Missing out even when it's my choice?

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    Evening, (UK here)

    Something new has been happening lately –

    Today my work place went on a Team Day out, and I stayed behind, partly because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it anyway. I’m not a fan of huge social occasions, it leaves me drained, and I seek quiet to recharge throughout the day.

    Back to today – even though I chose not to go, I felt lonely during the day, I felt like I was missing out, and envious of people who would enjoy the day and can handle big groups of people.

    Why do I feel like that even when I’ve chosen not to go because I know I have no interest, or won’t enjoy the event? It’s happened a few times in recent months.


    Hi Anne,

    Normally I would say, do what makes you feel comfortable. But I’ve realized that sometimes you need to be uncomfortable and get out of your comfort zone. Like all other people, you too need some companionship. Can’t really say you won’t enjoy it, unless you try it. Maybe the next one, you’ll give it a go?

    Sometimes, we just need to go out with our work place to decompress and team build? I wouldn’t really know first hand, since I’ve never really worked for a huge company that does those team building type activities.

    Do you have any confidants at your workplace? Maybe you can kind hang out with them during the work event? I dunno sometimes it helps to have someone you trust around you when you are stepping outside of your comfort zone, they can be a buffer for you.

    In any case, I hope you find your answers and feel some peace too. 🙂



    Hi Anne,

    I emphasize completely and I’ve been there before. It feels lonely and sad to know that others are having fun, even though you’ve explicitly chosen not to join in.

    Here’s what I’ve learned.

    Human beings have an innate need to want to connect and be around other people. If that need isn’t satisfied, loneliness and despair settle in. Now, we sometimes believe that life will present us with people and social opportunities that will fulfill that need – school, work, family, friends etc. When we don’t want to participate and can’t make a connection with these social spheres, we wonder, “Hey, what the hell is wrong with me? Why don’t I want to play with these people? If I’m so lonely, shouldn’t being with these people be fun and shouldn’t I want to go out and play?”

    Time and time again we put on a facade and try to fit it in just to feel that connection, to feel accepted, to want to be invited. And it’s when you put on that mask, that facade, it’s when you try to fit in that you’re mind and body rebel against you. They say, “No! We’ve had enough. It’s exhausting doing these things and being around these people!”

    And it’s true – forcing yourself to be with people you don’t connect with or doing things you don’t really enjoy doing is exhausting! You can try it for a while, but eventually, you just start saying no.

    And you know what? That’s perfectly okay to try and connect, but if you don’t it simply means that you haven’t found your social sphere yet.

    Before, I used to go to parties and attend events that we’re painfully taxing on my psyche. They were the only groups and opportunities that we’re within arms reach and I thought, “Okay, I’ll just fit in here, I guess. It’s the closest and easiest one to me, so I’ll just take what I’m getting.”

    And boy was it exhausting. Putting on that mask. Trying to talk like they talk. Trying to be interested in the things they were interested in. Eventually, I had enough.

    And that’s when the loneliness, envy, and regret settled in, but I knew I didn’t want to be with these people.

    So then I took a different spin – rather than just taking advantage of social opportunities that were in front of me, what if I branched out and looked beyond my local circles (school, work, family, and friends).

    Depending on where you live, the world offers so many different kind of social groups that you may have never considered connecting with – volunteer groups, clubs, committees, each one catering to a particular set of interest and attracting like minded people.

    If you look beyond your local sphere, push yourself out of your comfort zone to try and connect with the bigger world around you, eventually you’ll find a social group where you feel so at ease that you don’t have to be anything than yourself and be more willing to say “Yes! I’m in!”

    It will take some time to try and find the right fit, but there’s no pressure to commit right away.

    And when you do find that group and next time your work colleagues invite you out to participate in an activity or event that’s not to your liking you’ll say, “Sorry guys, my calendar is full tonight. I’m meeting up with…..”

    No loneliness. No feeling like you’re missing out. No envy. You’ll just have bigger fish to fry. 😉


    Hi Anne
    I dont have any answers, but I also have a deep seated need to be included. I hate to be left out.
    There are unrealistic times that I am not invited join a 4 ball playing golf, that i feel devastated but I really dont even want to play golf!
    As I say, no answers except to say that I think its an intrinsic need to belong, to feel loved and needed.
    Perhaps we need to be more honest with ourselves about what we DONT want to do, and accept that, than worry about the others that are partaking.

    Alexey Sunly

    It sounds like you suffer from Anxiety, Anne. Please, check out my post here titled OVERCOME YOUR DEMONS. If you are willing to learn from it and apply all of that, you will get better very soon and fast to enjoy such social occasions in the future! 🙂

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 9 months ago by Alexey Sunly.
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