This story is partly a plea for advise, as I had no idea how to handle the situation when it was occurring.
In my first year at university, I naturally gravitated towards a group of girls in my seminar group. This group consisted of most of the girls in the seminar group (there were three seminar groups in the year). Since we were all about the same age and studying the same subject, we got on pretty well and had quite few things in common. We sat together in lectures (several degrees shared units and lecturers) and often ate lunch together. We hadn’t known each other very long, but I was under the impression that we all got on well enough.
Then, one day at the beginning of a lecture, one of the girls asked the rest of the group, “So, what time are we meeting up tonight?”
It turned out that the other girls had arranged to go out for the evening at some point. This was the first I had heard of it, so it had obviously been discussed while I wasn’t present. I was a little hurt at not being invited, but the last thing I wanted to do was demand an invitation to an event I wasn’t wanted at, so I didn’t say anything.
This proceeded to continue on a quite regular basis. The other girls in the group would make plans to meet up or go out together, often talking right over my head to debate meeting times and what clubs/restaurants/bars to go to. Another thing they would often do is discuss what a great time they had all had the night/weekend before, seemingly oblivious to my dismay at being excluded yet again. The thing that made it worse was that there was no obviously overt maliciousness in their actions – they just seemed completely clueless that discussing an event that a member of the conversation hadn’t been invited to might be hurtful.
I eventually took the hint and withdrew from the group, but it caused a real knock to my confidence. Even then, there was one final twist of the knife. At the end of the year, having completed our final exam and now being able to relax somewhat, our seminar group were discussing how we thought it had gone, when a member of the group declared (right in the middle of the conversation) that they should all go to her place to relax and celebrate the exams being over. With that, they left, leaving me standing there.
The story does fortunately have a happy ending. After going back for the summer and spending time with the friends I’d known for years, I realized I’d put up with being excluded because I was afraid of not making any other friends at university. A group of students from another seminar group in the same year kept in touch with me throughout the summer, and on the first lecture after returning, asked me if I’d like to join them to go out for dinner. I now spend a great deal of time with them, both in and out of university. I also became heavily involved in several clubs and societies and made a great deal of friends there, regularly meeting up for drinks and coffee and all the things the other group of girls used to plan over my head.
In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time with the group before deciding I’d had enough. I never confronted them on their exclusion of me, as I still have seminars and team projects with them, and they even declare sometimes how we “Never see each other anymore!”. To my knowledge, they still have no idea why I stopped hanging around with them. 0824-12
Your experience isn’t that uncommon. Everyone, til the day they die, will miscalculate the level of relationship intimacy among friends and have an epiphany realization that they have invested in a relationship that just wasn’t worth the time and emotional expenditure. My most recent one was when I had cancer three years ago. Get cancer and you will discover real fast who your true friends are. People I thought I was very close with abandoned me with no solace, no cards, no further contact as if my cancer was like leprosy. On the other hand, people I had minimal acquaintance with came out of the woodwork and invested weekly to see how I was doing. So I’m not entirely sure such trials and revelations into the character of one’s friends is all that bad of a thing to happen. It’s like relationship closet cleaning..out with the bad, in with the new and good.