Why Does Feeling Left Out Hurt So Much? Coping With Rejection

Last Update on January 31, 2023 : Published on January 6, 2022
Why feeling left out hurts

Isn’t feeling left out the worst feeling in the world? I mean it feels like your friends and family have simply forgotten about you, you feel left out by the family. It almost feels like you are nonexistent to them, you feel excluded. Suddenly the bond you share with them all seems fake and superficial. 

In this blog, we will be talking about what is the meaning of feeling left out and why this feeling hurts so much. We will also talk about how we can cope with the feeling of being left out and how to deal with feeling left out.

The feeling of being less important in your friends’ lives or feeling left out by your friends can hit hard. Especially when you give your cent percent to your friends and never leave them out of any plans you make. It almost feels like a betrayal, doesn’t it? Feeling excluded for no good reason does hurt. 

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The worst of it all is that even when you know that plans are being made excluding you, you still feel hurt! You keep telling them, “I feel left out” and they do nothing? Why does feeling leave out hurt so much? 

What Is The Meaning of Feeling Left Out?

meaning of feeling left out

Feeling left out is that unsettling feeling in your gut when you learn about the plans your friends or family made excluding you. It is exactly what you feel when your friends plan a lunch out without you, you feel left out by your family (or you feel left out by your friends).

Feeling left out is a combination of various emotions and thoughts that intensify the miserable feeling of dealing with being left out. It may include feeling betrayed, worthless, unimportant, anger. All these emotions together really mess you up.

Imagine having all these emotions at the same time! Feeling left out is not just about not being included in some random plan. It’s so many things that attack you at the same time. But the question here is why does it keep hurting all the time? Why does getting left out affect you so much?

Why Does Feeling Left Out Hurt So much?

feeling left out hurt so much

Irrespective of how intentional or unintentional the actions of people around you may seem, feeling left out always hurts. It’s human to expect to be wanted, to be valued, to be important in someone’s life.

However, not everyone is lucky enough to always feel wanted and valued. It is very easy to feel left out, sometimes perhaps you’re just overthinking and sometimes circumstances are such that make your feel left out.

All in all, feeling left out always hurts, and knowing why it hurts so much can help us navigate our feeling and understand our reactions. Let’s look at some reasons why feeling left out hurt so much;

1. Belonging to a social group used to be a survival instinct during primitive times

During early ages, humans needed to stay together and belong to a group to stay alive. Even though we have evolved, the instinct to be in a pack and belong to a social group stays intact. Therefore, that instinct can be one of the reasons why feeling left out hurts.

2. Our brain translates this information as physical pain

According to a study, social alienation is comprehended and processed by the same part of the brain as physical pain. This means your brain takes the feeling of being left out as physical pain, hence it hurts so much. So feeling left out by family or friends is as bad as a physical injury.

3. The reactions come from the fear of being lonely

We naturally feel lonely when our friends or family are away from us. The feeling of extreme loneliness kicks in when you think that your friends have purposely left you out of their plans. You start feeling excluded and unwanted and that pains you in the heart.

4. Feeling hurt is a natural response to being rejected

You feel rejected by your friends and that hurts. That rejection begins to eat you up from within. You begin to think that you aren’t good enough and that’s the reason you are being left out or perhaps are not accepted by your friends.

Rejection brings in a lot of self-doubt and confusion about what and where you went wrong. Therefore, feeling left out hurt so much because you’re reacting to rejection.

5. It hurts because you’re being bullied or there is deliberate omission

Sometimes being left out is just a deliberate attempt to leave you out.  It usually happens when someone is trying to bully you. They purposely leave you out and that bullying can hurt your feelings. You feel bad because people around you intend to make you feel bad, they simply don’t care about your feelings.

Ways To Cope With Feeling Left Out:

Ways to cope with feeling left out

1. Address Your Emotions

Ignoring your feelings and emotions will do you no good. Make sure you acknowledge your emotions and understand why you feel left out so that you can process them properly. This will help you decrease the intensity of your emotions. 

2. Benefit of the Doubt

Sometimes you might feel left out but the truth might be something completely different from what you perceive. You can try and give your friends the benefit of the doubt. What if it all was a simple honest mistake. What if there was no reason for you to feel left out by your friend?

3. Be With Someone Who Really Cares For You

If your friends have left you out purposely, it’s better you be friends with people who really care for you. Be with people who don’t make you feel excluded.  It’s not important to be friends with many people, even one honest friend is much better than 10 dishonest friends.

 4. Focus on Self-Improvement

I know you are feeling miserable, you are feeling left out but what is the point of dwelling on those negative emotions? Try to focus on better things, you have time to evaluate your relationship with them and decide if they are even worth all this trouble. Spend time with people who really care about you, who don’t make you feel left out. 

5. Increase Your Confidence

According to research, high self-confidence will help you deal with feeling excluded more easily. Therefore you should work on increasing your self-confidence so that this feeling of being left out doesn’t break you into pieces.

6. Mind your actions

Sometimes we fail to notice our own actions which can be hurtful to others. That can be one of the reasons people begin to exclude you. Therefore, make sure you are aware of your actions and behavior with other people. 

7. Use I statements while talking about feeling left out

Make sure that you use I statements while expressing your feelings about being left out. If you tell them that they are excluding you, it will sound like an accusation and you might feel excluded even more. Tell them, “I feel like I have been left out from that party last week, was it fun?” this way you won’t sound accusation and you’ll send the message across as well.

8. Positive self-talk

Remind yourself who you really are. Give yourself the pep talk you need so that your self-esteem is not hurt. It’s on you to keep your morale high and positive self-talk will do just that. Don’t sink into the rabbit hole of feeling left out by your friends and family

Also Read: A Guide to Boost Your Self-Esteem Like Never Before

9. Make new friends

Now, don’t take this negatively. Sometimes your present company is not the right one for you and might exclude you because you might not fit into their company. It’s better to be with people with whom your frequency matches so that you don’t unnecessarily feel left out. 

10. Talk to a therapist

Sometimes you are not able to address and acknowledge your feelings on your own. That’s the time you need to talk to a therapist so that you can get the help you need. A professional can help you figure out why you are feeling left out and how to deal with feeling left out. 

Book Your Appointment Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q.1 Is it normal to feel left out by friends and family?

Well, let’s not say it’s normal but you can say it’s common to feel left out by your friends and family. When you are feeling excluded know that there is something missing in the relationship. There can be a communication gap or maybe you are overthinking or you’re just not in the right company. The reason can be anything, know that you’re not the only one, and many people feel left out. 

Q.2 How can I be Okay with feeling excluded?

It’s sure going to be hard but it’s okay to feel betrayed and get angry at your friends and family. But you also need to understand that you can’t force anyone to love you the same way you love them. The sooner you accept the reality the better it will be. 

Q.3 How often do people feel left out?

61% of the world population has felt left out at least once in their lives. And this figure is only from the reported cases. There are millions of people who feel left out. According to a generalized survey, 1 in every 6 people feel left out. You are not alone there are millions fighting the same demons as you are. 


There will be many people who will avoid or exclude you but it’s you who can decide whether that plan was really important to you or not. Feeling left out is not a nice place to be in but it is also not the end of the world.

Have an honest group of friends even if it is only a person. You decide who you want to be friends with so choose wisely.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Do comment and let me know if you ever faced the feeling of being left out and how did you tackle the situation?

Thanks for reading!

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.


  1. :)

    this really helped since I've been feeling left out for the past two years :)

    1. CS Team
      CS Team

      Hey, We are glad to know we are helpful to you. Keep Reading and Keep Sharing Love!

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