A mutual friend is excluding my best friend from group events, and it's making me feel terrible.
posted by sockermom to Human Relations (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am in a group of mutual friends, and we are mostly women. We are all in our 30s and 40s. We all work together in a postdoctoral research group. Some of us are closer than others, but we are all friendly and get along and socialize outside of work.
There was a time when we all spent time together and it was always nice. We were all pretty close and I considered these women to be my good friends. However, in the past six months or so there have been situations where not everyone is invited to group events, like birthday parties or Superbowl parties or movie nights. Specifically, my best friend and roommate, Amy, is not being invited to some of these group events.
In some cases, I can say something like "Hey, can I bring Amy," and it's fine. In lots of other situations, the invitations are more formal and I can't really ask to bring someone along (for example, there was a party where formal invitations were sent out, or there have been group emails that don't include Amy). This has been going on for about six months. There was some turmoil in our research group which caused bad feelings, not specific to myself or to Amy, but we were peripherally involved based on decisions made by the group that allowed us to have some perks that other postdocs did not get. We did not brag about these perks - we tried to share them with people, in fact, but there was a lot of unhappiness.
This is mostly coming from one person in the group - Lisa. Everyone else invites everyone to all the group events. However, Lisa kind of "runs" the social circle here and she organizes most of these events.
Amy and I think that this person might be jealous of both of us, but Amy is more "weakly tied" to the social group than I am, so she is the one who is being excluded more often. I am also being excluded, but not as often as Amy is, even though there are certain people in the group who prefer Amy's company to mine (although Amy disagrees with this statement).
I feel like I am being put in a bad situation. It makes Amy feel bad when she is excluded from stuff. It makes me feel bad not to go because I enjoy going, but it makes me feel bad to go because I feel like I'm being complicit and allowing Lisa's crummy behavior. I think Lisa is being really immature, and that this whole thing has gotten out of hand.
I don't really like Lisa that much at this point, but I do like the group that surrounds her. I like being able to spend time with them and with Amy. I also like spending time with some of these people one-on-one or in small groups, but it's becoming difficult to get together in a small group without involving Lisa. For example, I'd like to have Lisa's roommate and another one of our friends over, but if I do not invite Lisa, there will be a problem. If I do invite Lisa, people will probably not come, because Amy will be here and Lisa won't want to come. Amy doesn't really like Lisa much at all anymore, but she is nice to her and is always happy to socialize with her when we are all together. She doesn't really have any major problems with Lisa, other than the way Lisa treats her.
I feel like some of Lisa's closer friends in the group could or should say something about how excluding Amy is rude and not OK. I know I'm not that person because Lisa and I aren't that close - I'm often invited by coincidence or just by being in the "right" place at the right time.
I have been spending time with other people and distancing myself from this group, but I do like going to these events from time to time, too. These group things are usually pretty fun, I have a good time, and after working a really long week it can be nice to get out and laugh and have a nice time as a group. Stuff like this doesn't come up often, because I've distanced myself a lot, but when it does I get very upset and anxious. I feel like I can't say anything, because Lisa will get upset. I can't go to events, because I'll be participating in excluding my best friend. I can't stay home, because that doesn't really seem fair - I want to go! They're fun, whether or not Amy is present.
So what should I do about this?