It stings, regardless if you are 5, 10 or 35.
The difference, however, is that as we age, we usually become better at masking the hurt.
When my 5-year-old gets bumped from a playdate or birthday party, he’ll either react with the “It’s not fair” or become tearful or angry. We’ll chat and I can usually distract him with another activity, and all is right in his universe again.
You’ve got to love kids’ resilience.
When I’m excluded, on the other hand, I dig a bit deeper and begin wondering why. Is it because I’m not fun? Do they not like me? Or is it just one of those things – like when you’re the boss at work – you know your team is likely going to leave you out sometimes?
I over-analyze, so I tend to reach out to someone especially close to me, and they reassure me to brush it off and move on.
Still, being left out is painful. I’d like to tell my kids these moments go away after childhood, but as any adult will tell you, it will likely happen again.
Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes an oversight. I can’t control those moments or the people in their lives, but I can teach them to take those feelings and transfer them into being inclusive, welcoming and kind.
And … I need to remind myself to do the same.