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Left Out Of The Activities….Hmm, What Is Going On Here?

This has happened a couple of times, and I haven’t said anything to my friends because I honestly just don’t know how to respond.

I’m a bit of an orgniser. So if I see an event/class/talk I think I might enjoy, I will invite my friends to come along. Not everyone every time, but people who I think would also be interested in whatever I was going to share.

Now, it hasn’t happened too often, but it’s happened enough to be a pattern. I will send out a message saying, “HI, I’m going to x event/activity, would people like to join me?”  I’ll have a bit of response to message and others will ignore. Then a few weeks later I’ll see they’ve all gone to whatever it was that I shared and haven’t deigned to include me.

I’m not a crazy person, I don’t expect to be invited to everything. But if I send out a message saying, “Does anyone want to see x movie with me” and then they all go and see that movie in a group without me, I’m going to be really annoyed. And while at first I ignored it, or thought it was a coincidence, it’s starting to make me angrier every time it happens.

It happened last weekend. I posted about a gallery doing art workshops over various weekends. Two friends went to two different workshops (including one person who ignored my message). And I’m just left wondering what on earth I’ve done and why I’m being left out. Is this rude or am I reading too much into it? 0304-18

I always think it’s a good idea to do a self examination to see if there is something that would inhibit people from wanting to be with oneself.   Am I interrupting too much?  Is my conversation about me all the time?  Am I being a drama queen?   Too political?

And then there’s the other side of the hand….you can be the nicest person in the world but are shunned because you are being viewed as a killjoy.   One of my daughters had the same thing happen to her several times and it really boiled down to the fact that the other “friends” were heavy drinkers and she isn’t so she was excluded solely on that basis.   Good riddance, imo.

 

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  • ScarletandOlive May 3, 2018, 6:51 am

    There is a difference between a group of people going to a movie that the OP suggested and not inviting her and someone attending a workshop solo. OP sounds like a very needy person. She also has not figured out that blanket invites do not work for her needs. She would be better off extending invites to specific people via phone or in person, rather than on social media.

    • Yolanda May 3, 2018, 8:14 am

      Wow – what a condemning response. I don’t find OP to be needy. Her concern is legitimate.

    • Cat2 May 3, 2018, 9:31 am

      Curious why you think that OP is doing a social media blast doesn’t say anything about the delivery method of the message, and notes they’re inviting different people to different things?

      • ScarletandOlive May 3, 2018, 4:37 pm

        Cat2, I assumed social media because the OP said she “posted”. I have friends who post on Facebook saying “Going to X event this weekend. Who wants to join me?” Then they get upset when people click like but no one responds or goes to the event. That’s not an invitation. It’s not even an evite.

        • Starstruck May 5, 2018, 2:07 pm

          It’s not needy to want to be included in your own group of friends activities. I think you call that normal .

  • sillyme May 3, 2018, 7:33 am

    IMHO, the first priority is not to ask what to fix about yourself, but is there anything *YOU* think you should fix. The admin is right, and it has been a hard life lesson for me to learn that if some people don’t want to be my friends, it’s good riddance to bad rubbish. And really, considering how base some people are, what would it say about me if some group of horrid people liked me? Birds of a feather and all that.

    I’ve also found some cliques need a scapegoat. They form solely to find and target an individual and vent their angst and aggression at same through passive-aggression, like excluding a member. There is no one quality or attribute that is to blame, except maybe accessibility and openness in the scapegoat.

    This is not to say that the group you describe is one of those groups. It’s a possibility, but not a certainty.

    One question I would ask myself is if they always exclude me or just sometimes exclude me on some activities. Also, how are you finding out that they attend without you? I’ve seen groups that for some legitimate reason excluded a member (maybe the topic of a play or movie was a sensitive subject, for example), but took great care not to mention to the person anything that would suggest they’d been excluded. That would tell a lot.

    My good friend has to exclude me from some of her activities: parties at her house, for example. For weeks she’d agonize on whether or not to tell me she’d had a gathering, then apologize and explain. I’ve had to tell her to stop apologizing; she invites me to other things and it’s all fair in the end. In turn, I’ve explained to her I have a strict policy of small groups at my house, with my ideal to “rotate” because I hate big parties.

    So, if these people aren’t taking care to be communicative and respectful of your feelings in that way, and it’s something you need in a friendship, you have some valuable information about how to proceed in furthering your own happiness.

    Apologies to admin for hijacking this topic a little in the comments.

  • nicole May 3, 2018, 7:45 am

    I know that, in my group of friends, those types of mass invites are often ignored as you want to choose who you go with. Different segments of your friend group may not enjoy each other. I like cars and I like dance clubs. These two things don’t always get along. If I did this and one person from each group responded, it would put off the others completely. If you want to organize, you must organize within the boundaries your friends are comfortable with. It is usually easier to set up an invite and invite people that are comfortable with one another. Then people feel like going will be fun. Remember – to some people strangers are scary and not a fun time.

    • Inga May 4, 2018, 12:17 pm

      I second this. I have a friend who will make similar suggestions often in big group chats. We have different tastes in people, so sometimes these group chats include people I don’t want to hang out with. So if those people are part of the group chat, but I do want to attend the event, I will make my own plans rather than join hers.
      (Also note that by making these big group invitations she has basically made it impossible for me to invite her to go to the event with me, as she has already invited people I don’t want to be around to come with her.)

  • SS May 3, 2018, 7:58 am

    It’s also very possible that the date/time that she announced in her invite doesn’t work for the other people but the event interests them. You’ve already announced that you are going on x day. So they end up going at a time/date that works for their calendar instead. There’s no reason to invite you because you already said you are going on a different date.

  • jokergirl129 May 3, 2018, 8:04 am

    Is there anyone in the group of friends you’re closest with that you would feel comfortable sharing your concerns with? Maybe they can help to give insight into the situation and either reassure you that it’s nothing personally or make you aware that perhaps you have done something to make the others not accept your invites.

    I would also try inviting a specific person or specific people with you to an event and see if they are more receptive to the invite or not. Maybe some people aren’t considering your open ended invite as a real invite and hence why some are responding or going to an event without you.

  • ladyv21454 May 3, 2018, 8:14 am

    I suspect that OP’s friends are not actually seeing her messages as an invitation, but as a notification of an event. If this is happening enough that it upsets her, she needs to talk to her friends and ask why she’s continually left out. In future, though, she needs to do as ScarletandOlive suggested above – issue invitations to specific people, instead of a blanket invitation.

  • AMC May 3, 2018, 8:34 am

    I would recommend being more specific in your invitations and send them to one person at a time instead of in group text. Instead of saying “Does anyone want to go see the new Avengers movie with me?” , say “I’m going to the 8 pm showing of Avengers this Saturday. Do you want to go?”

  • Kheldarson May 3, 2018, 8:49 am

    Rather than assign malice here, can we maybe attribute it to stupidity? If you say you’re going to a workshop, maybe they just assume you’ll be there, so they don’t need to let you know they’ll be there too. Just a thought.

    • Ginny May 3, 2018, 3:35 pm

      Yes – this is what I was thinking — she said she let them know she was going, then they went and didn’t invite her — so she didn’t go after all? Why not just go when you say you will and you will likely see some of these people there — Also – I agree with ladyv21454 that these messages may be understood more as “notifications” than actual invitations.

    • Katie May 7, 2018, 12:48 pm

      This has definitely been an issue with my friends. A couple weeks back “Jill” sent out a message on a Facebook thread to our group along the lines of “I’m thinking of going to this event Saturday around 3. Anyone interested?” No one responded so she ended up not going. Then she got a text from “Beth” who went to the event, called her and was upset that Jill ended up not going, even though Beth never contacted her to say she’d be attending. Hurt feelings all around.

    • Jazzgirl205 May 8, 2018, 4:48 pm

      This is exactly what I thought. If OP wants to go to an event, she should just go after she announces it. Her friends probably expected to see her there. If the friends don’t show up, at least OP got to attend the event. She may meet new friends while she’s there.

  • staceyizme May 3, 2018, 8:54 am

    I think OP is definitely reading too much into this. “Hey, this looks interesting! Is anybody up for it…?” is a very generic (and easily ignored or overlooked) invitation, especially in our days of last minute plans and social media interaction. We all make some sort of meaning out of situations that can often be “read” in more than one way. When you host directly and your invitees demur and make excuses, as in “I’d love for you to come to my house for dinner next Sunday at 7pm” or “I’ve got two extra tickets to the concert this weekend, would you like to come as my guest?”. If those kinds of invitations are being turned down or your friends are flaking out on them, it might be time for more self-examination. But the social equivalent of “wanna hang out?” without a host (or at least a specific acceptance) doesn’t merit quite the same degree of navel gazing. It certainly merits none of the chagrin!

  • Julia May 3, 2018, 9:00 am

    Sweetie, you need to get some new friends. First, if possible, can you treat someone you currently consider a friend to lunch and ask them, being as calm and nonjudgmental and nice as possible, why your current so-called friends don’t want to hang out with you. Maintain in iron spine during the conversation and think carefully about what this person says. You don’t have to take it as the gospel, but you are being purposefully excluded, and if you don’t figure out why this group has turned their backs, you won’t know what to do differently next time around.’

    We are in control of who we are and whom we choose to be with. And what caused this current problem may be something simple, like being too controlling or not giving up the floor for others to speak. It might be that you are too negative or that someone started some nasty rumor about you.

    At the end of lunch, thank the person for their honesty (if they’re nice enough to give you that gift). Do not argue or attack them for telling you what’s going on.

    And then sign up for something totally new with a new group of people, such as an exercise or dance class or a book club, and start out fresh, avoiding the behavior that got you in the non-friend-zone last time. Your current group isn’t going to change, and they’re doing nothing for you.

  • Zhaleh May 3, 2018, 9:10 am

    First of all, ask a particular person or two. Because that way it sounds more like you want to spend time with the person and less like you need company while you go do this thing.

    Secondly, you may not be the only person who likes going out and enjoying things in the city.
    Maybe two of your friends have already signed up for workshops, because they actually spoke to each other, made plans and signed up and decided where to go for lunch after.

    So how are they supposed to respond to a random shout out from you for everyone to come join a group? They’ve already made plans.

    I would argue your not an organizer at all but a suggester. Just text or email or call specific people and ask if they’d like to go do this thing with you at this place at this time. That’s organizing.
    If they don’t respond to direct requests, then you can worry.

  • Princess Buttercup May 3, 2018, 9:25 am

    I’ve had stuff like this happen. I took on organizer role for a group of friends because they wanted someone to and no one else was available. Things were fine, if they could come they would. But over time disrespect started happening. Stuff like saying they would be there then last minute “just not feeling up to it”. Or being extremely late to things. Then one day one of the others in the group planned something (I always encouraged them to do so) and many people thought we we’re going to be there (I told the host but didn’t make our attendance public.) and when we pulled up all the people who could never manage to be on time, were there early.
    Unfortunately some people have a problem with authority. Even if they are the only ones assigning you authority, they will resent you for being a leader.
    Also people hate when others seem to have it together. Look at you going to all this fun stuff, I don’t manage my time well enough to do all that. Or I’m too lazy to do all that so I’m envious. Etc. I have had so many people hate me simply because I naturally exude an air of confidence and seem like I have it all together. The ones that get to know me and realize that isn’t true really feel stupid for hating me.

    Either way, start taking note of those that never respond or that go in a group to do what you suggested without you, and stop including them in your invites. They are not ready to be a friend.

  • JD May 3, 2018, 9:31 am

    That would be hurtful to me if I found out others were going without me after I’d said I wanted to go, but I would also have to wonder what’s going on. There’s more information needed here: do you see these people in their homes ever? Much? Sometimes? Do you all get together for a meal on occasion? How much socializing do you really do with these people — should you reasonably expect them to go places with you, or are you more of a casual acquaintance, whereas they have close friends they normally attend things with? I agree with ScarletandOlive, have you tried asking one or two people specifically? I’m not the kind to be inclined to “sign up” to attend an event as part of a group, but I would probably go if the invitation was only to me.
    On the other end of that, these friends may not be such good friends to you. You may have a few unpleasant ones who choose to ignore or exclude you, possibly manipulating others to do the same. How do they all treat you otherwise, when invitations aren’t involved?

  • Doris May 3, 2018, 9:34 am

    Maybe I missed something, but it sounds as though OP announced that she/he would definitely be at the event, but then did not attend. Perhaps OP’s friends attended expecting to see & socialize with OP, who does not seem to have followed through on her/his stated plans. If that is the case, those friends may be thinking that OP has been ditching them.

  • sandisadie May 3, 2018, 10:01 am

    I agree with ScarletandOlive. Speaking for myself, I would want to attend an event with someone who specifically invited me to join them; not with someone who is obviously used to trolling for just anyone to join them. Once in a great while just throwing out a blanket invite would be ok, but this person is evidently known in her group of friends as someone needy.

    • staceyizme May 4, 2018, 8:56 am

      I agree! Finding an exceptional event or venue is only the first part of the process of hosting! If you’re organizing social opportunities with the hopes that someone will attend, you have to specify the “someone” (or ones) that you have in mind. Otherwise, it does really look like a blanket blast to your social network, and no real obligation to notify or to attend on OP’s terms has been incurred. For people who think that others shouldn’t want to attend movies, workshops and similar events without including the one who originally suggested it, maybe consider that there is a center of gravity that occurs when making plans that are specific. These kinds of plans are much more likely to succeed. The equivalent of “hey, I suggested that first!” is only valid if you specified the date, time, terms (hosted or everyone pays for themselves) and invitees. We’re all kind of inundated with emails and social media messages. It’s routine to ignore them and it isn’t generally conscious. Most of us respond somewhat better to specific inquiries about getting together because we have all the information needed to decide.

  • lkb May 3, 2018, 10:17 am

    I’m sorry you have to deal with this OP. The only thing I have to offer is to wonder if they expected to meet you there?

  • Pame May 3, 2018, 10:23 am

    I wondering how the OP is issuing these invitations. She used phrases of “sending out a message” but then said she “posted” about a gallery event over several weekends.

    If sending a directed email or message to a group of 5 or 6 saying “I’d like to attend this gallery opening. I’m available either weekend. Is anyone planning to go or would anyone like to join me?” then I see that as an actual invitation and I would expect those 5 or 6 to send a response. If she later found out 2 or 3 attended but didn’t invite her, she would know for sure that they chose to not include her and should do some personal introspection about maybe why her friends are excluding her from events.

    However, if she is just posting on her FB page or even a large FB group with “Gallery opening on the following weekends. Who wants to go?” then I see that as general sharing of information. And 2 or 3 might say “Oh that sounds fun but I don’t want to go with a big group, let’s go next Saturday.”

    I’d recommend that instead of trying to be a “organizer” she should instead begin issuing specific invitations to 1 or 2 friends and if they choose to join and she still wants to invite others she can ask if they mind if she extends the invite to a few more.

    I personally do not like “crowd planning” events. I’m a member of a FB group of about 30 women who meet for lunches. If I want to plan a lunch with them, I’ll reach out via PM to 1 or 2 in the group and suggest lunch at a location and find out what dates works for them. I’ll then post that date and location and invite others to join us.

    I refuse to get involved in the exchanges that start with “who wants to go to lunch as X place?” That leads to about 10 all saying sounds great, and then a suggestion of dates and one is finally selected after everyone that is posting comes up with a date that will work for the majority of them (but there is always someone who really wanted to go that can’t make that date). Once the date and location is decided, I’ll RSVP on whether I can attend.

  • Adelaide May 3, 2018, 10:34 am

    OP, your messages sound like they’re putting the onus on your friends to actually do the organizing. Expressing interest in something to a large audience isn’t the same thing as an invitation. It’s not actually an invitation if you don’t mention doing a specific event at a specific time to specific people. If I saw a random “Hey, anyone want to go see X movie with me this weekend?” message on Facebook, I don’t feel like I have an obligation to invite that person to that movie if I decide to go see it with other people.

  • Dee May 3, 2018, 10:38 am

    Wait, you say you’re going to X event, and you let others know you are going and would they like to go, too, and then they are there, too, and you feel they made plans to be there without you? I don’t get it. They know you’ll be there, and then they attend, so surely they are going to at least see you, if not sit with and participate with you? Or do they shun you once they see you? You don’t clarify in your letter.

    Are you asking for a reply to your posting? If not, then why are you upset when you don’t get one? If you want one, then request one, and ask whether anyone wants to carpool, go out for coffee after, etc. If they really are shunning you then you’ll know by their lack of response, especially if you see them later at the event anyway. But I’m still confused as to how they are at the event, and you are at the event, but yet you are not a part of their group.

    The way you’ve written your letter almost sounds as if you DON’T actually go to the events after all and you find out later that your friends were there. And yet your posts to them tell them that you ARE going to the event, and would they like to join you? If you never show up at the event, after saying you are going, they might think you’re rather flaky and just leave it at that. I think that would be my assumption, although if you’re a good friend I might inquire as to why you didn’t show up after all, when you had said that you would.

    And I think you might be confused as to the term “invite”. You’re not inviting anyone anywhere, you’re giving them a heads-up as to your plans and offering them a chance to join you. If you really want to invite them then ask if they would like to go with you, your treat, and to let you know their preference by X date. As it is, I wonder if your “invitation” is just vague enough that others think anyone who’s going will simply meet up at the event, you included. And then maybe you’re not there and they think you’re just a very spontaneous person, and found something better to do. Maybe they even feel you’re standing THEM up?

  • Livvy17 May 3, 2018, 10:45 am

    Sorry to hear this OP. Whatever the reasons, these “friends” are acting as anything but.
    What the Admin advises could be the case, or a third possibility is that there is one strong personality in the group who doesn’t like you, and somehow discourages the others to spend time with you. If it were me in this situation, I’d probably try making plans with one person in the group at a time, try to really get to know that person one-on-one, rather than in the group dynamic. You’d find out pretty quickly who is unwilling to spend time with you, and from the people who do want to hang out with you, you might find out what happened the other times. If they all make excuses to avoid spending time with you, you might also ask yourself why you consider these folks friends in the first place….maybe you have outgrown them over the years? If that’s the case, or they have very different expectations about what’s fun to do, then you might want to seek out friends with more similar interests, or do some of that self-introspection that the Admin suggests.

  • Lerah99 May 3, 2018, 11:01 am

    I don’t understand how they are going without the OP.

    If I made a post or sent a group message saying “Hey guys! I’ll be seeing the new Avenger’s movie at ABC Theater on Friday. It’s the 8:30pm showing. Love to see you there! I’ll be in seat D17. The seats next to me are still open.” How on earth could 3 of the people from that message have gone and left me behind? Like I’m going to be there.

    Same thing with the workshop. “Hey guys! I’ll be taking this glass bead making workshop next month. I’m also thinking about taking the basket weaving class on the 23rd. Let me know if any of you are interested in going! I’d love to see you!”

    If two of those people signed up for the glass bead making workshop or the basket weaving class, how could they possibly “exclude” me. I’m already going.

    It seems to me that the OP’s mistake is waiting to hear from her friends before continuing on with her plans.

    You don’t need a group of people in order to see a movie, attend a play, participate in a workshop, etc…

    Make your plans, enjoy your life, and let your friends know if you think they’d also enjoy it.

    But don’t wait to hear from them and then feel all excluded if a few of them take you up on your offer and you never showed.

    I bet your friends think it’s a little weird you keep inviting them to do things and then don’t show up.

    • Rebecca May 5, 2018, 2:23 am

      Except that there would be some indication, if they expected to see the OP there, of making arrangements.

      It wouldn’t be

      OP: “Want to see the Avengers movie on Friday?”
      Group: “(Silence)”

      Friday comes….

      Group: “I wonder why OP isn’t here.”

      No, it usually goes more like this:

      OP: “Want to go see the Avengers movie on Friday?”
      Sue: “Sure, I’m in!”
      Catherine: “Great, what time?”
      Jane: “I can come…should we meet for dinner first?”
      OP: “Sure, how about we all meet 6 PM at the Crow and Kitten pub? Does that work for everyone?”
      Catherine: “Works for me, see you there!”

      Etc.

      Instead it sounds like Catherine, Jane, and Sue began a separate message thread without the OP and planned to go see the movie together.

  • Kay_L May 3, 2018, 11:29 am

    I think I may understand the root of the problem here. The OP says she’s an “organizer.” And then she will send out a message to “anyone” to “join” her.

    I think maybe people do not want to be part of an “organized” effort, or they may not want to be part of an effort organized by the OP–they don’t want to “join her,” they just want to go.

    A better idea would be to ask one person “Would you like to go see that new movie?” Maybe that person knows someone else who might “join” the two of you.

    Let it be more organic. Don’t try to be the “organizer.” It can make people feel constricted when someone else thinks they are “in charge” of some activity that they can do just as easily on their own.

  • AS May 3, 2018, 11:36 am

    Your invites may not be perceived as “invites”, but rather as “information” about an event. Not knowing either you or your friends, I can’t say what is going on – the admin pointed out both the scenarios that can happen; or maybe the friends were already planning something before they got your invite and didn’t want to change the plans, or they couldn’t make it on the day you wanted to go (both of which, I admit, they should have informed you of).

    It might be a good idea for you to stop sending these invites to your friends for a little while. If they are getting their information from you, then let them not get the info’ for a while. If anyone asks, you could say (without any dramatics) that “none of you seemed interested, so I stopped sending”. If they get the info’ from other sources, then they are leaving you behind anyway, which as harsh for you now; but do a thorough self-examination of yourself as the admin said, and then get a new set of friends.

  • Lindsay May 3, 2018, 11:39 am

    While I think The Dame’s response is helpful and that introspection can provide answers, it’s not comprehensive. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to reach out to these friends (not on social media as it will look passive-aggressive) and say something along the lines of “Oh I was also interested in that event and emailed you about it last month. ” then seeing the response. If it’s vague or sounds like they’re trying not to hurt your feelings, then you might ask “Have I done something in the past where you would not want to attend this with me?” If so, be prepared for an answer that will hurt, and be sure you are up for that answer without accusing or attacking your friend for their honesty. Good luck!

  • Girlie May 3, 2018, 12:25 pm

    I’ve been on the side where I’m not the “fun” one, and so I (and my poor husband, by default) are frequently left out. I’m conservative, and rather square, with a dry sense of humor that not many people appreciate. I do my best to always take other peoples’ feelings into consideration, and I never delve into subjects like religion or politics. I just think that to my husband’s friends, I come across as being uptight and something of a stick-in-the-mud. I’m actually NOT those things, but I enjoy a different KIND of fun than they do, so we just don’t click.

    I actually embrace these qualities about myself now, though I didn’t when I was younger. I will never be popular, though I am generally well-liked and respected. I don’t expect to be invited to parties, though I am increasingly surprised by the number of people who seek my opinions for various things.

    Take the good with the bad, OP. Maybe the problem isn’t YOU, maybe the problem is that the group of people you’re wanting to be around just isn’t YOUR group of people.

    (To answer your question, though – In my experience, people are usually more thoughtless than intentionally rude, and that’s probably the case here. One of my (newer) favorite quotes is “Never attribute to malice that which is easily explained by stupidity.”)

  • MelEtiquette May 3, 2018, 12:27 pm

    Do these friends ever send out similar blanket invitations to events to you – and if they do, do you reply and attend? Are they attending other events (ones in which you have not expressed interest) without inviting you? Do all the people you invite know each other better than you know any of them?

    I agree with other posters who have suggested to focus your invites to one or two people rather than a blanket invitation to a larger group. Without knowing more about the general dynamics of your social circle, it’s difficult to pinpoint why this seems to keep happening to you, but I agree with Admin that you should look first at whether you are less than great company (e.g., “Are you always ‘forgetting your wallet’?”, “Do you often cancel at the last minute?”) and then work on communicating with the friends that would be most interested in X event to firm up definite plans.

  • Bea May 3, 2018, 12:28 pm

    Do not do a blanket invite, others will think someone has taken you up on the offer and do their own thing. I want invites because you want to hangout with me, you know I’m down with kittens with balls of strings and there’s a local exhibit. So you reach out personally saying “Bea, are you busy on Saturday? Kitten Olympics are going on at the fair grounds! Would you go with me?” I’ll take you up on that most likely. Or I’ll say “yes, I saw! I am going with Nancy.” it’s also possible I’ll invite you to join us depending on the setup.

    If I get a group invite to anything other than a birthday party or hosted event, I’ll weigh my options heavily. I’m not aware of how your friend circle is but I have friends who have no other friends in common and I’m somewhat of a hermit, I don’t branch out too much. If someone is gathering a group up for Kittens and String Extravaganza, I’ll have more fun and comfort to bypass your big group of semi strangers and go with a selected person that perhaps we do know mutually but who knows.

    These exhibits, workshops and movies are out there and often your friend’s may already know. So just because you told them doesn’t mean it wasn’t already in their plans.

    So please rethink how you invite others to save yourself the hurt feelings! You have a good opportunity to retool your approach and you’ll be so much happier. Know your audience is key.

  • Kate 2 May 3, 2018, 4:16 pm

    OP, I was thinking a lot about this, and I haven’t seen anyone else post it so far. Maybe your friends don’t like big group events? If, in the past people have accepted your invitations, did you remember to tell them about the other friends that were going? Because it sounds like you send a mass email to, say, 5 friends, and it looks like a personal invite to each. So they reply back to you and want to come, and show up at the event thinking it is one on one and a bunch of other people show up. And so now they feel like a bait and switch went on? So they go in pairs on their own.

    Maybe also they didn’t intend to go together, but accidentally met at the event after going solo to it?

    I agree with others, it probably isn’t you, but it might be. I know a few people who do wonder why no one wants to hang out, but when you tell them the truth they blow up at you and wind up just as lonely with one less friend. LW some of the bad habits I’ve seen: chewing with your mouth open and very loudly, constant fidgets that are distracting and loud, always telling a story about yourself after someone speaks rather than asking questions about them, insisting on talking negatively about yourself and your life, etc.

    As well, you might simply have incompatible “styles”. Some people I love I just can’t do things with. They want to speed through an exhibit for example, or insist on looking at every single piece for 10 minutes, they love talking about a movie while watching it, or insist on dead silence, etc. If your friends have very different styles than yours, maybe that is it.

  • Ergala May 3, 2018, 4:51 pm

    I am a single mom. Because of this I am never included in invites or to birthday parties for friends. Reason I know this? I’ve been told when I have point blank asked why I’m excluded “Well you’re a single mom….we don’t have kids. You don’t talk about the kids all the time but we didn’t think you’d enjoy XYZ activity.”. It hurts a lot. I have no social life because I live in a very small area. It was like the moment I filed for divorce I became shunned. And no, none of my friends took my ex’s side. They all hated his guts and still do. I have just come to accept that I am not going to be included and will ask my sitter to watch my two kiddos so that I can do something I enjoy once every couple of months. It can be depressing to always go to coffee alone…

    • imc May 11, 2018, 5:59 am

      I’m so sorry about this. Unfortunately, this group of people doesn’t seem very friendly at all. Once you had that particular conversation, I’m sure your reaction must have been something along the lines of “oh, I’m sorry you thought that: I would actually have enjoyed that very much indeed and I have a sitter, please consider including me next time”. So the fact that they kept on excluding you doesn’t say very good things about them.

      This also explains why no one would agree to have coffee with you, I guess.

  • Anonymous May 3, 2018, 8:09 pm

    I’ve had the same problem, and my solution has been to simply, plan to do things by myself. Sometimes I’ll ask friends (individually or in small groups according to interest, depending what the activity is) if they’d like to join me, but only for open-ended things without firm start times. So, if I’m going to a movie, or a play, or a concert or something like that, I won’t ask, “Would you like to see XYZ with me?”; I’ll say, “I’m going to see XYZ; maybe I’ll see you there.” I do this because I already know that a lot of my friends can be flaky, so by planning to do things alone, I still get to do whatever the thing was, so my time isn’t wasted.

    Another thing I do/have done, is join activities that meet at set times, like the steel band I used to play in, that rehearsed twice a week, and periodically did performances at events around the community. OP, could you do something like that? You could start off making friends at whatever the activity is (depending on what you like to do), and then get a feel for who you’d like to socialize with further, from there–so, maybe not the person who’s always arriving late, and forgetting their shin guards/paintbrushes/music folder/whatever. In fact, you might even meet someone who joined the activity for the same reason you did–because their current group of friends is unreliable, and they’re looking to meet new people.

  • OP May 4, 2018, 12:24 am

    OP here.

    Lots of great comments here giving me some food for thought.

    For clarity: I’m not making blanket invites for these things. They are targeted to a small group of people from the same friend group (I’ve already learned the hard way that my friend groups do not mix well). And I’m also careful not to invite people to too many things. .

    Perhaps the workshop weirdness was was a bad example, here’s another: I bought a voucher for a kayak session. It wasn’t tied to a particular date. I invited three other people to join me, and linked them to the voucher. I heard nothing and assumed they weren’t interested. Organised to go buy myself and then a week later all three have tagged themselves in a post about their awesome time kayaking. It was pretty hurtful.

    • Rebecca May 5, 2018, 2:16 am

      That’s pretty blatant and I’d also be exploring for answers about why that’s going on. I’d almost want to ask them, but if they are doing that, then the chances are they wouldn’t be comfortable telling you what it is.

      I hear you and I’m sorry. Ouch. They went to the link YOU suggested, said hey what a great idea, but then split off to exclude you?

    • Starstruck May 5, 2018, 2:04 pm

      I can see how that would be frustrating! I think at that point I would have to ask them why .

    • Barensmom May 6, 2018, 3:48 pm

      Yeah, I’m guessing that was deliberate. They couldn’t get more hurtful if they thought on it for a month. I’d drop them and find new people to hang out with, that won’t put you in the position of “organizer.”

      • Pame May 7, 2018, 9:06 am

        OP, are you close enough to any of these friends to bring up the issue? Just a “Have I done something to offend you? I noticed that no one responded to my suggestion of going kayaking but then you, Sally, and Tina all went kayaking the next week.”

        I’d also take note about whether they ever invite you to activities. If the answer is no, you might want to reconsider if they are really your friends.

    • Livvy17 May 7, 2018, 2:00 pm

      So, the three of them used YOUR coupon to go kayaking without you? Those are not your friends. Those are users of the highest order. Get rid of them.

      If you’re looking for new friends with similar interests, or just some company on things you’d like to do, maybe try Meet Up? With Meet Up, you can join in actvities others have posted, or vice versa. I have a very good friend who is single, and has moved several times to new cities, and used Meet Up to find events she was interested in attending, then made lots of good friends at those events. It might work well for you too. 🙂

      • OP May 7, 2018, 5:52 pm

        They didn’t use my coupon, but it was the same company etc that they went with. So they definitely saw the voucher that I linked them to (as a “hey, do you want to join me”).

        I struggle a bit with strangers, but I am getting better and forcing myself to use things like Meetup to meet new people. I feel a bit stuck: the friends I have are clearly not good for me, but if I move on before I have new friends then I’m stuck doing everything by myself. Which is fine, I go to the movies etc alone fairly often, but sometimes you just want company.

  • shoegal May 4, 2018, 6:54 am

    I refuse to do group texts anymore. There is always some sort of shuffle and discontent in our group that I prefer to send out individual texts so that the information of who will be attending is not readily known. It gets me into trouble. I can sympathize with the OP in that there were instances where the entire group had dinner plans and nobody thought to include me and my husband. Or a bunch of people went here or there and the next time we have a get together that “event” is discussed. We can’t comment on the event because we weren’t included. I tried to let that roll off my back but I felt left out and I really couldn’t understand why.

    I have now become indifferent to the entire thing. I don’t care anymore. I’m not the most popular member of the group – people don’t actively or routinely seek us out to go places and I refuse to even strive for that. I don’t like the drama and I’m secure in the knowledge that we can be happy with just our little family unit any day of the week. I don’t need social validation. I’m not one of those people that craves or needs to be in the thick of things.

  • MzLiz May 4, 2018, 3:32 pm

    My good friend, ‘R’, would also describe herself as an ‘organizer’ while others might use a word like ‘controlling’ instead. She’s a hard-core Type A personality who has a tenancy to be domineering & ‘take charge’ (regardless if it’s warranted or whether she’s been asked to or not 😉 ). She means well but this can put people off doing things with her because very few independent adults enjoy feeling like they’re children being herded around on school trip. Don’t get me wrong; there are times when this trait of hers is EXACTLY what a situation requires; it’s no coincidence that she’s been a MOH more than everyone I’ve ever met. The Vile Vendor or Wedding Witch that she can’t handle doesn’t exist. Need to get your boisterous family settled for pictures or make sure Uncle John doesn’t get wasted & embarrass you? She’s your lady.

    BUT. It can take the fun out of ordinary get-togethers when you know from the start there’s a possibility that you’ll have to argue over tiny, dumb stuff like wanting to stop for a coffee on the fly, because it’s not on the ‘itinerary’. Unless you’re very comfortable with speaking up or you’re a super laid-back type who prefers to just go along, it’s often easier to avoid inviting someone who’s likely to take over & turn a pleasant, casual outing into a military operation.

    Any chance this could be you, OP? R genuinely didn’t see this until a few of her close pals pointed it out & to her credit – she had her Big Girl Panties on, acknowledged she can be Ms. Bossy Boots & really improved (cos, in general, she rocks). But my friend-group tends to be very honest with each other. If you want an answer & can’t find a satisfactory one through self-inspection, maybe pick the friend that’ll be the most straight-forward with you & ask them why they think this is happening. Be prepared to hear some criticism & to be a little hurt but at least you’ll know. Then you can make the choice to either work on yourself or find different friends who’re better suited to you.

    • OP May 7, 2018, 6:01 pm

      I’m actually acutely aware of this issue and take steps to avoid it. I don’t want to be the bossy person, and I’m mindful of how often I invite people to do stuff (I don’t want to be annoying). I hate going away with friends and someone has decided to plan everything to the minute (this has happened once, I got yelled at for taking too long to drink water during our designated “tea” time, it was terrible and I won’t be travelling with that person again).

      So I will suggest “MAIN EVENT” to an appropriately chosen group and arrange tickets/bookings for people who want to go, if it’s something that we might want to have drinks/meal before hand I will say something along the lines of “we have time for x, would people like to do that” and then I will make a suggestion for where we could go followed by “does anyone have other suggestions, I’m easy going” (otherwise it descends into “I don’t know, where do you want to go” ad nauseum), if someone else suggests something better and the consensus is for somewhere else I’m not too bothered.

      And at this point I’m pretty heavily addicted to caffeine so unless it’s a “we have five minutes to get to venue” type situation I am ALWAYS happy to stop for coffee 😉

  • EchoGirl May 4, 2018, 6:52 pm

    I agree with other posters that I think you’re endowing your Facebook posts (assuming these are posts and not PMs) as being more attention-grabbing than they are. Between all the people I’m friends with, I might have hundreds of posts a day coming across my “front page”. I’m not necessarily going to remember every single one.

    Consider also that if it’s a popular event, you may not be the only person on a given friend’s feed asking the same question. For example, a bunch of my friends (many of whom don’t know each other) went to go see “Black Panther” midnight release, and many of them were asking if anyone wanted to go with. Not only can I not go with that many people to the same event (even if it wasn’t all at the exact same time), I might not even be able to remember everyone who asked.

    Also, with smartphones, it’s actually possible to inadvertently send a like or even one of the canned replies Facebook offers (“Interested”, “Tell me more”, etc.) on posts without even being aware you’re doing it. I once thought someone was trolling or comment-spamming me on a sales post, only to later realize that it was just a string of Facebook canned responses he probably didn’t even realize he was sending. It’s basically pocket dialing in the latest technological age. I say this to say that there’s a possibility that at least some of the “response” that you’re getting may not even necessarily mean that the person is aware of the post.

    • OP May 7, 2018, 6:37 pm

      They are mostly PMs. I rarely make blanket invites via post.

  • Rebecca May 5, 2018, 2:12 am

    Sounds like a pattern to me. Sorry this is happening to you. Are these people individual friends of yours or are they a group you are part of? I mean, if you invite Sue, Mary, Jo, and Erica to an art workshop with you, are these also people you you know quite well as individuals? Or are they a bunch of ladies from your volunteer group that you haven’t formed individual friendships with? If it’s the latter, maybe they have formed a tight group amongst themselves without you. It’s hurtful but might take some self-introspection to figure out why.

    Be prepared to ask yourself some hard questions. Other posters have put out suggestions, such as, do you like to control everything? Do you dominate conversations? Do you complain and give a tirade of negativity to anyone who will listen?

    I had a friend who was excluded from lots of things because of her negativity, and she would complain constantly to me about being excluded. And I knew why she was excluded, but couldn’t tell her because she would blow up at me at any hint of criticism, even if it was put as delicately as possible and intended in a constructive way. With her, it was always everyone else’s fault because other people were horrible and mean to her.

    And for me, there are people I like well enough but don’t really want to do things with. There’s a woman who will not stop talking for one second. She is smart, and kind, but her babbling incessantly does my head in.

    There’s a woman who, after one or two group gatherings, suddenly seemed to want to be my best friend and hang out all the time. I don’t want to hang out all the time. Maybe if she’d moved a little more slowly…but she came across as needy.

    There is the drama queen who always has some kind of interpersonal crisis. And another who is a princess about everything. Arrives somewhere seemingly without planning her meals around it (if it’s not an eating event) and needs to stop somewhere, delaying the whole group, but being super picky about the type of food establishment to stop at, delaying everyone even more. I once had her in my car for a road trip and never again – super high maintenance.

    I am not saying the OP necessarily has any kind of character flaw at all. Maybe it’s the friends who are flaky. But it seems weird to me to get included in a group invite (as in “hey, any of you want to do X?” and not say “yeah, sounds great!” or at least “I’d love to but Tuesday doesn’t work for me. I might go see it Wednesday.” Or, “I’ve already arranged to go with Susan on Friday.” I’m also not buying the idea that they expected to meet you there since you said you were going. In that case, they’d have said, “Sounds great, what time? See you there!!”

  • NicoleK May 5, 2018, 4:38 am

    It could be a coincidence… if it is some event they were all likely to find out about anyways because it is the sort of thing they are interested in. They may not have been up for it at the moment she sent out the invite.

    Also, is it an invite? I’m more likely to go if someone sends a text or email than if they make an announcement on FB that they want to see it, or send a huge group message.

  • Starstruck May 5, 2018, 2:01 pm

    Some of them may have just assumed that you would show up there since ur the one who posted the event . Maybe they just went without confirming with you, under the assumption you or others from the group would show up . I think this is more casual and less affensive then you might think. Next time I suggest After posting the group invite , message others personally to see if they are going .

  • jessiebird May 7, 2018, 10:55 am

    It may be my own insecurity or particularness, but I don’t know if when I accept a blanket invitation if the inviter might wish someone else had accepted. I’m perfectly fine company, but they clearly don’t care who warms the seat, and that doesn’t sound like much fun, especially when I want to connect with a friend and share and experience. The way this is playing out sounds like it would be a lot of small talk. Plus groups have dynamics depending on who is there or not and I have friends who I get along better with when there are other people around. One-on-one, we’re just not so comfortable. So your whole method sounds tiring…. (are you in your 20s?)

    I have a good friend with a loving heart but she does something similar to this with the best of intentions. I end up feeling used, like she is plugging in her friends to events to get the “socialization” in, and she feels very proud of herself for being good at keeping in touch and reaching out (which she is), but she also has some conflicts with people, mostly because of this vibe, I think. It’s almost like she is including me in her life activities, as a space filler, though I know she cares about me a lot…it’s weird and hard to explain, but at least in my range of friendships, her way is not typical, and it doesn’t feel the best. Not hurtful but…utilitarian, perhaps?

  • MPW1971 May 7, 2018, 12:27 pm

    Some friends are just not such good friends – and sometimes the warning signs are there.

    A former friend of mine was difficult to engage socially. Me and his other 2 long-time close friends would suggest activities such as going to see a movie. He wasn’t against spending the money, or going to a theater – but any movie we suggested was unacceptable to him. His response wasn’t just “Meh, I’m not sure I’d like that”, but rather “Dear God no! I would never see XXXX”, complete with a lot of drama and a long explanation of said movie’s deficiencies.

    Should we ever find ourselves, later, talking about one of those movies because we saw it on regular TV or it got mentioned in the news, he would quite often say “Yeah, I rented it. It wasn’t that bad.” It turns out that he was just a drama queen and whatever we did, had to come from him as his idea.

    Save time, ditch the friend. Because they really aren’t your friend.

  • bopper May 10, 2018, 10:15 am

    Do you ever do anything with these ‘friends’?
    If sometimes, then maybe you are like a friend of mine…she is someone I can take in small doses. She is nice and all, but she always seems to be asking people for something. Like if I told her about something I did, then it is “bring me next year” and not “Oh that sounds cool…I think I would like to do that next year as well”…the difference being that one comes across as a demand/obligation on me and one is her being in charge of herself.

    • LizaJane May 10, 2018, 9:40 pm

      I work with someone like this. If I say, “We did “thing” over the weekend”, she’ll say, “Oh. You’ll have to take me next time.” These words. Every time.

      No. I don’t have to and I don’t believe she thinks that. At least she doesn’t anymore. I think it’s her awkward way of asking for an invitation (not even hinting). It annoys the hell out of me.

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