Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hurt Feelings

Something has been bothering me. It has been bothering me a lot, yet I can’t figure out why. There is a part of me that feels like I am being petty, a part of me that feels like I am being mean, and still a part of me that feels like I am having a completely reasonable reaction to the way I perceive I am being treated.

Here is how things work in our family. All four of us like to have people over. On an average Friday night, as dinner is being prepared, my children ask “Are Lorax and FKS coming over?” On a holiday weekend in the summer they wonder, who has been invited for the weekend with their children to hang out by the bonfire and where do we get to put our sleeping bags? Over Christmas break, we all look forward to the traditions of gatherings almost every night of the break to fit in celebrations with family, the tree trimming party, exchanging presents with friends, and several other get togethers we find reasons to hold at The Kaper Kompound. To be honest, it is absolutely our preference to entertain our friends and family at our house. Most of our friends know this about us and it works for them as well as it works for us.

Our close friends, many of whom spend most of their free time at our house because they know that is our preference, occasionally plan things out and about. When they do, they always invite us. They give us plenty of notice so, if necessary, we can arrange for a sitter. If a sitter isn’t necessary, they give us plenty of notice so we can tell them what dates work for us considering we are working around four schedules instead of one or two and they want to include our children. We completely appreciate that, and that consideration they give us leads to really fun times.

We are so lucky to have a close circle of friends who share our interests, our open mindedness, and our passion for living a life less ordinary. We are also lucky enough to be relatively personable, so we can meet people easily. As we spend time with them, we can quickly determine if there is potential for a close friendship or if there is nothing more than acquaintance potential. Once we make this determination, we enjoy integrating our new friendships with our existing friendships and this has led to an amazing spiderweb of friends that mix REALLY well for both a family friendly scavenger hunt for home-made treasures in the woods as well as fun times in the hot tub on nights when the kids are spending the evening with grandma and grandpa.

So this brings me to the heart of my problem. In our circle, we are often the common denominator that unites people with others they might not have met. This is a good thing! Friendship is a treasure and if we can be the catalyst that starts an amazing friendship, that makes us feel great! I could list many examples of friendships that we can ultimately claim we started by making the initial introduction. The benefit we gain from this is we are often included in these friendships in some way. One way is the new chemistry that they bring to a party we have after these new friendships have developed. They have a different kind of confidence that is notable and benefits our gatherings. Another way is that they return the favor and introduce us to new experiences we may not have had without meeting them. These are things that we LOVE! However, I have noticed a couple of negatives, and I can’t quite put my finger on why or how they make me feel bad.

I don’t think either Kidder or I have any problem with the friendship that is developed outside of us. What I have realized bothers me is when some friends make strong efforts to further develop friendships with our friends and then exclude us repeatedly. I start to feel excluded when “my” friend invites “my other friends” who I introduced them to out for the evening, yet they never invite me. I feel excluded when “my” friends invite “my other friends” to a party they are having and they don’t invite me. I feel excluded when “my other friends” invite “my” friends to an evening out and they decline until they find out more of “my other friends” are going to be there, and then they accept the invitation.

I have felt these kind of exclusions lately and they make me feel bad. They hurt my feelings and they make me wonder if these “friends” are really my friends at all. It leads me to think that to some people, I am only useful for the parties I can offer them. They are always ready to say yes when I am sending out an invitation to our party, and even become upset if they discover we’re having a party and they weren’t invited (as is often the case even with the best of intentions in the generation of Facebook). Sometimes it seems that other than getting invited to our party they don’t even consider us. While we almost always prefer to host the gathering (because it is easier for us considering the kids, the dog, and the extra space we have) I want to be invited to the fun things “my friends” are planning, at least once in a while. I don’t like to know that “my friends” go out of their way to include “my other friends” that I introduced them to, in their fun plans, but never bother to send me an invitation. Like I said, it hurts my feelings.

This has been on my mind extensively for at least the last week. I have tried to let it go, but each time I sit down to try to write a post for this blog, the only thing on my mind is this topic. I am not a fan of creating controversy, and this post feels like it is going to do just that. Because I can’t seem to let it go, I have decided it is just time to put it out there. I would love any input anyone has on this topic. Am I being petty? Am I being mean? Am I being naive in continuing to try to maintain a friendship with someone who isn’t putting any effort into maintaining a friendship with me? What do you think? Do you have any advice for me? How would you handle this situation? I can’t wait to hear....


  1. I've been through this myself. In school, I was always the one to welcome the new kid and make them feel comfortable and introduce them to others, only to have them leave me behind to join a clique that enjoyed harassing me.

    I still play that type of role in pretty much all the areas of my life, and I've come to accept that people will use me for the introductions I provide and then move on. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to, for several reasons:

    1) Just as there is chemistry in a romantic relationship, there is chemistry in a friendship. Sometimes people around me click better than with me. It's not my fault and it's not their fault; it just is.

    2) I use the ketchup analogy. A waitress offers me ketchup with my fries and I say no. Is she going to take it personally? No (or if she does she needs more therapy than the average person.) I treat offering my friendship the same way. I offer my ketchup (friendship) to everyone; it's up to them to accept.

    3) I already have some incredibly awesome friends. Even if no more join my circle, I'm happy. And the people who stick will be just as awesome!

    4) If people don't like me, why would I force them to spend time with me? I can feel the awkwardness and I don't like it. Fuck 'em!

    I don't think you're being petty or immature or naive. Rejection hurts, no matter what form it takes! It still hurts me when people don't want to spend time with me, but then I change my perspective a little and I'm ok with it.

    I hope this helps. Hugs from Virginia!

  2. Jade and I are wired very differently in this way. While we are both very inclusive and want to invite everyone possible, I totally understand that not every party or gathering needs a Kidder. Sometimes we have to limit our guest list because we are interested in having a more intimate party, other times we have to exclude people because they won't fit in (vanillas at an nVT party and bi-uncomfortables at a pansexual party, etc) and other times because we simply don't have the space for everyone.

    I only get pissy when friends change the plans on a night when I was really looking forward to hanging, they throw the guilt trip on me for not getting invited, or they start acting as though they own someone in a way that is awkward to witness.

    I hear what Jade is saying though, if exclusivity is your game, don't expect seat in the hot tub. It only holds 8 and we know a lot of fantastic people.

    Funny story- A good pal of mine moved the venue to a bar and we had 2 hours to find a sitter, which we failed to do. When I complained she said, "Well you should have thought about that before you had kids." Perhaps I'll start moving the venue to places WAY out of her price range and when she complains, perhaps I'll say, "You should have thought about that before you went to college for something useful and overextended your credit." :P

  3. I definitely have felt this way too. Even though I think of myself as a solitary person, I'm kind of a node in my social circle and I introduce a lot of people to a lot of other people. It's definitely hard to spend a boring night at home and then find out the next day your two friends that you introduced were out doing something fun without even thinking of you.

    I've also noticed that I feel it particularly acutely when there's something else wrong. If I'm in a rut, it's especially painful to be excluded. When I feel this way, it helps to ask myself if there's something else at the root of the feelings. It helps to figure out what I can do to help myself, rather than feel bad about what other people aren't doing to solve my problems for me.

    But I've also been the one who accidentally excluded someone, so I know from experiences it usually comes from thoughtlessness. When I'm excluding someone, it's usually because I assume they wouldn't be interested. This happens especially often when the friend in question is in a different place in life than I am -- married, or married with kids is a big one. I just figure, that person owns a house and has kids, why would they want to go to karaoke with me?

  4. Good view points! I am such a girl in that sometimes I need to vent something and just doing that makes me feel better/makes the problem go away, etc. Writing that post essentially did that for me.

  5. Here is my advice:
    A) Determine if this friendship is worth your kreplits.

    B) If the friendship is not worth it, then worry no more. Let it go, and remember you have lots of other great friends who love spending time with you. If you want closure, you are entitled to tell your friend your feelings are hurt and why if you so desire.

    C) If the friendship is worth your kreplits, tell your friend your feelings are hurt and why. Your friend's response will clue you in as to how to proceed next, and whether or not the friendship truly is worth it.

    I hope all goes well, your feelings will be un-hurt and that communication can flow freely and honestly!

  6. Coo Chie, this is one of the reasons why I love you. You have a great way of looking at things from an objective perspective and helping the person who is viewing it very subjectively to see it for what it is. Thank you for that. Another reason why I love you is that you are one of the friends I was referring too who give us plenty of notice so we can join in on the fun! Thanks for that.