Since the beginning of the school year, my two best friends have gotten really close. I have been feeling left out, like they don’t like me. They always hang out and when I can’t make it, they don’t really seem to care. For example, we have a class trip coming up and we can pick who we want to room with, so the three of us are rooming together. There are only two beds, so I asked who is going to share a bed. I was sitting in between them, and they put their hands together and said, “Me and her.” I felt like crying because they hadn’t even asked me how I felt. One of them has been my other half since first grade and the other has been my friend since fourth, but it feels like they like each other more than they like me. What should I do now? I’m depressed, sad, and sometimes I even cry in my room without telling anyone.
I’m sorry this is happening to you! Being in a friend group of three people is really difficult – no matter how close the three of you are in the beginning, two people always tend to get a little bit closer, making the third person feel left out and lonely. It does sound like your friends are neglecting you for each other, and you have every right to feel sad. But as much as this hurts, you have to learn how to get through it so that you aren’t spending all of your time crying on your own. That’s no way to live!
First, you might want to talk to your friends. If you feel weird doing it in person, send them a text or a note or something. Say that you love that they’re close friends, but you feel a little left out and you miss both of them. Warning: they might immediately get defensive and say hurtful things about you just being jealous. If they refuse to listen to what you have to say, that is their problem, not yours. You can’t always make people see things your way. But maybe the convo will go well, and they’ll start to make an effort to include you more. It’s worth a try!
Second, you should find someone else to talk to about this. Keeping this all in isn’t doing you any favors. It really helps to discuss issues like these with someone who isn’t involved – not only can it make you feel less alone, but they can also give helpful advice. If you feel like you have no other friends to go to, talk to your parents, a sibling, an aunt, uncle, or cousin. Maybe consider talking to a school guidance counselor or a therapist. It can be whoever you want, but the point is, you do have options.
For the third note, I want you to listen carefully and not get immediately defensive. Consider this: are you feeling very jealous and alone and acting a little too sensitive? When we notice that two of our close friends seem to be closer to each other, it’s natural to feel angry about it – and to then start pushing them away instead of embracing their friendship. I am not saying you’re doing anything wrong, but I do want you to examine things very carefully. Try to be part of their friendship more. And if you’re like, “I’ve been doing that and it’s not helping!” then move on to the next tip.
Lastly, I think you should find some new friends to hang out with. This doesn’t mean you should ditch these two. But if they aren’t going to include you, then you have to start doing things with other people who are going to treat you better than that. Start hanging out with your other friends. Make other friends in class or at after school activities. Find hobbies to occupy your time, or even consider joining a team or something similar. Your goal is to fill up your life with fun things so that you don’t spend so much time thinking about them – and in the process, maybe you’ll find friends who will make you a priority.
The bottom line is this: if these two girls are true friends to you, then they should respect your feelings and try to work things out with you. If they aren’t true friends and they just decide to push you away, then honestly, you’re better off without them. That’s flakey and unfair to you, and unfortunately, you can’t change them – they have to figure it out themselves. Good luck!
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org