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

Last Update on January 7, 2022 : 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. It almost feels like you are nonexistent for them. 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.

The feeling of being less important in your friends’ lives can really 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 betrayal, doesn’t it?

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The worst of it all is that even when you know that there are plans being made excluding you, you still feel hurt! Why does feeling left 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.

Feeling left out is a combination of various emotions and thoughts that intensify the miserable feeling. 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 Feeling Left Out Hurt So much?

feeling left out hurt so much

Now, sometimes you might be excluded from a plan unintentionally but the hurt remains the same. Therefore unintentionally or intentionally if you are being left out, your brain takes it as a signal that you are not important to your friends.

Here’s why it might hurt so much…

  • According to Tina Tessina, a psychologist, during the early age we would stay in packs to increase the chances of survival. Hence being excluded from a group means your survival is at risk. Therefore, there is an innate fear that we have when we are excluded from our group.
  • According to a study social alienation is reacted to from the same part of the brain as is physical pain. Which means your brain takes the feeling of being left out as physical pain hence it hurts so much.
  • 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 feel rejected by your friends. 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.

These can be a few reasons that are responsible for making your condition so miserable. Feeling left out is a very natural response to social isolation. It can take an ugly turn if you fail to manage your emotions properly.

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 so that you can process it 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?

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. 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 but what is the point 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.

5. Increase Your Confidence

According to research, a high self-confidence will help you deal with exclusion more easily. Therefore you should work on increasing your self-confidence so that this social exclusion 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 accusational and you might get 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 accusational 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.

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. 


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

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.

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