Dear Sue: “Maddened Maddie”
I don’t know when I started to feel like this, but I feel excluded. All of my friends are talking about Netflix shows I haven’t seen and March Madness stuff I’m honestly not interested in. They ignore me. I feel like they’re talking to their phones and I’m just hanging around in the background. I know some of this stuff will stop once the season of the show is over and March Madness stops, but right now I’m really sick of being ignored. How can I start communicating with my friends again? Thanks.
I’m sorry that you feel ignored. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and people are complaining more and more about cell phones. Cell phones are great for staying in touch, but yes, they’re also wonderful at preventing you from being in touch.
You’ve already started approaching this situation wisely. It won’t last forever. The “latest” Netflix obsession won’t be around forever, and March is only thirty-one days. Still, waiting things out isn’t always the best approach. You should talk to your friends about how they’re making you feel excluded. Even if you’ve already mentioned it to them, try again. Repeating your frustrations increases your chances of getting them to listen to you.
If you’re not assertive (no worries, not many people are), you can be less direct in your approach. Instead of saying, “Hey, I feel like you’re ignoring me, etc, etc”, try changing the topic. Ask about the show. Ask about March Madness. You might learn something interesting. Even if you don’t, you’ll probably enjoy having them talk to you about something (anything!) more than feeling ignored. Or, if you want to direct their attention away from their phones, you can ask them what they plan to do over the weekend. Does Outdoor Adventures have an event you’d like to participate in? If the phones (and not just having them ignore you) are a big part of your problem, an outdoor activity is a great opportunity to direct their attention from their digital devices and towards nature and you.
Or, maybe you don’t want to spend time outdoors. Maybe you just want an opportunity to hang out with your friends. In this case, check out the monthly calendar or look at RC Engage. You could also look up events in Salem or downtown Roanoke. Come up with some ideas and suggest them. With a bit of “trial and error”, you can find ways to get their attention and reconnect with them.
Good luck, Maddie!
Sue Z. Maroon