Stop confusing your jealousy with exclusion
Picture this: you’re sat at home on a Saturday afternoon. You’re scrolling through your social media to see what everyone’s up to and there it is; your best friend is out eating lunch with someone who’s not you.
That feeling in the pit of your stomach? That’s jealousy.
We’ve all been there, whether it’s someone in your class getting a higher grade than you or someone at work getting the promotion you wanted. Jealousy manifests itself in different ways for all of us, but there’s one thing we can collectively agree on: it’s not a nice feeling.
Now picture this: It’s a Friday night and you’re wrapped in a blanket. You’ve got a glass of wine in one hand and your phone in the other. You’re scrolling through your social media to see what everyone’s up to, and there it is; just about everyone you know is out on the town. Without you.
That lump in the back of your throat? That’s exclusion. See the difference?
Potentially an even worse feeling than jealousy, exclusion singles you out and makes you wonder what on earth you could’ve done wrong for your friends to so easily forget about you.
Exclusion isn’t the little green monster sitting on your shoulder telling you that you deserve what someone else has. Or that your bestie’s only allowed one friend.
So, what has caused the line between jealousy and exclusion to blur so greatly?
The answer is simple: social media.
Before the rising prevalence of social media, you knew these things were happening, but you had no idea what was happening. Now, you know they’re happening and you can see what a great time all your mates are having without you. Social media has successfully left little to the imagination when it comes to the fleeting excitement of our lives.
The fact that you can now keep up with your friends 24/7 doesn’t mean you’re owed anything to soothe the sting of your own jealousy. You haven’t been ‘left out’ of an event you decided not to attend. Nor does your bestie have to spend every waking moment of their life in your company. So stop convincing yourself that your friends are excluding you. Unless they actually are.
Have you been excluded, or are you just jealous?
Before you claim that you’ve been excluded, remember that you’re not always owed an explanation or an invite. You need to make a mature, educated judgement based on how well you know your friendship group. It’s not one-size fits all.
The striking contrast between jealousy and exclusion is that jealousy is your problem. Parties you were invited to but couldn’t make, things other people have that you want, your friends spending time with other people. These things happen, and they happen to us all.
Exclusion, however, is someone else’s problem with you. And that’s something you can’t change.
Why exclusion hurts more
Through no fault of your own, you’ve been left out. It’s going to hurt, and you’re more than entitled to be upset about it.
All of those people who are doing something without you are your friends. You’ve had your ups; you’ve had your downs. But ultimately, there’s no one you love more in the world than the group of people who have shaped you into the beautiful human you are today.
So why did not a single one of them think to invite you?
Here’s where jealousy and exclusion differ: Jealousy manifests itself through anger. Exclusion manifests itself through disappointment. And that’s why it feels a whole load worse.
You know how it feels when your mum says the words ‘I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.’ It’s exactly that, only this time, you’re not on the receiving end.
It’s important that you don’t take exclusion personally unless it’s something you experience time and time again (maybe then it’s time to find some new friends).
Not everyone thinks the same way you do, and that can be easy to forget.
Words: Eloise Jones