When You Feel Like A Second Tier Member Of Your Social Group
Sometimes someone is part of a group of friends, but can't shake the feeling that they're lower on the totem pole than everyone else. No one is blatantly awful to them, but they don't seem to be treated with a ton of respect or consideration either. Some reasons they may feel this way are:
- Their friends don't really seem to pay that much attention to them when they're together. They may even feel like everyone goes out of their way to ignore them.
- Their friends don't seem to ever invite them out. They're always having to chase everybody down to figure out what the group's plans are. Everyone else seems to be kept in the loop.
- Their friends are always late, or seem unfazed by canceling on them at the last second.
- Their friends tease them a lot.
- They have a role in the group they're not sure about, like being everyone's chauffeur.
This article will talk about the issue of feeling second tier somewhat, but will mostly point you to more specific articles I've written about the above issues. The links are farther down.
Being benignly less close to everyone isn't always bad. Being subtly disrespected is a different story
In a group of friends it's not uncommon for some of the members to have tighter bonds. They could have known each other longer, have more in common, or spend more time together. If you're less close to them that isn't necessarily a horrible thing. As long as you enjoy their company, and they're nice to you, you may have no problem being the new friend around a bunch of people who grew up together. They might even plan some events that don't include you, but you may be fine only hanging out with them on a more peripheral, casual level. You don't have to be super best buddies with everyone you know.
At other times a social group can be more exclusionary and mildly hostile. It's not that you get along with everyone, but just aren't a core, long-time member. They seem to treat each other better than they treat you. You wonder if they're merely tolerating you, or if they're fine with you tagging along, but they won't make an effort to engage you. You worry they're trying to tell you they don't want you around, but you haven't taken the hint. When you're done hanging around them, you don't feel happy and energized, but unsure of yourself. It's a crappy place to be.
Possible signs of being a second tier group member
Your friends seem indifferent to you when you're hanging out
A few things could be happening in this situation. The first is that your friends don't mean to seem apathetic, but due to crossed wires you feel like that's the case. The second is that you may be liked within your group, but may be a bit easy to overlook and ignore at times. The third is that you're not be a good match with the group, and they're showing it by acting disinterested. A more detailed discussion is here:
Your friends rarely invite you out or keep you in the loop
Again, it's possible they don't mean to leave you out, but it's coming across that way. Or it may be that they'll avoid you whenever they can, but will reluctantly get together if you take the initiative. These articles go into more depth:
Your friends are flaky and often cancel plans or show up late
Unreliable behavior is pretty annoying. The issue is whether everyone is being self-centered and disrespectful of your time, or if they just have a more lax and flexible outlook on making plans or being punctual. If it's the latter, friends can have clashing expectations about how they're supposed to treat each other. One may think all plans are loose and tentative, while another may think once you agree on something it's set in stone. Here's the article on that topic:
Your friends tease you a lot
The problem here is usually that the person being teased too much doesn't like it, but may not be sure where they stands with their friends. Is everyone teasing them it in a good-natured way, but getting carried away, or do they have more mean-spirited intentions? I go into the topic here:
You've got a role in the group you're not happy with
For example, you've got a car and are the group's unofficial free taxi. What's going on? Is it that everyone's deliberately using you, and don't respect you as a person? Is it that they have nothing against you, but have slipped into thoughtlessly taking your rides for granted? More details: