Dear Annie: Whether on the playground or at the water fountain, being excluded from a social group stings

DEAR ANNIE: A small group of “friends” from work has been cultivated over the past two years. We are all between 40 and 50 years old. We bonded through events and after-work activities. At first, I was really happy with this development because I felt like I had finally found mine. However, over time, I realize that I am the bottom friend.

I was myself with this group and I invested a lot emotionally. On occasion two of them seem to post their dating (just the two of them) which I think is rude. As this is an unavoidable situation due to our work environment, it affects my mental health and affects my work. It’s like college all over again. How can I gracefully get rid of this clique emotionally and physically? I won’t be irrelevant, and I’m no one’s friend. I’m tired and I’m done. Thanks. — Not your third wheel

DEAR THIRD WHEEL: Whether on the playground or around the water fountain, being excluded from any social group stings. Before you completely withdraw from the clique, ask yourself if you’ve made a concerted effort to be active in the group. The two co-workers you mentioned spending time together one-on-one, is it because they deliberately nurtured their one-on-one friendship or because they don’t know if you’re interested in being a part of it as well ? Suggesting a group lunch or a weekend excursion, if appropriate, might be just what others need to see you stepping out of the background and diving into the foreground.

On the other hand, if this is truly immature and alienating behavior on the part of your co-workers, you better keep things cordial and professional with them at work, but pursue the more meaningful two-way friendships. that you have outside the office. .


DEAR ANNIE: I have a friend, and I suspect she is being abused by her boyfriend. The boyfriend has been in jail before, and honestly, I always had a bad feeling about him. I asked her if she was afraid of him or if he was hurting her. She said no, but she came to me once with a black eye and a few bruises. She said she fell.

I’m really at my wit’s end and I don’t know what to do. She comes to me crying when they argue or fight. I’ve seen him raise his hand to her before. Please tell me what to do. — Terrified

DEAR TERRIFIED: You should immediately contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. They will advise you on what to do and how to convince your friend to get the help she needs.

Ideally, your friend would contact them herself, but it seems like she doesn’t want to at this point. Good for you for keeping your friend safe.


“How can I forgive my cheating partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology – with her favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation – is available in paperback and ebook form. Visit for more information.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]


Harold B. McConnell