Jump to content

How should I deal with being excluded from the social group at work?

Recommended Posts

I started working at a great job few years back. I enjoyed the fact that everyone was young and liked to socialize after hours. I felt like I fitted in right away and was invited to all the parties by co-workers.


Then...things kind of started going wrong. There was a lot of gossip and back stabbing going on and while I was aware that this is "bad", it didn't affect me too much. I didn't get involved.


There was this girl who is sort of the "social leader". Let's call her Jane. She is outgoing, confident and is in charge in organizing everything. She is also very %$&y but that side doesn't come out with others as much as it did with me. To be honest, super outgoing people annoy me and I kind of stay away from them. But Jane seemed to take an interest in me and started constantly calling me out and making small remarks that were aimed to criticize me but could also be taken as a joke. So if you told anyone what Jane said, they would think you were over-reacting. They did add up over time. Jane wasn't someone that particularly bothered me though. I don't respect her opinion enough to really put any value in it. I just brushed of her comments and kept going.


I became friends with a girl with whom I immediately connected, Lauren. Lauren was a bit of an outsider of the group and I am always drawn to them. She also told me about her bad experiences with them, with Jane as well as the others. It was easy to believe and we bonded over it. We started hanging out a lot and sometimes few others would join us. I kind of noticed that whenever Jane paid any attention to Lauren, Lauren would almost ignore me in favor of Jane. That didn't happen too often so I dismissed it as me being too sensitive.


After about 2 years of close friendship, I noticed that Lauren was kind of distant with me in the last few months. Like we would still hang out but she would be unusually quiet. I also noticed that she and Jane talked more. Then gradually, I saw on Facebook that Lauren would be tagged in photos with Jane and the rest of the group. These are the events that I wasn't invited to and the events that Lauren never mentioned to me. I felt hurt and it was increasingly happening.


I have now just seen another photo of everyone and in particular Jane and Lauren bantering back and forth and liking each other's every comment. I am also aware that my emotions are probably amplified by the fact that I moved to a new state for this job and Lauren + people from work were my only friends.


I don't know how to act. I still love my job but what should I do to stop feeling this hurt? I don't care about anything Jane does, but I can't stomach hanging out with Lauren like nothing has happened. If they were friends not connected to work, I would be totally open with Lauren and tell her what bothers me. Due to work, I think it's smarter to just distance myself with no explanation.


I also don't want to give Jane pleasure of knowing how much this upsets me. I am sure this is part of her pleasure in doing stuff like this. How to best come across like I could care less?


BTW we are all in our late 20s and early 30s. We are not in high school but it feels like it.


Any thoughts are appreciated.

Link to comment

What you should do is work on developing a personal life outside of work.


As for work, you should be friendly and social with your co-workers, but don't ever confuse them with friends and never ever ever ever confide in one co-worker about anyone else at work. I can pretty much guarantee you that it's only a matter of time before it comes back to bite you in the rear.


Your co-workers are also your competitors for raises, promotions, project leads and the job itself in case of layoffs. When it comes to that, people will do anything to either hang on or advance, so if you've given them something to use against you, they will in a heartbeat. That's why, if you want to vent about work, you do it with actual friends of yours who aren't your co-workers. Absolutely every single workplace will have politics and you've just got to learn how to roll with it and how to play, at least enough to survive. Your "friend" Lauren is doing just that.

Link to comment

I recently go the best advice ever when one person in particular was blatantly ignoring me in social (work) situations. I complained to a friend and he said "So? Ignore her back." It was a pretty refreshing way to look at things. Made me realize that my concern with her not liking me, wanting to be friendly was something I was internalizing as though something was wrong with me. In fact, it had nothing to do with me.


People are weird and do weird things period. As you said, you are an adult now. Don't let it affect your spirit or the joy of your job.

Link to comment

It's funny, sometimes there are people who are excluded from a group and act like they don't care and like they wouldn't want to hang out with them anyway. Then that group invites them somewhere and they leap at the chance.


A young woman I work with is like that. She was being excluded from the "in group" and would complain to me how rude they were and how she would never want to hang out with them even if they did ask. But then they asked her and she fell all over herself to go with them. She even left work hours early so she could go with them! Now she spends more time with them and only hangs out with me if they're not around.


It doesn't hurt me though, because I've developed my own group of friends separate from her. So that's what I'd recommend. Make friends with someone who's not part of that group and soon you won't even care anymore.

Link to comment

Too bad about Lauren.


I have no idea why, but it really sucks when people fall short of our expectations.


These Clique People are limited. They are driven by their need for reassurance and a sense of belonging. They look like they are having fun, but they are really just a bunch of 20 and 30 year olds trying to figure out how to get off the merry-go-round and grow up.


Avoid the Clique People when they are in groups of two or more. Interact with them on an individual basis only, and always be nice. Over time, most of them will stop seeing you as a threat.


In the meantime, get to know the other people at work, and make a big effort to meet people outside of work. This will take the pressure off this situation a little bit.

Link to comment

Be kind to everyone at work. Period. You can make friends to lunch with or walk outside with, but keep the conversations clear of anyone else on the job, and don't try to convert that person into being an adversary of the clique or into your social life--which you keep completely separate from work.


If you can join a club or an interest group outside of work where you meet people, especially an older person who can help mentor you socially and be your confidant, then the significance of cliques at work will go bye-bye.


That significance will likely go away over time anyway if you love your job, because you'll outlast them. Meanwhile, cultivate one or more work friends who are mature and outside of your department. Invite such people to lunch or coffee and always keep it light.


Knock the clique people off of your social media. You can block their feeds or otherwise hide their posts without concern about showing up in their potential friend lists again--so your block needn't be obvious. But stop reading their stuff.


The clique will either break up over time as people move on, or they will mellow over time as their own dramas get old. Meanwhile, consider them to be lackeys of one idiot who was jealous of you, and take pride in your ability to care less and less about them--including Lauren, who allowed herself to be used as a tool to make you jealous. Skip her, but don't indulge in 'why'.


Head high, the merry-go-round is not so merry, and the earlier you learn that, the better.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...