The art of being left out

October 30, 2014

Being included, or not as the case may be, is a timeless issue. My grandma has vocalized her frustration from not being a part of certain social gatherings. Certainly I deal with it in regards to my children as well. What is the appropriate way of handling feelings of being left out?


Everyone should always be included. Although that ideally would be the best solution to every circumstance, it’s impossible to practice. From birthday parties, graduation parties, weddings and everything in between, there are constantly lines that need to be drawn. From a budgetary standpoint to a capacity standpoint, everyone cannot be invited to everything. It’s impossible.

How do we manage the realty of the line being drawn at you? We try as parents to shield our children from that lesson for as long as possible. It starts with the entire class being included in birthday parties (or not in some unfortunate cases). It usually evolves to all boy/girl parties. But there comes a time, sometimes sooner than we’d like, where our children are faced with not being included. How are we as parents supposed to make our children feel alright with that when we are often battling those same demons when it comes to our own social lives?

The truth is that we all must learn the very important lesson of not always getting everything we want. In an affluent community, such as mine, parents are constantly pushing that concept. If there’s something my kid wants or aspires for, I will get it for them, I will do it for them. There aren’t many children around me who don’t get exactly what they want. Maybe, unfortunately, being faced with not getting the invite is the only way our children will actually learn that life does not always give you what you want.

It’s a painful lesson that we all will try to shield our children from for as long as possible but it is inevitable. Maybe what we need to focus on is how our children weather that situation, rather than strictly running from that circumstance. Maybe if our kids understood how much it hurts to be left out, they’d be less inclined to leave anyone out. Maybe if they understood how it feels to be excluded in so-and-so’s birthday party, they’d be less inclined to leave anyone out on the playground. And maybe if we learned that lesson at the tender age of four, we’d be more prepared as an adult to weather that. Or maybe it always hurts no matter how prepared you really are for it. Just ask Nana.

One thought on “The art of being left out

  1. Interesting reality – feeling left out.
    It’s all a matter of attitude and perspective.
    Being chosen last repeatedly for a team in gym class leaves a memory scar for life. Everyone knew I did not like playing in sports. Not being one of the group, not feeling accepted, is a result rarely explored by anyone with the power to change the dynamics.
    Those same misfit feelings continue thru life with many back up examples. As long as we give our power to others, our best interests will not be met.
    Learn to take the power to make decisions for your own attitude and perspective. Do you really want to attend events that are only for the popular group, the in-group or whatever guidelines are used?
    Do you really want to feel pressured into buying a gift, new clothes for an event, or giving up family time for someone outside of your close circle of friends and family?
    Do you want to attend the party just to feel important as a member of that group?
    Prioritize to take control of what’s in the best interest of all involved, not to feel socially important to those who attend the event.

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