Consider the possibilities
This may have been a mistake or misunderstanding. The person that started the group may not even realise that you have been left out. You may not have been left out on purpose.
Some things to think about
Being left out of a group chat can sometimes make you feel isolated or even rejected. You might also feel sad or angry. This is really normal and you will not always feel this way.
You can feel worse if your other friends have been included. It can be tempting to get them involved or to make them feel bad for being included in the group. Try not to let your hurt feelings make you bitter or take things out on your friends.
Give yourself a bit of time before you respond, hurt feelings often mean we say things that we regret later (and cannot take back).
A lot of the time, this is more about the other person that it is about you. They might have their own insecurities or want to feel like they are in control. They often want to see that it has impacted you and that you are upset. It can be really effective to act like it has not had any impact at all. This can stop things from escalating and diffuse the situation without things getting worse.
Reframe your negative self-talk
Try not to dwell on it too much or to fall into the trap of trying to work out why you have not been included (this never goes well).
When we get left out or are hurt, we often start thinking really negatively. If we do not reframe these, we can start to believe that these thoughts are the truth. This can leave you feeling really stuck.
Thoughts can range from ‘Everyone hates me, that is why they left me out’ to ‘They are all talking about me, that’s the only reason they set up the group…’. These are only thoughts, they are not true or even real. They let us overreact and jump to the worst case scenario.
Reframing thoughts like these are really important. This can be anything from ‘I have friends that care about me and we chat all the time’ to ‘I am a good friend and people that know me, know that’.
Talk about it
Have a chat with someone in the group. Let them know how you’re feeling, because they might not even be aware that you’re upset about it or wanted to be included.
If they are just leaving you out because they think it’s funny, explain that you don’t appreciate the joke. Try to do this calmly, getting angry, upset or picking a fight will definitely make matters worse!
If they’re truly your mates, they’ll most likely understand, apologise, and stop excluding you. They may also be able to relate and share a time they felt the same way.
If they’re leaving you out to try to hurt your feelings, then remember that there are so many people out there who would love to have you in their group chat.
If there is no one in the group that you feel would respect your feelings or care about you, maybe there are other groups that are better to be part of.
Talk to someone outside of the group that you know cares about you, spend some time offline with them and give yourself some space to let the hurt become less painful.
Invite friends to do things with you
One way you can start to move on is to take the initiative and invite other people to do things with you.
Invite your friends to hang out or to come round to watch a movie with you over the weekend.
Spending time with people that make you laugh and that you have fun with can be a great way to develop friendships offline to stop you from focusing so much about the online groups.
Talking to a counsellor could help
If being excluded from a group chat is making you feel really down, and giving yourself time or space or talking to a parent or friend about it isn’t helping
there are some great helplines you can talk to or you could connect with a counsellor.
Check out the SERVICES section for how you could get support.