Ann Landersish – What to Make of this Dilemma?

Just before heading to the US for my grandparents’ 90th birthdays, I received an interesting message in my inbox.  It seems I’m turning into an ersatz Ann Landers.  What advice would you give this guy, whom we will call Reader X?

Ann_Landers 000006-12
Long-lost relatives?

Hello Chris. You and Tawn both seem to have really insightful perspectives on life. I have been reading your blog for a few years. I never comment on your entries though. Hopefully your wisdom and advice will guide me through this dilemma. You could even post it on your blog to see how other readers would do in my situation. But please keep me anonymous. Thank you!

I have been taking road trips with this group of friends every summer (about 6 of them) for a few years. This year I was excluded and never invited. In fact I didn’t even know that they were on a trip until they updated their facebook statuses.

Considering all the planning and coordination involved, I am pretty sure they didn’t just simply forget to invite me.

My questions are:

1) Should I confront them or play dumb?
2) Should I even hang out with this group of friends anymore? I would think that by excluding someone deliberately was an obvious hint that they didn’t want that person in the group anymore. Would I appear clueless and stupid if I hang out with them again?

Now, I responded with some initial thoughts to Reader X, which I won’t share with you at the moment.  The next day, he replied with the following message:

Hi Chris. Thanks for the reply. … It would be great if you could present your readers my dilemma. Sorry I don’t mean to hijack your blog.  Your readers seem really mature and level-headed when facing life problems as well.

I decided to hear the truth so I messaged one of the girls in the group. I said “I can’t help but notice that I wasn’t invited on the trip. I’d like to know why. I’m prepared to accept any answer, but I want to hear it from you.”

She said it was thrown together quickly. But with hotel booking and coordinating each other’s schedule, it definitely didn’t happen spontaneously. In the past, they would plan the trips weeks ahead.

Then she said they only had one car. That explanation doesn’t really make sense because they know I have a car as well. Also why would they invite 6 people in the first place when the car could only accommodate 5. The explanation is clearly flawed.

So what now? Accept and believe. Or accept and move on?

So let’s put it to you, the “mature and level-headed” readers of my blog.  What initial advice would you have given Reader X and, now that he’s confronted one of the girls who left him behind, what advice would you give him for going forward?


0 thoughts on “Ann Landersish – What to Make of this Dilemma?

  1. Oh Chris, you’re better than Ann Landers. 😛 You always come up with the most gracious solution to a problem. I thought I’d throw in my naive opinion while we wait for those mature and level-headed folks to show up. :)I find this harder to answer because I don’t know the history between Reader X and his group of friends. How close are they? How long have they known each other? How often do they hang out? Who initiates those hangouts? Is Reader X closer to some members of the group than to others?On the surface, this does seem like a snub. Depending on the dynamics within the group, perhaps Reader X can pose the question to another friend and get a more direct answer. (In my group of friends, the people are not interchangeable—some are closer to each other than to the others; I’d get a different perspective from each one.) If the alternative is “not hanging out,” then Reader X has nothing to lose by asking a different person.I would not “accept and believe.” Clearly Reader X doesn’t believe, or else he wouldn’t be posing you this question. I would hang out with the friends only if they invited me. No need to be vindictive and unnecessarily burn bridges… So I say accept and move on, but still be friendly. (To the initial question, I would’ve said “confront.” Now that he has the wishy-washy response, he can be more confident that this was indeed a snub.)

  2. Hehe. So I have to wonder if this “gentle reader” is the only guy in the group or if it is a pseudo-couples thing… Nevertheless, he just might be the “odd” man out. Seven is an odd number. So if he was being included because there were several unattached persons in the group, it is possible that he was excluded because those persons are nolonger unencumbered. If all the others are girls – they might have wanted to do an all girls thing… He also has to ask himself if he had done something on their last trip that has made him “persona non grata”. People will take offense at the littlest things, from borrowing someones hairbrush to eating their leftover pizza (without asking of course). Other friends will forgive almost anything – from passing gas in an enclosed space (like a car) to macking on their sister. It all depends. Since he has confronted one woman from this cosy group and received an unsatisfying answer, his best bet is to cultivate different friends. Sometimes the truth hurts. Giving the benefit of the doubt to his friends they may just be too uncomfortable to give him the truth….

  3. The initial disappointment is, of course, understandable. As others wrote before it would be helpful to know the set-up of these trips: all girls, all boys, mixed, couples, etc. In my experience, girls tend to be less confrontational and would not easily admit the real reason. Can Reader X ask one of the guys participating in the road trip. Is Reader X a guy?It’s always difficult if friends exclude oneself, and Facebook didn’t help here much either by revealing it. One question is what would be the benefit of an answer of Reader X’s friends? Reader X didn’t like the “flawed” answer from one of the road trip members . So, is Reader X prepared to hear, “We don’t want to hang out with you anymore.”

  4. I’d move on to find a new group of friends. At least one of the 6 people should have had the courtesy to inform you. No one did. I feel bad that your reader found out this way. It shouldn’t have ended like this.

  5. i agree with matt – i’d say accept and move on. what’s happened has already happened. it’s his choice as to whether he wants to continue being friends with these people or not, and while it might be a snub, in the grand scheme of things, i’d say it’s not something worth making oneself miserable over.

  6. it surprises me that reader x has suddenly been tossed out of the group, if he has been going on road trips with the others for the past few years. i suspect val might be right, that someone in the group acquired a partner and in the interest of keeping the numbers even reader x got the boot. i am curious to know if the other people in the group were friends (and taking trips) before reader x became involved, or was he in on things from the beginning?at any rate, it seems to me based on the way reader x was excluded that this group of so-called friends no longer wants him around. i think it is time to look for some new friends.

  7. Adding my penny’s worth of thoughts…accept the pathetic answer and move on. Putting the trip on FB seems a particularly unkind way of saying “We don’t want to play with you anymore.” Find another sandbox.

  8. “Dear Christao” has a nice ring to it :)It does sort of seem like this was a snub to me. A few other commenters have pointed out that perhaps Reader X needs to take a step back and look at his relationships with this group of friends. Are they a good group of friends (meaning is the entire group close or are some closer to each other than others)? Do they do other things together besides going on trips? Is he ever left out of those things? Do some parts of the group hang out more than others? If he is willing to be truly self-critical, is there something that he may have done to make some in the group sad/upset/unhappy/mad/etc.? There is a lot to consider. I would suggest that he either talk to another person in the group (preferably the one that he is closest with) and see if he can get a straighter answer out of them. It may not solve the problem but I find it a bit more comforting to know what is actually going on…

  9. I agree with some of the others who are saying that it may be time to find a new group of travel buddys!!! By updating on FB they obviously weren’t too concerned with the feelings of the one who was left out of the trip. Of course if we had a bit more specifics about the group, how long had they been hanging out together, how tight had they been in the past, what are the dynamics of the group….are they couples? singles? a mix? . I would decide how important it is to me to hear the “whole truth and nothing but the truth” before I pushed any further. I think I would just tend to forget it and move on with a NEW bunch of friends!!! And that…is my 2 cents worth!!! Ruth Ann

  10. It sounds like a bunch of excuses to me.  If it was simply just “an all girls trip” or “partner’s trip”, then that’s understandable and shouldn’t have been difficult to explain.  However, the pathethic response leads me to believe that there’s more to it and no one was willing to tell X.  Making references on FB and not prepping X in advance is rude.  I would take the “accept and move on” route.  Perhaps they are not as good of friends as X thought.  It happens and sadly, most often, people just don’t like to tell you straight to your face.  PS. I used to love reading the AL column.  This could be a fun new gig for you Chris!

  11. I think the reader x should move on and not look back. He was snubbed. He needs to remember that may be he is better off without these wish washy friends. Who needs drama like this where feelings get hurt?  I would say good riddance to bad rubbish!

  12. Being Asian, we would never want to have awkward moments with our friends, as in Reader X’s case. Obviously, his friends are not tactful in excluding him in the trip and did not care to hurt his feelings. I think Reader X should move on and hang out with a new group of friends. Case closed!

  13. @CurryPuffy – @ZSA_MD – @waiszeblogs – @yang1815 – @Redlegsix – @TheCheshireGrins – @csn71650 – @kunhuo42 – @onmovement – @ElusiveWords – @beowulf222 – @chrispycrunch – @murisopsis – @Senlin – Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and advice.  As many of you pointed out, there are a lot of factors about the situation and Reader X that we don’t know, but I’m sure your words of wisdom will be helpful for him.  We’ll wait to see what happens and if he shared the results with me, I’ll be sure to share them with you, too.My initial advice to Reader X was very similar to what many of you provided: Let me ask you a few things: Do you enjoy their company enough to want to hang out with them in the future? Have there been any conflicts or incidents on these previous trips that may have led to one or more of the people not wanting to travel with you? Finally, and most importantly, could you handle the truth (or, at least, their honest opinion) if you asked and they gave it to you? Depending on the answers to those questions, it might be worth trying to find out why you weren’t invited. Or it might be better to just not worry about it and continue hanging out with them in the future. Regardless of what future action you are going to take, if they are on the trip or are soon leaving, the polite thing to do would be to comment on their facebook status in a positive way. “Have a great trip! Can’t wait to hear all about it!” or something like that. If you do want to confront them, I wouldn’t “confront” per se. Instead, I would recommend you approach the person in the group with whom you feel you have the closest relationship, and ask them if you can talk about the trip. Say something like, “I know it sounds a bit petty of me, but when you guys took the annual summer trip and I wasn’t a part of it this year, I felt a bit left out. I just want to make sure there isn’t something I’ve done that kept me from being invited?” That would be a good way to present it because it addresses the issue while not assigning blame. It even gives them an easy way to save face if there is a not-so-happy explanation. Well, that was before he approached one of the friends.  Now that he’s received an unsatisfactory response, I would recommend that he find some new friends to hang out with.  While he should remain friendly with them – no need to burn bridges – there does seem to be some underlying issues and if they aren’t willing to address the issues with him, their friendship is missing some crucial attributes like trust and honesty.Thanks again to everyone for sharing your thoughts and advice.

  14. After reading this entry I couldn’t help but give my input although a bit late. I found myself in the exact same position many years ago with a large group of friends. But unlike reader X who was lucky enough to NOT have ended up traveling with this group of people where he was not wanted, I ended going on the trip and felt like an outcast. I wished they would have just found a way to leave me out of the trip. It was the worst road trip I ever went on and even ran a fever when we got to our destination which left me in bed the whole time. This made the group think I faked it to avoid spending time with them. And since I was not wanted, even though I drove one of the cars, no one wanted to ride with me! So I ended up driving my car with a friend whom I literally had to force to come with me.It was only months later that I found out I was outcast because one of the “alpha” girls got tired of being friends with me. All the other lemming friends were too afraid of confrontation or didn’t care enough so no one wanted to or bothered to tell me what the reason was. I admit I was not the perfect friend as well and I also had my faults, but I did not deserve to be treated like that.I am sure at this point reader X had done something that he does not know about which have upset someone in the group or that someone in the group with a “higher” status got tired of him. There is always 2 sides to the story. This group is not doing the right thing by being honest and open about what is going on, and reader x needs to be prepared to realize he may have done something to be rejected.At this point he should just be thankful he didn’t go on the trip and be shunned.That trip ended up my friendship with that group of friends. It really hurt that time because the “alpha” girl was one of my closest friends. So suddenly to be told she was tired of being my friend hurt like nothing else. Its is only many many years later that we are sort of friends again. We have all grown up and I think she realized how silly she was. But things will never be the same again.

  15. @tehls – Wow, sounds like that experience created quite an impression on you.  Thanks for sharing your perspective, Tehlin.  Glad you are finding time with the new baby to read blog entries!  LOL

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