feel that I’m old yet. Just trying to find my place to hang…

    • I am at that same place. As a 40 something mom to a tween, I’m not old (except in her eyes) but I’m not the 20 something I used to be either. And being in a new area, well let’s just say I’m still searching right now.

  • Cha Cha

    I was just felling this last night and had to walk away from everything because it hurt so bad. Wish I would not go “there” I have much to be thankful for. Why don’t I let who I am, and where I am be enough,helloe I know the answer to all the questions-God- but I don’t always go there I go to self doubt and pity instead arrggghh. Thank you for being honest and letting me know I am not alone in this.

    Cha Cha

  • I totally get this. I can’t think of an example, but I totally get it.

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  • Ashley

    Ugh. I have felt this too. Especially in the season of life I’m experiencing. I called my mom one night all upset and said, I don’t get it- I’m a nice girl! LOL. Oh man.

    • I think part of it is the expectation that others are going to behave the way we will. I’m nice so they should be nice. I would always opt to air on the side of making sure everyone feels included but not everyone is wired this way. They are not necessarily wrong (well some of the time they are), just different.

      Oh, and you are a very nice girl!

  • I get this … had my times of it … posted on Twitter one time that Twitter can make me feel like a wallflower at a school dance, I see a convo happening that I’d like to be a part of, but hate jumping in … instead I wish someone in the convo would randomly/magically/holy-spirit-inspired (ha) tweet “hey I wonder what @JanetOber thinks of ….”

    But in all honesty, I don’t struggle with it often (you know, as soon as I post this, something will show up somewhere and I’ll feel left out … whatever) Maybe it’s because life circumstances have helped me love myself more (not in a narcissistic way, but in a healthy way) so I know I’m okay even if I’m not doing this or that with so and so. Maybe it’s because I’m 45 and I don’t give a damn. Maybe it’s because I know I’m responsible for my own happiness. Maybe it’s because I like spending time alone. Maybe it’s because I’m learning that no matter how cool/super/glamorous something sounds that others are doing … it’s not perfect and there will be other times when I’m in.

    Ok … enough, time to go check facebook and see if any of these things still hold true.

  • Pastor’swife.

    I am a pastor’s wife in a small church in a small town. I feel this way. A lot of our ladies are related in some fashion or have known each other forever. It can feel very isolating at times. I wish i could out grow it or get over it. I can feel very diconnected at times.

  • Totally know what you mean. Actually for us we find that people don ‘t include us sometimes because they assume that because I am a clergyman and we have three children we don’t have time and are too busy, or because they don’t want to intrude or impose upon our time as a family. Sometimes it can be quite hard as we have people over and really try to make an effort….Actually often it’s my wife’s single female friends who are better at staying connected- we love that they actually want to hang out with us and our boys. My friends are, as blokes, well, they’re blokes…….

  • Twitter is a great tool to make you feel left out. So almost everyday I feel like this.
    But ast week I specifically remember a meeting that I really wish I was invited to. A lot of my friends were there and I was not. The thing I had to keep reminding myself was all the stuff I have gotten to do and what I was doing. That helped a little bit. But I still felt left out. I tried to also feel happy for those that were in the meetings, and excited for them.

    • Yeah, it’s crazy when you think about how much we are included in.

    • That’s what I was going to say, Kyle. I feel left out every day when I see tweet after tweet of people around me having “gatherings” or going out to do things and I never get an invite to join them. But that’s just life and you go on.

    • Samantha Johnson

      Very good point Kyle! I have found myself looking at my Twitter timeline and see conversations among friends that appear to be too exclusive. Most of the time I wish they keep these kinds of conversations using a chat client instead of appearing like they want the entire world to know how tight they are. I am grateful for those times where I feel more secure and I am genuinely happy for their connection.

  • I hate that feeling. I love big groups of people and like including new people and getting them involved. “The more, the merrier!” But sometimes I am not extended the same courteous manner, I feel disappointed. And then I take it out on some Ben & Jerry’s – which doesn’t really benefit me but it makes me feel a little bit better.

    The next time I feel left out, I think that I will use it as an opportunity to connect with someone I haven’t seen in a while. Or call my mother 🙂

  • Yes, I think it’s very easy to feel this way. I think sometimes I make it more dramatic in my head, as if people don’t like me or there’s something wrong with me. In reality most people are very focused on themselves (myself included) and if they don’t include you it’s probably not because they don’t like you, but just because they weren’t thinking of others. Which I know I’m guilty of that. And if someone does intentionally exclude you…do you really want to be friends with that kind of person anyway?

    I’ve recently been struggling with feeling left out when my best friend, who I use to do everything with, moved to Atlanta and started doing everything we use to do together with a new friend. While I have been doing most thing alone while I wait to make new friends. Not easy 🙁 but God is good and really does help when I turn to Him for comfort and strength.

    You’re not alone in feeling left out sometimes.

  • Amanda

    I hate to admit that I completely relate to this. I’m a sensitive person and while this helps me in some areas of life, it also drives me crazy!

  • Thanks for opening up and sharing this Lindsey. I know it probably wasn’t easy. My childhood was filled with a lot of, being inclusive. It wasn’t until I was able to move away from home, and kind of become who I was, that I stopped being so inclusive.

    I know you don’t know me, but I am completely different from the way I was during my childhood.

    But…

    I still feel, and get, left out of things as an adult. I am constantly struggling with certain types of relationships with people. With some people I share too much, and get disregarded in areas I should have been regarded in. Then the other side is that I share too little with people close to me, and they unknowingly leave me out.

    It’s a continuous struggle, but one I am willing to fight.

  • i don’t think i will ever grow out of it. Sometimes it’s the thing that makes me want to be extroverted…

    • Yeah, me too. It is crazy that I go from feeling too busy and over-committed to feeling left out. Why can’t I just get over myself and be content?

  • tam

    I know the feeling.

    I wish I could have all my friends, and myself, on a little island enjoying life together forever.

    But, yet, there is so much wrong with that :/

  • Breanne Mclendon

    wow, love your honesty. Seriously, I love reading your blog because I relate all to well. I am pretty sure I could leave the same comment every time you post about how it relates some how to my life. So, thanks for being honest when sometimes I can’t. I noticed that you will be attending Catalyst West. I am going as well and would love to meet you if you have some time.

  • Ha. Happened just the other day. And my husband had to remind me of this and that when I wasn’t left out and that this time was someone else’s chance to shine. Oh yes, I needed that loving reminder from him. I think it’s good to be reminded of all we have when it’s so easy to see what we do not have.

  • Anonymous

    I deal with it through prayer. If I am praying for them – praying blessings over them during the time I could be letting jealous well up in me, I choose to pray. Can’t be negative when you’re praying blessings. 🙂 Works for me anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome post! Totally agree… I was always “that kid” who couldn’t play with 2 friends at once because someone would always get left out and it was usually me. As I too struggle to grow out of it at 28, I have to remind myself all the time to not take it personally! 99% of the time I’m sure they aren’t out to get us! 🙂

  • Hannah

    this post completely resonates with me. I introduced two of my best friends in high school and now they are better friends than I am with either of them. Now as an adult, the women that I’m closest to spend tons of time together, but never invite me. I feel that this is such a tool of the enemy’s, at least in my life. He(satan) wants me to feel alone and unloved. That’s not to say that my feelings aren’t justified, but I often let them get blown out of proportion because I’m listening to my flesh, rather than the Truth. I’m working on it, but I still struggle. Is there a loving way to tell those around us that we feel….unloved?

  • My husband is notorious for introducing two friends, and then getting left out as they run off together. He always justifies it as, “We just have great taste in friends!” but I know sometimes it stings him to see two people he introduced planning get together’s that don’t include him.

    I feel that way now and then as well… I think one of the last times was at “girls night” a few months back. I had a standing invitation to join two ladies for their girls night that they held every week. The friend that invited me is a woman I did (and still do) adore. I appreciate her opinion, advice, etc. I most often couldn’t make it out, but I made an extra effort to go one night in a fit of, “I need girl time!”

    I went and ended up sitting listening to the others talk. If I did get asked to input anything, I wouldn’t get far before I was left out again. It was the last time I went to girls night. I felt strongly that I didn’t belong there, anyway.

  • Davisc118

    Most people think that as they get older they would just grow out of the feeling of being left out but unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. Everyone wants to be included it makes you feel wanted and helps your self esteem.

  • Wow, Linds. Seriously… could you get out of my head? I struggle with this at varying times. Especially the bit when you say you introduce friends to each other—and that their friendship seems to blossom more. It’s like, “What the heck?! You were mine first.” Seriously, it’s like I am 12. For reals. Perhaps I’ll grow out of it, but perhaps I won’t . . . but I know there’s a lesson in it. Surely.

  • Gosh….almost everyday I suffer such shortcomings! I sometimes wonder if it’s just human nature. I look at some people who look so confident and I think to myself, “I wish I could be like that.” Then a conversation ignites with that same person and they share their insecurity. I have had friends tell me that they think I am such a confident person, never feeling insecure. Oh, if they could be me for a day…they may not want to be my friend any more! I think it is part of being a human, to feel that disconnection and that sense of being left out. I think sometimes we don’t truly find our complete security in Christ and we look to each for it. I don’t know…I’m still learning on this subject!

  • Gosh….almost everyday I suffer such shortcomings! I sometimes wonder if it’s just human nature. I look at some people who look so confident and I think to myself, “I wish I could be like that.” Then a conversation ignites with that same person and they share their insecurity. I have had friends tell me that they think I am such a confident person, never feeling insecure. Oh, if they could be me for a day…they may not want to be my friend any more! I think it is part of being a human, to feel that disconnection and that sense of being left out. I think sometimes we don’t truly find our complete security in Christ and we look to each for it. I don’t know…I’m still learning on this subject!

  • Gosh….almost everyday I suffer such shortcomings! I sometimes wonder if it’s just human nature. I look at some people who look so confident and I think to myself, “I wish I could be like that.” Then a conversation ignites with that same person and they share their insecurity. I have had friends tell me that they think I am such a confident person, never feeling insecure. Oh, if they could be me for a day…they may not want to be my friend any more! I think it is part of being a human, to feel that disconnection and that sense of being left out. I think sometimes we don’t truly find our complete security in Christ and we look to each for it. I don’t know…I’m still learning on this subject!

  • Brandon Hackett

    Thanks (again) for your honesty, Lindsey.

    I got an email from my supervisor regarding a meeting that said, “Brandon, (unnamed person) specifically asked that I don’t bring you along because he is not letting his whole team go and feels it could cause jealousy among them if you go”
    …specifically being asked not to attend a meeting – that was one of my recent times of feeling left out.

    I hope that makes you laugh (or at least smile).

  • I locked my keys out of my house. I felt very left out.

  • Speaking right to my heart once again. Growing up, I always felt like everyone saw me as a “nice girl”, and I was “friends with everyone”, but being friends with everyone, didn’t translate into being invited to go places. At work, I don’t think I’m perceived as being a “fun girl”, so don’t actually get invited out (except now people are doing more “inclusive” parties and inviting anyone who wants to come which is a lot less 7th grade 😉 ) Of course, now I’m a (foster) mom, so it seems like I can never go anywhere even if there IS something fun going on!

    I think the path that I (I mean, God) have created for myself has led to more being left out as an adult simply because it’s “different”. Before I had kids, I pretty much just read “mommy blogs” and felt left out. Now that I have kids, I still read some of those, but found more “single gal blogs” and reading about conferences and travel and such makes me feel a little left out. However, since the kids I have aren’t actually “mine” and won’t be “mine” for that much longer, I can’t 100% relate to the “mom talk” of my friends.

    Not saying that I would change the path that I’m on because it’s amazingly challenging and rewarding and blessed beyond words, but those feeling left out days of elementary, high school, and even college, still creep in now and again, but then we must remember that we’re never alone…even when it’s lonely sometimes 🙂

  • it’s already been said, but twitter is def an easy way to feel left out! gah! honestly? sometimes i wish i could be a part of your group with sarah and alece, et al. {did i really just confess that out loud?} but it’s like kyle & jason state in the first comments (and i’m sure others say this) that there is so much in which we *are* included and, also, i try in those moments i feel left out to call other friends who might need to also feel included by someone.

    there was only one high school in my hometown, so everyone who grew up there knew each other. i never subscribed to one group, was friends with everyone but wanted desperately to fit in with the ‘popular’ girls (and that was the group i really felt the most awkward around).

    i’m naturally inclusive, too, lindsey, and LOVE to connect and network folks. then i have to hold on loosely because inevitably i will end up feeling jealous and left out otherwise. and i know there are more important things than my insecurities.

    thanks for this, lindsey.

    xo

  • Anonymous

    Well, a few friends from our small group had a super bowl party and we wernt invited. 🙁 Even though we dont really like football, still made me sad.

  • I tend to set traps for myself….with my unrealistic expectations. If I’m feeling left out, it’s because my expectation was not met in a relationship or at work, any circumstance really. I love it when people, friends and family are loved on by others – but usually I want the credit, the love, the adoration. So, I guess I end up feeling left out because of my self-centeredness! Yuck.

  • I feel that way often – very often in fact. And in fact, I felt it today. Facebook & Twitter don’t help either. (on Facebook, I can at least hide people on my wall – Twitter, not so much) It is an insecurity issue stemming from my very friendship-challenged childhood – and how I deal with it, is to simply pray through it – and embrace the truth that they are my friend too and we have times when we hang out and the other people are not invited.

    It is a constant reminder to myself that it is not all about me – but man, at times, it is hard for it not to feel like it is.

  • Having moved to Nashville recently (it’s been barely a month) — I feel like the awkward new kind in town again. Everyone has been so loving and gracious but I can’t help but feel left out at gatherings where all of the people have known each other for years. I feel like I have no value to put into conversations because I know nothing about this city. I am believing I will grow out of it! I am a lot like you — I love including everyone.

  • The way you share your brave heart always invites people in.
    This is a gift…

  • Sunnymcain

    Ha! I feel this pretty much every day on twitter:) Silly I know, but it seems many people that I “follow” and who follow me all have deep rooted friendships and I find myself asking, “am I not witty enough, wise enough..were my tweets not spiritual enough, funny, insightful..blah blah, yada yada.” Thank you for being willing to admit that you wrestle with this feeling too. ..mainly because I always viewed you as an “insider” in the twitter land:) Silly thoughts…silly thoughts. I am an insider in the body of Christ…why does this bother me so? !

  • Yep, I know exactly what you’re saying. For me, it happens every time there’s some big event going on… uh, like Catalyst. My full time pay job isn’t ministry-related, so every time Catalyst comes to town, it’s Catalyst this and Catalyst that from just about everyone I follow on Twitter. Not the least bit jealous or anything 😉

  • Victoria.john06

    Well, the last time that I felt left out was today. Here’s what’s happened….. So I am in junior high and I’ve just moved to a new school which I ab-so-lutely love! Today, which is not my first bad experience, a group of girls were talking about going out on Saturday to do shopping and spend the day at someone’s house. And it’s like…. I was sitting right there while they talked about arrangements and they didn’t even include my name in anything. I felt so left out cuz I was the only girl that they didn’t even think about inviting. How strange… it’s like they have no heart. It is very hard for me to deal with, sometimes I just sit at lunch all by myself with no one to talk to…. besides the boys in the class who even hate me more. Anyway, I guess that I just have to get use to being left out now. My only answer is prayers, but I think that I have been doing that for the past year and a half. Before that, everything was fine…. I don’t know what I did wrong. But I won’t give up hope, I’ll just keep praying.