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How Not to Care When People Don’t Like You


Once again I wake up on a Sunday morning to discover that *all* of my friends from a particular social group has been having a great time at a party on Saturday night that I have been left out of. Now, I know that I can’t expect to be invited to every party. I don’t invite everyone to everything I ever put on. HOWEVER if I am organising something big I will ensure that I am inviting the whole social group. I would hate to have anyone feel as left out as I was feeling last weekend. So I don’t expect an invite, and it would be rude for me to ask why I was excluded, but was the host also rude to exclude me? How does the etiquette balance itself here? It was a big party, and from the photos that I could see it included people who are in the social group but are slightly on the outside of it, those who are friends but not always invited to things. My non-invitation felt like a very deliberate snub. I was always taught that if I couldn’t invite everyone from a social group then I should either change plans to fit a larger group or invite fewer people. It’s pretty tempting to retaliate with my own snub, but I will be following my policy of “be the bigger person”. I will, however, be reevaluating this particular friendship. I realise that as an adult I should have moved away from these feelings of being left out by now – it all feels so very high school. For now though I have deleted my social media. At least if it happens again I won’t know about it. 0109-19

I recently read an interesting article on the subject of being rejected by friends. To summarize:

1.Certain persons simply will not like you not matter what you do, and no matter how likable you think you are, you’re not going to win over every person you meet.

2. Keep in mind that it’s not just normal to be occasionally disliked, but in fact, it’s healthy. Rejection is a way to suss out who’s compatible with whom, and just as getting romantically dumped by someone leaves you open to finding a better suited partner, getting axed from a social group gives you space to find folks that are a little more your speed.

3. It’s empowering not to fear being disliked . Yes! Preach it!

4. For the most part, being disliked is a measure of mutual compatibility. So, it’s not really that it’s not you but them, so much as it’s both you and them.

5. Sometimes, you just don’t offer them enough social capital to be worth their time.

6. While you shouldn’t always blame yourself if someone doesn’t like you, if you’re finding this is a pattern, you may want to take an unbiased look at your own behavior.

7. Tell the haters to suck it. At least, tell them in your head. Grover says that when all else fails, it’s best to embrace having the occasional enemy. “Delight in it. Really, just enjoy it,” he says. After all, as Grover says, sometimes it’s actually better to be formidable.

I suggest reading the whole article…good reading.

{ 42 comments }
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Ask Kim February 7, 2019, 4:57 pm

    I hardly invite the same people over twice and rarely the “entire” social group. While you may not have not ascertained why you weren’t invited, it could be that these people all like a certain sport, hobby or book. It could be that this group had formed a fundraising project or were doing some church or political activity. Darn Facebook! You just cant invite whoever you want to a party now without the whole world finding out. I liked the old days when I would be excluded and be none the wiser.

    • OP February 8, 2019, 12:28 am

      If it aligned with a hobby or similar I wouldn’t be quite so cross as I was about it.

      It was a birthday party, a milestone one, and it was quite absolutely everyone except me. We are talking 30+ people. The full “friends” social group bar one person. It was deliberate and it was rude.

      • Allie February 8, 2019, 12:40 pm

        Deliberate? Maybe. Rude? Debatable. Maybe the birthday person doesn’t particularly like you, through no fault of yours or theirs, and they only wanted to invite people who they consider friends to their milestone party. No one is entitled to a birthday party invitation just because they know the host and guests.

      • Livvy17 February 8, 2019, 12:53 pm

        I would be very curious to know if there was a mix up. I can deal with being disliked, but I have a harder time with curiosity. I’d be tempted to ask a close friend within that group how the invitations were sent (the post office messes up around my house with alarming regularity), in case you actually were invited, but your invitation went astray. If that’s not the case, maybe the friend would have some insight into a reason you might not have been invited. You’d want to be careful to strike a, “is there some way I have offended?” kind of vibe, not a “how dare she not invite me” vibe. If your friend gets squirmy, drop it. This may be verging on rude busybody territory for some, but as I said, I’d have a hard time with not knowing. Once I know, I can adjust my expectations, or take corrective actions, or detach myself, whatever is appropriate.

        • It's Me February 8, 2019, 1:03 pm

          I doubt very much if there was a mix up or the invitation went astray, because why didn’t the hostess contact the OP after not getting an RSVP from the OP?

        • eddie February 8, 2019, 2:18 pm

          I totally agree. There are several possibilities here, and OP should know the truth.
          a) there was an oversight or misunderstanding (e.g. invites by facebook and OP doesn’t do FB, invites to an old email, etc.)
          b) OP was overlooked by host because there is a disparity in how close they consider each other (thoughtless, but not necessarily an indication she is disliked)
          c) OP was intentionally excluded because she is disliked by host or another guest. If this is the case, she deserves to know so she can move on.

          Ask the person in the group who you feel closest with, and be open to hearing the answer. If the answer is vague, you can ask for specifics and make it clear you want to know so you can grow as a person. If I have a personality trait that is causing me to be disliked, it would be very difficult to hear but I would still like for someone to tell me in a kind way.

          • Trish February 11, 2019, 4:16 pm

            I recently received an angry Facebook message from a friend demanding to know why I wasn’t coming to the tea party she was having and I had encouraged her to throw. I knew nothing about it….because she hadn’t invited me. Total oversight. This could be a possibility. Party planning is stressful and could just be that the hostess forgot to invite you.

    • Natalia May 15, 2019, 1:19 pm

      That is a good point. Also, sometimes certain people hit it off better then others. And sometimes they just have more in common. Doesn’t mean they don’t like you..

  • Kitty February 7, 2019, 6:02 pm

    1.Certain persons simply will not like you not matter what you do, and no matter how likable you think you are, you’re not going to win over every person you meet.

    That is basically a very good thing to remember when going through life. Not everyone you meet in life will like you, and you won’t like every person *you* will meet in life. I’m kinda glad I realized/learned this lesson when I was in my early teens because I feel it definitely helped in making me avoid or see the big drama of ‘snubs’ like these, and gave me a good start on realizing that, if I have to work with someone (classmates on projects; coworkers at work), my personal feelings shouldn’t matter much. I may not like them personally, but as long as we can still work professionally with each other when necessary, it’s good enough.

  • Catherine St Clair February 7, 2019, 6:24 pm

    With 7.7 billion people in the world this month, worrying about the few you know don’t like you is probably a waste of time. There are lots more to choose from.

  • Kry February 7, 2019, 6:53 pm

    Or it could be a simple oversight.
    In a large group it is easy to miss one name on a list.
    Personally, I would have just said something like ‘It looked like a great time on sat. What were you celebrating?’

  • kingsrings February 8, 2019, 12:08 am

    When I was younger, I used to get so upset when people didn’t like me. I thought it was my fault and that I needed to fix it. Now I don’t mind too much. I feel content in that I do my best to be a decent human being. I realize though that despite that, I’m not going to win everyone over. Haters gonna hate.
    Also remember that abusers are drawn to those who are people pleasers as they are more easily controlled.

    • OP February 8, 2019, 12:36 am

      It’s something I’ve been grappling with for a while. I thought I was getting better. This group is always organising things and not including everyone, which I’ve largely been ok with. It was just seeing how completely I’ve been excluded in this instance that upset me so much.

      Over the past couple of years I’ve had some really big blow ups with friends. For a while I wondered if it was me. After three close friendships broke up I did analyse my own behaviour. Then I realised that these friends shared certain characteristics: they were all quite controlling and things didn’t disintegrate until I started pushing back. You are spot on about abusive people finding weak targets.

      • MrsSML February 11, 2019, 11:19 am

        Honestly, if they’re the sort of people who are always excluding someone, it was only a matter of time before you got excluded. They don’t sound like the nicest group if that’s how they behave.
        Don’t go to the extreme of deleting your social media, just unfollow them and focus on making some new friends.
        We all grow and mature at different rates and it’s normal to outgrow each other at various points in life. That doesn’t mean that anyone is at fault, it simply means that we’re all in different places and it’s part of life’s journey.
        Suggestions for finding a new group of friends? See if there are any fun Meetup groups in your area and try the Bumble BFF app. Sign up for a class somewhere. Find a great new hangout spot.
        And do take time to do some reflecting and take an honest inventory of your own behaviour so that you can be your best self.
        You got this!

  • Shoegal February 8, 2019, 7:38 am

    Don’t waste your time on this. Find new friends. I often say to my husband – we aren’t the most popular in our group – in fact we lift right out. If someone is going to be excluded it’s going to be us. Then I think – I’m not sure I care. Recently, a friend’s mother in our group died and no one bothered to tell us. The word got around but not to us. I was upset and after an initial thought – I sent a text to one of my so called friends saying a head’s up would have been nice. She apologized and I just left it go. It’s one of those things. Take a good look at those people and if there is a problem with any one of them – let them go. Don’t bother with them. I did that when we met a couple who were friends of a couple we know – I liked them and we ran into them alot. The man in this couple couldn’t be bothered to remember my name. He knew my husbands – he never really bothered to even acknowledge that I existed. My husband would attempt to get him to “notice” me but I told him – don’t bother I don’t need to socialize with somebody you can’t be polite enough to acknowledge that I exist.

  • Anonymous February 8, 2019, 8:15 am

    Not saying that the OP (or anyone here) is a geek, but has anyone ever heard of the Geek Social Fallacies? I think it’s relevant here: https://pkeros.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/on-the-five-geek-social-fallacies-part-i/

    • Lerah99 February 8, 2019, 2:16 pm

      This article is SOOOO valuable.
      I’ve referenced it many, many times over the years.

      • PKeros March 4, 2019, 11:43 pm

        Thanks, glad to hear you enjoyed it. It’s always tough when we realize that our friends may not like us as much as we like them, but we also have friends who take our relationship a bit more seriously than we do. It’s tough to manage, and geeks in general (myself included) have issues managing that balance. So I think we all resonate with the Geek Social Fallacies to some degree, and that resonance helps us deal with situations like these.

  • cake_and_pie February 8, 2019, 10:43 am

    I’ve been on both sides of this…..and I think as I’ve gotten older it’s easier for me to just say “oh well” and move on. I know not everyone likes me, and I am cool with that because I know I don’t like everyone, and not everyone can be invited to everything. We were friendly with a couple though that got really upset and passive -aggressive if they were not invited to everything in a large social group….it didn’t matter if it was our social function or someone else’s….if they were not invited they would sulk and try to wrangle an invite (they would actually text and ask around trying to get invited to things). They never entertained or reciprocated invitations though. After a couple of times of them doing this I took a good hard look at the situation and realized we had nothing in common with them, and they really just wanted to use parties and social functions as a way to seem “popular” on social media. I had no problem not inviting them again. And yes, the wife complained to me and anyone else that would listen that they should be invited to everything. I ignored their request. We are still cordial when we see them, but just don’t have time for that type of drama.

  • Astrid February 8, 2019, 11:03 am

    I agreee with everything admin said . I would also add , that sometimes it’s a compliment. Sometimes people who are jealous of you , don’t always want you around to outshine them . You don’t even have to be beautiful or wealthy for them to feel this way , since it’s based only on their insecurity. This person who excluded you may be jealous of the connection you have with the other people in the group , And may want the attention focused on them. It’s very immature but still happens in the adult world .

  • HawaiiOO February 8, 2019, 11:27 am

    I tend to stop inviting people who I never see socially unless I invite and host them. Hosting should be reciprocated and not one-way. Moreover, I invite and host people I want to be around and celebrate with. It may be time to calibrate your friendships and move on…and that’s okay too. People outgrow their groups sometimes.

    • Lanes February 10, 2019, 7:12 pm

      Hmmm…. I host people because I enjoy their company, not because I expect a returned invite.

      If someone hosts me, I make the effort to host them because, well, manners. But I wouldn’t cut a person off simply because they never returned an invite, maybe they don’t have the space/money/planning skills to host, or maybe they were just never taught good manners, it doesn’t change the fact that I like them and want to spend time with them.

  • JD February 8, 2019, 11:51 am

    OP, I have to admit, it would bother me too. I think the fact that they published it, so that you could see for sure you were excluded, is the thing that would get me. I agree with other posters. Start looking for other friends. It may be hard, but unless this was totally an accident, these people were rude to let you know you weren’t invited. I was taught better than that as a pre-schooler.

    • Devin February 11, 2019, 12:32 pm

      I’m not sure that they posted photos of the event to purposely show OP she was snubbed (unless they directly tagged her in photos so she would get notified directly) or if she just saw them on her feed as would everyone else connected with the party attendees on social media. Most of the people at the party would be too busy enjoying themselves to notice OP was not in attendance and even if they did notice probably assumed they had other plans. Personally, I wouldn’t think twice about someone not being at a party, unless we had made plans prior to the event to meet up or I knew that person was exceptionally close to the guest of honor.

  • Annastasia-von-Beaverhausen February 8, 2019, 12:56 pm

    You know, a similar thing happened to me in the past.
    When I next saw the birthday girl I wished her well and said I hoped her day had been great. She said she was sorry that I missed her party and I advised her that I hadn’t been invited and didn’t want to gate crash.
    She was horrified, and it really was just an oversight, not a purposeful snub.
    Now, I don’t know if that’s what happened in your case, but as the old adage goes, ‘Never ascribe maliciousness to what can be just as easily explained by incompetence.’
    So, maybe you were excluded on purpose, and maybe someone just fucked up. Regardless, it was one party – if you enjoy the company of these people I would carry on like nothing happened. If it becomes a pattern then I would move on. I can guarantee that even if this group isn’t picking up what you’re putting down, there will be loads of others who will be all over your brand. 🙂

  • staceyizme February 8, 2019, 1:15 pm

    The best revenge is living well. Actually- the best revenge is living on your own terms in every context. I don’t get why you would allow yourself to be tripped up over one party? You didn’t get an invitation and maybe it was an oversight or maybe it was a snub or maybe somebody was offended by something or… You see? That train of thought always leads to a wreck of sorts somewhere down the track. Throw the events that you want to throw. Invite whomever seems reasonable to you to invite. Allow others the same privilege and do that without grudging/ grumbling/ gossiping about who wasn’t at whichever event. You have a large friend group and you can do whatever the heck you want as far as how you associate with any of them. Take some joy in that and don’t worry about the choices that others make. You’ll be happier and more confident because of that choice. And you’ll have accepted a basic truth of living- there are some things within your control and some things that are not within your control. Being at peace with that reality is a good thing. Barring outright abuse that is directed your way, you want to keep your focus squarely on your own actions and attitudes and plan to derive most of your joy and well-being in that arena.

  • Trish February 8, 2019, 2:46 pm

    I hold an inspirational brunch every year for women in my life. I carefully choose the guest list. For the second year in a row a woman I invited said she couldn’t come last minute. The next day I see on social media she had a similar event that evening and invited mutual friends. First year I let it go, the second year I accepted that though I might admire her and want to be her friend, she doesn’t feel the same. And that’s ok. It’s a reflection on her, not me and it’s her loss. I removed her on social media. If I run into her, which I most likely will, I will be friendly and kind but focus on other friends. And of course I won’t be inviting her to anything again.

    I’ve always been a “Pollyanna” type that makes friends for life and wants to be friends with everyone, hold hands skipping in the field while singing kumbaya. It was a hard life lesson to realize people won’t always like me and quite frankly, I should not always like other people too (this has gotten me into trouble!). Try your best to put aside ego and realize that her rejection is an opportunity to allow space in your life for someone that loves you back.

    • staceyizme February 10, 2019, 9:09 pm

      I have to say that it’s a bit low on her part to stage her event on the same day- (unless it was coincidence?). In any case, it doesn’t seem as if you’re missing out on much if she flaked out last minute twice.

  • Sarah B. February 8, 2019, 9:59 pm

    I figured out as a small child that *I* certainly didn’t like everyone I met, therefore it made perfect sense to me even as a small child that obviously not everyone would like me either. I can’t remember ever stressing about it in general terms. It’s only ever bothered me if an already established friend (or romantic interest/partner) stopped wanting to spend time with me suddenly for no reason I knew of. I shrug it off as ‘sometimes people’s needs or opinions change’ after a while (if I can’t think of anything I could’ve inadvertently done). I’ve certainly discovered somebody was no longer a good fit myself. I’ve also probably been bad at it at least a time or two.

    I’ve never quite figured out why anyone would *want* to hang out with people who don’t like them. Am I weird for just… avoiding them when reasonable, ignoring when polite, and showering them with civil indifference when the first two aren’t possible? Being where you aren’t really wanted is horribly uncomfortable. I avoid it unless it’s a place I must be. Like a public place or a family obligation they can’t avoid inviting me and I don’t have an iron-clad excuse to decline.

    Being left out *does* suck. It truly does. I’ve had it happen to me many times. Some for a reasonable reason, some for bad reasons, some for no reason at all I ever learned. It’s important information to go forward with. A good reason, you can give the person another chance. A bad reason or no reason, you can just write them off, at least in X situation. I feel bad about it, decide what to do going forward – pretend I didn’t notice and/or care, be understanding, whatever.

    • Shoegal February 11, 2019, 8:09 am

      I’ve been left out myself. Now, I just accept it and I don’t ever take it personally. I have alot of gifts in my life that I am very grateful for. So somebody didn’t think of me and I missed some get together. I can’t let that take up valuable space in my brain. I move on and focus on all that I truly do have. I’m very fortunate.

      • Sarah B. February 11, 2019, 5:47 pm

        Thank you for finishing my thought! I kept getting interrupted and didn’t realize I hadn’t finished it. That was basically my point. It’s probably more to do with other people than with me, and I probably didn’t really want to be included, anyway. Analyze your own behavior briefly, if it’s not you, go on about your life.

  • Princess Buttercup February 8, 2019, 11:40 pm

    I learned at a young age that no matter what you do, someone will find some excuse to dislike you.
    You are the only person who _must_ live with you. As such you need to love you. Try not to harm others but otherwise live your life how it makes you happy to.
    I’d check to see if this was just an oversight. Like maybe your invite got lost, or your name got over looked. Watch about if it happens again or comment “sounds like it was fun, too bad I missed all word of it happening”. Not sound like you are blaming them but giving an opportunity for them to either say “I wondered why you didn’t respond to my invite” or out themselves by looking very uncomfortable. If it look purposeful then realize they are not as good of friends as you thought and go look for new, real friends.

  • EchoGirl February 9, 2019, 11:06 pm

    I get what Admin is saying, but I think there’s a difference between generally encountering people who dislike you and being snubbed by people who you thought DID like you, without any explanation. Even if you’ve accepted that not everyone will like you, a sudden reversal out of nowhere can still be off-putting and shocking.

    • Liz February 11, 2019, 9:39 am

      This. I’ve been in a similar situation where i wasn’t invited to something hosted by one of a group of friends. A group who always included everyone in the invites, and in this instance, everyone but me was invited. But, while I wondered what the heck was up with that, I didn’t dwell on it. I figured there was a reason for me not being invited, and honestly, it was an event I probably wouldn’t have really enjoyed much anyway, but would have gone to, if invited.

    • OP February 13, 2019, 5:40 pm

      This is exactly why I’m upset. These people are supposedly my friends and are the people who are meant to like me and they are happy to accept my hospitality when I host. My complaint is being the only person left out. I’m not a crazy person. I understand I’m not going to get an invite to everything, eg as a short person I did not expect to be asked to join *amateur team for sport requiring height* but to open up my feed and see that everyone was at this party really really hurt.

  • Lanes February 10, 2019, 7:07 pm

    Did I read that right… you deleted your ENTIRE social media account over one party snub?
    Holy over-reaction batman! I hope that’s just been conveyed wrong.

    Also, Social Groups are relative to your point of perception. Whom you view as being within the social group can be different to another person’s view. You admit that you host events that don’t include everyone but include ‘the social group’, but that’s your perception of it. You may have snubbed people without meaning to, and the same may have applied with this hosts party.

    In any case, move on from it, just pretend it didn’t happen if that’s easiest. Don’t let the negative stuff fill up your mind rent-free.

  • NicoleK February 11, 2019, 12:31 pm

    I don’t think excluding the host from your next event would be petty or vengeful, she has made it clea she is not interested, I think there’s no obligation to invite her

  • Sunnydi February 11, 2019, 1:46 pm

    I’ve actually had this situation come up on Fakebook more than a few times. Once, I was inadvertently left out. The whole group was invited and not me. I was busy anyway and couldn’t go. The organizer is a very good friend so I reached out to her. She was super apologetic and said it must have been a glitch as she fully intended to invite me. I believe her as we’ve been friends since kindergarten and she wouldn’t just not invite me and invite everyone else.
    I’ve also created events, clicked invite all, and FB doesn’t invite everyone. I don’t know why. But I do know my intent was to invite all. I now always check to make sure invite all means invite ALL!
    I’ve also invited all but I inevitably get friends telling me the invite never showed up and they missed it. Another FB isssue?
    It’s not foolproof. I guess what I’m saying is just don’t assume you were maliciously left out. It may be FB fault not the organizers. Depending on how well you know the organizer I may reach out to them and clarify. Social media has glitches and the organizer may be mortified to know someone was left out.

    • Devin February 12, 2019, 11:03 am

      I think Facebook limits the number of invitations you can send out in one batch. It’s like 50-100 so not a problem for most events, but for some big milestone events you might have to send them out in multiple batches.
      Also, if you’re very involved with social media, then the notification for the party invite can get lost amongst notifications for events, groups you subscribe to, likes, comments, and messages. I’ve definitely had people ask about events sent out via social media that got buried in my notifications, and I’m glad they reached out or otherwise I would have missed out!

  • Dana February 19, 2019, 10:54 am

    As someone with depression, I can tell you that it’s very easy for me to become paranoid. I have found myself in that situation so many times. I have to step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that I do have paranoia at times and this may be one of those times. It does hurt not to be included in a lot of things, but the majority of the time it’s not deliberate.

  • hematite February 28, 2019, 6:48 pm

    I ended up not including a member of the largish social circle I was running around with at teh time to my wedding. She was not a close friend, but was part of “the group” and I would have invited her except in the year leading up to my wedding, two other friends within the group got married. On both occasions, this individual ended up being extremely judgemental about those guests who didn’t “dress up” appropriately to her personal standards for a wedding. (We were not an extremely affluent group, and many of my friends at that time literally could not afford a fancy dress or suit for an event they were attending as guests… and the hosts of the weddings themselves did not mind the less formal wear they came in.) Her comments ending up hurting the feelings of several mutual friends, including one of my very best friends, who was in the wedding party. I decided I didn’t want the potential drama on my own day, and she was left off of the wedding list.

    I feel a little bad about that, as it may have hurt her feelings (we were not close enough for the reasons to ever be discussed), but at the same time, my wedding was drama-free.

  • Natalia May 15, 2019, 1:35 pm

    People and friendships can be weird. I’ve known people where we get along and hang out at work for example, but they never invited me anywhere outside of work or I would invite them to do stuff and they always said no. Sometimes its not that people don’t like you, they may actually like you a lot, but some people are super busy, they’re not very social, etc. Could be a lot of reasons!

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