Do you find it hard to fit in with your friend group? Do you experience moments where you are feeling excluded or left out, maybe because you are nongirly and do not feel similar to your friends? Are those feelings impacting your overall mood? In life, everyone experiences times when they are feeling left out. As a girl, you can experience this in different places, whether that be in your friend group, on your sports team, or in class projects. You may feel it even more if you are a nontraditional girl. It can make you feel down or upset, and it can be hard to deal with those feelings of exclusion. How can you handle situations and emotions where you are feeling like the friend who always gets left out?
When Feeling Left Out, Explore Other Relationships
It may feel like your current friends are the only friends you have. However, you should keep an eye out for signs of a toxic friendship: inconsideration of your feelings, frequently placing blame on you, friends who only communicate with you when they have needs, etc.
It can be helpful to take a look around and see who else is in your life; spend some time developing other friendships. Maybe you sit next to a girl in your science class who always tries to talk to you. Maybe you are always partnered with a girl on your basketball team to run drills with and you notice that you work well together. Find other nongirly girls who are like you. Think about the other relationships that exist in your life that you have not yet spent time exploring, and spend some more time developing other relationships where you won’t feel so left out.
Talk to a Loved One
Feeling like the friend who is always left out can make you feel alone and down about yourself. Now is the time to reach out to a loved one–a parent, grandparent, cousin, sibling–who will make you feel supported, loved, and valued. If your friends are not recognizing your great traits or valuing you as a friend, it will be good to spend time with those who do recognize it all. They will help you remember why you are a great person to be around. Whenever you are feeling down or hurt in life, remember to lean on your support group.
Communicate Your Feelings
Your friends may not know that you are feeling left out or that their actions are causing you to feel this way. If you want to continue being friends with them, it will be important to communicate how you are feeling–something that is important to do in all relationships you have in life. Most people don’t consider how their actions affect others; your friends may not even know that they are hurting you. They may be surprised to hear that their actions have caused you to feel excluded. Try having a conversation with them about why you’re feeling left out and what you would want from them to feel more included.
Still Feeling Left Out? Think of Your Best Qualities
Feeling left out by friends may make you feel bad about yourself. Instead of sitting in these feelings, try to think about the qualities and skills you have that make you feel good, strong, and empowered. If you are great at painting, spend some time making a painting for a family member or other friends. If you enjoy cooking, cook your favorite meal or dessert. Do something that will remind you of your many varied abilities. As a nongirly girl, your differences make you unique! Nongirly has many unique feminist gifts you can get to remind yourself of your many great qualities, even if others may not recognize them.
When you are feeling left out or excluded from your friend group, especially because you are a nongirly girl, it could make you feel bad about yourself or just be hard to handle. Using one or more of the above tools can help you deal with feeling left out–and the emotions that come with that. Relying on your support group, talking to loved ones, forming new connections to replace bad friendships, and doing an activity for yourself that highlights your strengths can all help you feel better! For more inspiration on how to pick yourself up when feeling down, look at our gifts for girls or read our Nongirly News blog to see the successes of other nontraditional women.