Exclusion in the Instagram Age: Why Are My Friends Hanging Out Without Me?

Exclusion is a terrible feeling – watching your friends have a great time on social media when you’re not a part of it.

I recently worked with a great group of kids who shared their strategies for what to do when they are feeling left out.

I like to ask kids what they can do WHEN this happens. Not IF. Because it will happen to everyone, and I want to normalize that for kids who are new to managing these issues on social media. Seeing things that might make you feel bad or left out is the “price of the ticket” on social media, unfortunately.

How to Deal with Feeling Left Out

Here are some ideas the kids shared to fight the feeling of exclusion:

Ideas for handling kids' feeling of exclusion on Instagram and other social media.

1. Watch some Netflix

2. Eat some ice cream

3. Call some other friends to invite them over

4. Don’t watch! Put away phone

5. Hang out with parents or siblings

6. Exercise

In short, don’t keep looking. Definitely do NOT text those folks right now to demand to know why they didn’t include you. Take care of yourself!

Back when we were kids and we were left out, we didn’t have social media to remind us. But your resilience and perspective helped you get through those experiences. You can share that wisdom and support with your child now.

When you have teenagers, hanging out with parents might well be a B-plan. In most relationships, that wouldn’t be healthy. I wouldn’t want to be my husband’s B-plan for Saturday night. But when you have a teenager, a movie night with parents could be a fallback. Be casual. Let them pick the movie.

Telling kids a story about a time you felt left out will help create more empathy and trust in your relationship. But I wouldn’t do it right at the moment when they are upset. Let it be about them. If at all possible, see if you can get them to unplug.

Watching peers post more is NOT going to help.

Overall, we want to help kids notice when something on their devices is making them feel bad and make decisions accordingly.

See this and share it as an Instagram post here.

You want to be running your devices, not letting them run you!

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