Having mom friends can make navigating motherhood a much easier and enjoyable experience. Filling you with shared laughter, support during tough times, and cherished memories. Yet, when your new friends or your close group of mom friends leave you out, it hurts. Feeling excluded by people you thought understood you can be difficult and upsetting. 

Let’s take a look at some strategies for handling situations where you might be the excluded mom or a friend is shut out of a mom group. And what you can do to navigate this personal experience.

Signs of Exclusion

The signs of exclusion in any social circle can manifest in various subtle yet hurtful ways. It might become apparent through changes in communication, or that you or your children might be left out of plans. Leaving you feeling overlooked and undervalued.

Recognising the signs is crucial for addressing the issue and finding ways to navigate the complexities of interpersonal relationships.

Feeling left out of social situations and conversations

The social exclusion that can arise in a friendship group can lead to feelings of loneliness, insecurity, and self-doubt, which can have an impact on your sense of belonging and well-being.

Examples of changes in social settings:

  • feeling ignored or dismissed when attempting to engage with a group of friends
  • observing activities without being included
  • not being introduced to when new members become part of the group
  • experiencing a lack of reciprocity in efforts to maintain the friendship
  • not receiving support or acknowledgment during challenging times
  • not being included in group chats or discussions about plans

Lack of invitations to events or play dates

Moms can be pretty resilient. But when your child gets excluded, that’s often a different story.

It can be difficult to explain to children why they are being excluded and often as a parent, you don’t know the answer either.

Examples of changes in communication:

  • not receiving invitations to play dates or events
  • being left out of group invitations
  • feeling isolated when your child is not invited to playdates

Changes in behaviour or communication patterns

Your exclusion can start as something as simple as a lack of communication. You might notice subtle shifts in the way your close friends interact or don’t interact with you. There might be a noticeable decline in the frequency of communication.

Examples of changes in communication:

  • fewer texts, calls, meme exchanges etc
  • avoiding eye contact
  • not being included in conversations or decision-making within the friend group
  • noticing a decline in the frequency of interactions
  • feeling like an outsider during group outings
  • not being tagged or mentioned in social media posts
  • feeling excluded from inside jokes or shared experiences among your social group
  • experiencing tension or discomfort during interactions

Understanding the dynamics of adult friendships

Understanding the dynamics of adult friendships means recognizing that these relationships are multifaceted and evolve.

Unlike childhood friendships, adult friendships are often influenced by various factors. Things like life stages, personal interests, and shared experiences.

Healthy friendships require an intentional effort to nurture and maintain, especially when the demands of work, family, and other commitments are added to the mix. 

Exploring potential reasons for exclusion

By exploring the potential reasons for exclusion, you can unveil the underlying factors that contribute to feeling isolated.

Sometimes it may stem from unintentional oversight or miscommunication, rather than deliberate acts.

Differing schedules due to career and family commitments can make it hard to create time and mental space for your circle of friends. Plus the evolving life circumstances like career changes, relocation and changed family dynamics can cause feelings of exclusion.

Unresolved conflicts, jealousy or misunderstandings among good friends can significantly contribute to feelings of exclusion and tension within the group.Unaddressed conflicts or lingering resentments may simmer beneath the surface, leading to subtle forms of exclusion. Jealousy, whether stemming from perceived favouritism or accomplishments within the group, can breed resentment and undermine trust among best friends. And misunderstandings, fueled by miscommunication or differing interpretations of events, can exacerbate feelings of alienation and isolation.

Childless friends often feel left out when the conversation centres around the perils of parenthood. So they may begin to distance themselves from you because of this. And that’s ok. Sometimes protecting your mental health needs to take priority.

But exclusion and feelings of rejection are not just for moms. Children also experience this and it can often extend to the parents.

  • older children not wanting to play with younger children
  • little girls excluding little boys because of “boy germs”
  • not being invited to birthday parties
  • one excluded friend from the group

Teaching children how to deal with exclusion can be difficult, but being a role model is a great first step.

By acknowledging and addressing these potential reasons for exclusion, you can work together to promote a more inclusive and supportive environment where all members feel valued and respected.

The importance of being included

By actively promoting inclusivity, you can cultivate an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of differences. Embracing the diversity in experiences and social skills enriches the dynamics of the whole group.

Inclusive friendships not only enhance your social skills but also promote emotional well-being,  by creating a supportive community where each person feels accepted and valued among a diverse group of people.

But sometimes the mean girls from high school grow up to be that mean mom friend.


Coping Strategies

Reach out and communicate concerns

It takes courage and honesty to communicate your concerns with your closest friends. But it’s crucial to conflict resolution and strengthening relationships.

Sometimes a quick phone call is enough to dispel any uneasy feelings you may have about exclusion, whether it relates to you or someone else. Let your friends know the concerns you have and share your feelings about the issues.

Approach the conversation with a willingness to find a solution and rebuild the friendship.

Express your feelings calmly and clearly by using “I” statements. This will help convey how you have been affected personally. 

Foster new friendships and connections

If you feel like you need to distance yourself from the group of moms, it’s a great time to focus on new connections or meeting new people.

Tips to maintain or create new friends:

Emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and kindness in friendships can instil positive values, encouraging others to cultivate inclusive and supportive relationships in their own lives.

Be a role model

It’s also important to be a good role model for both your friends and young people that you may influence, like children. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate resilience, empathy and confidence.

Your resilience is on display when you show others how to navigate challenging situations by discussing your feelings and seeking support from others.

Modelling empathy by understanding other people’s perspectives encourages a sense of compassion and understanding.

Maintaining your confidence despite the exclusion can inspire others to value themselves regardless of other’s actions.

Addressing these conflicts and misunderstandings through open and honest communication is essential for fostering healing, rebuilding trust, and promoting a sense of unity within the group next time. It allows good mom friends to acknowledge and validate each other’s own feelings, supporting each other in navigating the challenges of social life, especially for a new mom who may experience social isolation for the first time.

Finding Peace Amid Exclusion

Prioritising your self-worth is crucial for combating low self-esteem and nurturing your emotional well-being. Understanding that it not only impacts your emotional support system, but your physical health as well.

Recognizing your inherent value and worthiness as an individual, independent of external validation, is key to navigating the challenges of adult life with confidence and resilience.

Taking time to contemplate allows you to explore your feelings, reactions, and perceptions surrounding the exclusion, fostering a deeper understanding of yourself and the dynamics at play within your social circle. Through self-reflection, you can identify patterns of thought and behavior, uncovering opportunities for personal growth and development. Embracing this process empowers you to cultivate resilience, confidence, and self-awareness, ultimately leading to greater emotional resilience and well-being.

Navigating the intricacies of motherhood alongside your closest friends often provides solace and joy. However, the sting of exclusion can bring pain and confusion. Recognizing signs of exclusion and delving into its complexities offers you opportunities for understanding and growth. By being inclusive, making new friends and being resilient, you’ll pave the way for a more compassionate community around you. 

As you grow and evolve, the dynamics of your friendships may also shift, requiring flexibility and understanding from everyone involved.


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