Why do my friends keep leaving me out?

I have a group of friends that keep doing things without me then talking about it online. When I ask what they're up to at the weekend they all say 'nothing', but then I go onto Instagram and see they've posted photos of all of them out together. They know I can see this! I feel really left out. What should I do?

Psychotherapist Dr Aaron Balick says: “What’s happening here is a very subtle form of bullying, often called ‘bullying by exclusion‘. Even though it’s less obvious than standard bullying, it can be really hurtful to be left out and have that proved to you on social media. This is something you can solve, as long as you seek help.

“Try approaching the person you’ve felt closest to in the group. At a good moment, take them aside and share with them that you’ve felt hurt and left out and see if they can be more thoughtful with you in the future. Getting one person away from the crowd often helps in situations like this. If that feels too scary, it’s worth confiding in a parent or teacher. Explain what’s been happening and see if you can get help, or think up a solution together.

“Like all instances of bullying, the more you’re able to identify what your needs are and to speak up for yourself, the better you’ll be at managing situations like this. This is really hard because when we get bullied we’re more likely to withdraw and go quiet, but sadly that only helps the bullies. That’s why, whenever anything like this is happening, it’s time to get help to give you the courage to say what you need and make sure those needs are being met.”

Next Steps

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