How to Deal with Being the Odd One Out

Being left out is always difficult, but it can be especially hurtful when you’re left out by your own friend group. There isn’t always an obvious reason why it happens. Sometimes, things seem to be going fine. Then, next thing you know, the group is hanging out without you. You’re being excluded from group texts. Nobody’s tagging you on instagram.

Being treated as the odd one out in the friend group can feel totally crushing. Your friends are supposed to be the people who always have your back. They are supposed to be the ones who make you feel valued, appreciated, and accepted. So when you find yourself on the outside of the group, you may start feeling like your social life is completely doomed.

Luckily, that doesn’t have to be true at all! Just keep these tips in mind:

Don’t Lose your Confidence: As hurtful as it is when your friends are acting distant, you shouldn’t beat yourself up. There can be any number of reasons why you aren’t being included. For all you know, it isn’t personal. It could be an oversight, or a misunderstanding. If you want some insight about the reason, try having a calm conversation with a close friend in the group. There may still be a chance to salvage your social circle. And if there isn’t, take it as a sign that this friend group was not the right fit.

Don’t Burn Bridges: Being on the outside can make you feel super emotional. But you have to be careful to keep those emotions from boiling over, and turning to anger. Picking fights and stirring up drama will likely make things worse for you socially. So save the venting for a trusted adult, sibling, or long-distance bff. But when you’re face-to-face with your group, take the high road. Staying positive and civil can help you to avoid an even more hurtful social situation. Plus, you never know if circumstances will change, and you will reconnect with these friends down the road.

Explore your Passions: Sometimes, being the odd one out, just means that your interests aren’t matching up with the rest of the group’s. This is not a bad thing, and it does not mean that you should abandon the activities that make you happy. Instead, try getting involved with a club, team, or class that centers around your passion. This will give you a chance to meet potential friends who like the same stuff you like. Whether you’re looking for a new group of friends, or just hoping to find some people who share your passions, this is a great place to start!

Focus on Individual Friendships: You don’t need to form a brand new group of besties overnight. Keep in mind that strong individual friendships can also give you a fulfilling, and well-rounded social life. Throughout the day, you have tons of opportunities to interact with potential friends on the bus, in class, and during after-school activities. Keep your mind open to meeting new people, and don’t be scared to strike up a conversation! The more people you talk to, the more chances you have to find a friendship that clicks!

Take Some Initiative: Whether you’re looking to be more involved in a new friend group, or an old one, you may want to consider taking the lead on occasion. Organize the next group hang-out. Get the conversation started next time you’re all at lunch together. Being an invested, and actively-involved friend is a great way to keep a strong bond with your group.

Realizing that you’re the odd one out can be upsetting, but it doesn’t have to mean that your social life is over! By keeping your confidence, addressing concerns politely, and seeking friendships that are a better fit, you can keep your social life going strong. Sometimes, recognizing that you aren’t really clicking with your friends can give you the push you need to meet others who relate to you more easily. And in the end, that’s a very good thing!

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Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More