General Question

Jellie's avatar

Why do I always feel left out?

Asked by Jellie (6489points) June 8th, 2011

I often feel left out. Whether it’s work, with friends or other social situations? Is it natural to feel that way so frequently or do I need to remedy it?

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12 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

You can change it if you want, but it will take some work.

Stinley's avatar

I think if you are unhappy then you need to do something about it – it does bother you as you are asking a questions about it, doesn’t it? Maybe if you take a bit of time to reflect on what you want from friendships, that may point the way forward

I often feel left out too. I try to think that it’s their loss not getting to know me better but it doesn’t always work. I find it hard to think of things to say and to sustain conversations with people, especially over a period of time of meeting them in superficial situations and having superficial conversations. At work I talk to the people around me and as they get to know me better they start to like me but with mums from my kids’ school I am constantly toungue-tied and nervous. I get involved with groups and committees as it gives me a focus and something to talk about.

marinelife's avatar

Are you shy or socially awkward?

Feeling left out is usually about you and not others. You get out of relationships and groups what you put in.

Next time, pick out the new person in a group and spend time talking to them. Ask them questions (thought up in advance) about themselves (Where did you work before? Do you have a pet? What area of town are you living in?) and listen, genuinely listen, to their responses.

Gradually, listen to the conversations of others and be prepared to put in your oar. What topics do they usually talk about? Sports? TV? Movies? Prepare little conversational tidbits on the topics that you usually hear them discussing and drop one in at an appropriate moment with a question at the end. “Did you see the season ender of Grey’s Anatomy? You don’t think Derek and Meredith will really split up, do you?”

You will find yourself involved and a part of the group before you know it. Then when you start feeling left out again, take it as a signal to ut yourself out there.

jimstefane's avatar

probably because you are afraid of being left out . you should really consider being more outspoken, use your charm , laugh and be confident in your qualities. The rest will follow

Blackberry's avatar

This is really vague; there could be hundreds of reasons.

john65pennington's avatar

I am never left out of anything. Why? Because, if I am not asked to participate, I will create my own whatever and go it alone. Once I do this, generally everyone else will take notice and that is what is takes to be asked.

This can happen for you, if you take the first step and do not shy away.

keobooks's avatar

I have felt this way and it can be painful. I am good at small talk and general chatting, but I suck at making friends. I’ve had many situations where I thought I fit in with some group, and then I found out that everyone else was meeting outside the larger social circle one on one and becoming better friends with each other while I was still chit-chatting about surface stuff and only invited to the things that everyone was going to. I try to reach out and make my own social outings to make some friends, but honestly, I get shot down a lot and I don’t know why.

I wish sometimes that there was some sort of 12 step group where people who were bad at socializing could go to. The only change to the 12 step format I’d make is that I’d allow cross talk in meetings so that people could tell each other what they found off-putting about others. I sometimes think other people know what I’m doing wrong but are too polite to tell me in fear of hurting my feelings. I’d love to go to some group where people could just be straight forward and say “You smell bad” or “You repeat the same stories over and over.” or whatever is wrong with the other person in an honest, but not cruel way.

Sorry to go on like that, but I just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone. If I ever figure out something that would help us both, I’ll let you know.

Jellie's avatar

I’m not particularly socially awkward… at least that’s what I think. Can it have anything to do with low self worth as opposed to low self esteem?

@keobooks I wish you the best. It’s comforting simply knowing that I’m not alone hug

@Stinley I have the same problem: can’t carry on a conversation! I can talk about the news or put in a joke but then I abruptly stop. It’s so odd.

seperate_reality's avatar

Decide to get back into the game and become a player instead of a spectator.

Kardamom's avatar

You have to learn how to participate in regular, natural conversations with all kinds of people, without clamming up. Some of this you can learn by watching how other people interact (and take notes on what they are doing, how they are saying it, body language etc.) Some people are natural introverts, but those people often get left out, because they literally have nothing to say and other people don’t want to have to carry the conversation all the time and they will become bored with you if you have nothing to offer.

Conversation and social interaction is about, well, interaction. But there is a difference between just answering questions with a yes or no answer, than there is with generally conversing with people. There’s a give and take that should be fairly natural.

If you appear bored, scared, stiff, dull witted, snappish, mute, uninterested, close-minded, quick to anger or stand in the corner, or stand with your arms folded across your chest, or you never smile or never offer an idea, a compliment or any warm hearted humor, or you just stand there and stare while others are conversing, then you will never be asked to join in.

You might want to talk to a couple of close friends or relatives who know you well and ask them what they think about your conversational style and your interactions with other people. Tell them to be honest with you. Ask them specifically what they would like you to do more of. Ask them if your voice is too quiet, ask them if you appear to hide when you are with a group of people, ask them if you appear to be bored or uninterested, ask them if you appear to not know what you are talking about (even if you do).

A good place to practice your new conversational style is with total strangers at the grocery store. I used to be very shy and quiet when I was younger, but one of my best friends is so full of life and she talks to everyone she meets and she’s considered to be nice and funny and people just like her. Instead of just standing there, she goes up to people and has real conversations with them. I wanted to be more like that, so I became more like that.

I’m usually the hit with the older crowd at the grocery store. I realized that most older folks don’t always have a lot of people to talk to and younger folks tend to shun or ignore them. I’ve found out so much cool stuff from the seniors at my grocery store that I never would have known about if I hadn’t spoken up. I’ve learned all sorts of things about cooking and baking that I wouldn’t even have considered if not having talked to these folks who had to learn to cook and bake, rather than us younger folks who usually cook and bake for fun.

So whenever I go to the store, if I see someone picking up a vegetable or a box of this or that, I will casually go over to them and say something like, “Wow, those rutabagas look really good today. How do you prepare them? I’ve just started experimenting with root vegetables, but I’m not exactly sure what to do with them.” or I might say to someone in the baking aisle, “So what are you going to make today? I’m thinking of making a lemon cake from a recipe that I saw in Sunset magazine, but I’m a little worried that my bundt pan has lost some of it’s non-stick coating. Have you ever used one of those spring form pans?”

Or if I’m standing in the checkout line I might say, “Gosh, it looks like we got in the wrong line doesn’t it? You’d think that they could call in another checker. Oh well at least we’ve got thes tabloids with Anthony Weiner to keep us entertained while we wait, huh?” or I might look into someone’s cart and say, “Boy those ribs sure do look good, are you barbecuing tonight? What kind of marinade do you use? I’ve never been able to get them to come out right, but my cousin has a smoker and that really seems to make a difference.” or I might say, “Those are beautiful flowers, someone’s going to be very happy to see you.”

Each one of my opening statements has lead to lovely conversations with the people, with whom I was interacting. You have to say something relevant to the situation. Then maybe ask their opinion about something, so that you draw them in, rather than just having some random person say something. Then you have to keep the conversation moving by throwing in some other related information and see where it goes from there. The other person will most likely say something that will give you and opportunity to add something else, or to ask another question or for you to give them a little compliment or for you to point out that something similar happened to you. Or you can tell the person that you never even knew that particular fact that they just stated and you can ask them to tell you more about it.

The grocery store technique is really good for practicing, but basically, all conversations are just like these. But you will find out, that if you practice the grocery store technique, you will see that people light up when you talk to them, as long as you are casual, polite and genuine. Once you get used to talking to people in a more natural way, people will be come more attracted and intersted in you and they will want you to participate. The other way to get more involvment, is for you to come up with a plan for a party, a picnic, a work potluck, a group trip to the zoo or the movies or whatever. You become the inviter rather than just waiting around to be invited.

dannyc's avatar

I am the same way, but I learned long ago that silence is golden. You can learn a lot about people by observation and a lot of people who seem to fit in are really more insecure than you, they just mask it better. I can assure you it is natural, but I believe it is better to just be yourself, and others have to fit in around you. There are many people, probably the majority who are like you. Unfortunately, the world would spin it otherwise, and that causes a lot of needless pressure.

emeraldisles's avatar

I agree with dannyc. You shouldn’t have to change yourself to become loud if that’s not in your personality. There are a lot of people who feel left out, they have just learned to hide it well.

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