I think my friends have set up a new WhatsApp group without me. I said it to my mam and she said I’m probably just paranoid and imagining it. But I know they have. Because we have a Snapchat group and in there one of the girls said, “go check our WhatsApp group”. Some of the other girls came back with laughing and smiley faces but I didn’t get any message in WhatsApp and when I asked them they all just went quiet. It really hurts because I don’t know why they would leave me out, we’re meant to be friends.
Thank you so much for getting in touch and sharing your story with me. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re going through this right now. It must really hurt so I’m glad you reached out.
This is a tough one because our friends are our world aren’t they? They make us laugh, we can share everything with them, we get to go on adventures with them, we become part of their family and they become part of ours…but they can also hurt us and break our hearts. They have the power to do that because we love them so much! And also because we have a human need to belong. And we get that sense of belonging through our friend group.
So when it seems like we’ve been left out in the cold, by the very friends who are meant to give us that sense of belonging, it really hurts. It makes us feel extremely vulnerable.
So what can you do?
Well, that comes in two parts; (1) you need to do something for you, and (2) you can also address it with them, if you feel ready. Let’s look at what you can do for yourself first. Get a journal or notebook, and a pen/pencil, and think back to the moment you realised this group chat without you existed – what did you think, how did you feel, and what did you do? Write down as much as you can remember about it. Thoughts first: Did you think they were mean, did you think you were imagining things, did you think “what the hell?!”. Then feelings: Did you feel angry, sad, confused…all three? And actions: Did you say something? Did you let it slide? Did you cry afterwards? Now, read back over what you’ve written as if it was a story. X happened, I felt Y, and then I did Z.
Tell your story, and honour it. You did your absolute best and whatever you felt was absolutely valid. This exercise will make you feel more confident in yourself because it connects you to YOU.
Now comes the next part. Do you want to address it? You might not want to, which is fine. But if you do, here’s how. You start by making a statement that takes ownership of the feelings you felt because of their actions; “I felt really upset when I realised that I’d been left out. I love being part of this group and I felt really hurt and confused to think that I might have been left out. Do you know why you might have chosen to do that?” What that does is (1) keeps them from getting defensive, and (2) it opens up a conversation for them to explain.
Friendships are tough to navigate sometimes. I hope this helps – feel free to let me know how it goes for you. Mind yourself, and don’t forget that you’re awesome!