Q: I’m 28 and have had a close set of friends of several years. I have a new-to-the-area co-worker who’s smart and funny, so I welcomed her into this group and everyone hit it off. But lately I have gotten a vibe from her that she wants to do things with my friends without me. Part of this is because they share an interest in a certain type of music that I am not into.
Concerts without me are one thing, but now I feel like she is trying to poach my friends, as I wasn’t invited to a couple of casual hangouts. I feel hurt and confused but also sort of petty about this, but I also don’t want her taking my friends away.
A: I know this stings, but with a whole group to choose from, it might be time to start cultivating individual relationships rather than over-focusing on the in-versus-out mentality.
They share taste in music; what activities of your own might you share with one or two of them? It could be that the casual hangouts were not meant to exclude you — perhaps there was a logistical or communication kink — or yes, it could be that there’s more deliberate poaching going on. Either way, your best bet is to keep initiating social experiences you want to have, and keep nourishing the particular connections that you most enjoy.
View it as a question of who best fits you — rather than whether you fit in.