Being excluded from what you thought as your tight-knight clique can understandably make you feel bad. It’s a form of rejection, and the thing about rejection is that it can hurt a lot like physical pain. If there’s a sudden shift in your squad dynamic and you feel that you’re getting the short end of the stick, here’s how you can cope:

1. Acknowledge what you’re feeling.
Feeling left-out is not something that only kids in high school feel. There are adults who go through it still, although many rarely speak about it. “Exclusion hurts so much because it forces us to face the firm boundaries of self-interest that lurk beneath the surface of even the warmest friendship,” says Dr. Judith Sills on Oprah. “The realization of being excluded can leave scars – but they don’t have to be permanent.”

The first step to getting over that left-out feeling is to acknowledge it. Once you do, you can start doing something about it.

2. Assess the situation.
There are times when your friends unintentionally leave you out, probably because they thought that you wouldn’t be interested in a certain activity or that you’re too busy with work or maybe your new love life. Take a step back and look at the situation from a different perspective, and maybe you’ll get a different understanding of what exactly went down.

3. Talk to a friend.
Sometimes, it pays to face your dragons. Approach someone from the group whom you feel closest to, and tell him or her about you feel. Chances are, your friend may be surprised about how bad you've been feeling.

However, there are also times when it was something that you did that caused the situation. Think about it: have you been too nosy, demanding, or thoughtless? A real friend will tell you, and when you get this kind of feedback, swallow your pride and apologize. Maybe reconnecting with your friends can start with a simple sorry and with the promise of compromise.

4. Move on.
Whatever happens after your talk, it’s important to move on from your feelings of rejection. If your barkada bond becomes stronger, then the incident is a good lesson of being more sensitive and understanding of what the real situation is. If the distance between you and your friends become wider, then remember that people naturally come and go in your life, and as long as you’re open to change, you can always meet new people with whom you can build new bridges with.

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