Mar 4 • 5M

Kids Ask Dr. Friendtastic - Ep. 8, Blake, age 11: Excluded by friends

On the edge of a friendship group?

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Kids Ask Dr. Friendtastic is a short podcast for kids about making and keeping friends. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, also known as Dr. Friendtastic, is an author and clinical psychologist based in Princeton, NJ, who answers questions from kids about common friendship challenges. Episodes are 5 minutes or less. To submit a question, go to the podcast page on
Episode details

(Would you rather read? A TRANSCRIPT of the audio recording is at the bottom of this post.)

Blake’s question is about what to do when friends get together without him. This event could mean nothing at all, or it could be a sign of problems in his friendships. Listen to hear options for handling it.

Scroll down for some discussion questions you can share with your child plus how to submit your child’s question.

Kids Ask Dr. Friendtastic is available wherever you get your podcasts. My subscribers on Open Door For Parents get the podcast episodes first, on Saturday mornings (Eastern US time), along with discussion questions and a transcript.

Does YOUR KID have a question about friendship?

Adults, please use your smartphone's memo function or an audio app to record your child's question. Hold the phone close to your child's mouth to make sure the recording is clear. Have your child state:

1) their FIRST NAME,

2) their AGE, and

3) a BRIEF QUESTION or concern about friendship. (Please do not include any friends' names.)

Email the audio file to I’ll answer as many questions as I can. (Obviously, this is not psychotherapy, and it’s not for emergency situations.)

Warm wishes,

Think About It Questions to discuss with your child

Have you ever felt left out of your group of friends? What happened? How did you handle it?

What are some unhurtful reasons why kids might get together with some of their friends in a group but not all of them?

Excluding just one kid from a group get-together is likely to hurt that kid’s feelings. If you like that kid, what are some ways you could help that kid feel less hurt? If you don’t like that kid, what are some kinder ways to handle that?

Why do you think it’s not a good idea to yell at your friends if they get together without you?

What are some fun ideas of things you could invite a group of friends to do with you?



Welcome! I’m Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, also known as Dr. Friendtastic. I’m an author and clinical psychologist based in Princeton, NJ.

Let’s listen to today’s question.

Hi, Dr. Friendtastic. My name is Blake, and I'm 11 years old. My question about friendship is: When your group of friends doesn't invite include you in something, what should you do?

Hi, Blake, thanks for sending in your question. Knowing that your friends got together without you could make anyone feel hurt and angry. It definitely doesn’t feel good to be left out!

I have a question for you: How do your friends treat you when you’re together? That’s a very important thing to think about to help you figure out what their getting together without you might mean.

If your friends seem happy to see you, and they’re usually kind to you, then the fact that they got together without you might mean absolutely nothing. 

Can you think of some unhurtful reasons why they might have done this? Maybe it was a last-minute thing. Maybe they live close together and just popped over, or they were together at some event and just continued hanging out afterward. Maybe they had to get together for a school project. Maybe they like to do a certain activity or have a certain interest that you don’t share, and they just got together to do that. Maybe they didn’t realize you would want to be included in what they were doing.

All of these scenarios would mean that the get-together has nothing to do with how they feel about you. In that case, you could either say, “Wow, that sounds fun!” and leave it at that, or “Wow, that sounds fun! Next time, please invite me. I’d love to do that with you!”

Another possibility is that your friends like you, but some of your friends are closer to each other than they are to you. It may be that they see you more on the edge of the friendship group, rather than in the center. That happens. Maybe you’re fairly new to this group or the other kids might have more in common. 

You can’t do anything to make their friendships less close. But you might be able to build up your closeness with them and become more of a central part of the group. Try inviting the whole group to do something fun with you. Being the kid who has good ideas of fun things to do can be a great role to have.

You could also decide just to accept that you’re friends with these kids but not close friends. That’s fine. You can enjoy their company when you’re together but maybe look elsewhere for close friendship.

The other possibility, which is probably the one you’re worried about, is that getting together without you might mean they’re mad at you, or they don’t like you as much anymore. If that’s the case, you’d probably see signs of trouble in the friendships when you’re together. It might be worth apologizing–if you know what’s wrong–or talking with one person to try to understand the problem. You could say, “I’ve noticed we haven’t been hanging out much lately. What’s going on?”

Whatever the reason for them leaving you out, the one thing you don’t want to do is yell at your friends for getting together without you. Our friends are free to get together with whoever they want, and yelling at them definitely won’t make them want to hang out more with you. 

This has been Kids Ask Dr. Friendtastic. If you have a question about making and keeping friends that you’d like me to answer, go to, and click on the podcast tab to see how to submit your question.