Tuesday 2 April 2019

Does your face fit? Playing the game to fit in, in real life and online.

Life as an adult can be tough, especially when it comes to making friends and meeting new people.

As a child I was always on the edge of the popular groups, I didn't really fit into any particular group.

I swam, played sports in school, did drama, was in the orchestra but I also liked to go out the school gates in years 4 & 5 (now 10 & 11) for a smoke at lunch time.

I wasn't academically clever, I wasn't  particularly talented in any activities. I didn't have the right clothes, hair, lifestyle that suited any group of friends. I didn't have a best friend throughout school either.

In the work place I sort of didn't fit very well either, I joined in with stuff but wasn't the first of even the 10th person people thought of when planning a night out.

As a mum in the school playground I was fairly absent as I worked full time, I was never really a fan of play groups either.

All my friends and I have quite a few that I met with regularly, talk to weekly online and value are random, few of them know each other, they all have other friends also they do different things with also. We've met through school, as neighbours, through our kids or online. All the relationships have been organic, just through chatting not through shared interests, although we do have similar thoughts and feelings on things. We also are people who have real lives and share their ups and their downs and are none judgemental and respectful of each others lives.

There have been a few who have fallen away though, because I no longer fit their criteria, or they've changed or heaven forbid I've felt too timid to say their behaviour towards me upsets me and when I've finally plucked up the courage to say something, they've just ghosted me.

As an expat I'm having similar issues, life was good in the UK and South Africa, but in Dubai it feels like I'm back in school as a student or a mum in the play ground and it's tough.

Dubai is about who you are seen with and where you are seen, even the women who don't work are networking like mad in the hope of finding that one person they can be 'seen' with who will have an influence of their lives.

Blogging can be similar. I've been writing my blog now for 10 years this October. I do the occasional sponsored post, but not enough to call myself a blogger. I've featured in Britmum round ups, was nominated for a few travel awards, had the odd post picked up by mumsnet and joined in with numerous parenting linkies over the years. but I've never been part of the online world as part of the 'in crowd' I'm sure I've been turned down for opportunities because my face just doesn't fit and I refuse to play the game.

But do I really care about any of this? Do I really care about fitting in? Do I want to be like everyone else? Do I feel hurt that I've made an effort week after week to leave comments on your blog after spending time reading your posts, that I struggle to have anything to say about, because we have nothing in common or your writing is bad, just to have my posts ignored by you, because my face doesn't fit in your world?

Not really really, but I do still get hurt, when I make a lot of effort, spend a lot of time and give so much of myself just to be ignored. Dismissed because my lifestyle can't benefit yours, because i get dropped from a coffee date at the last minute because someone better has offered you their precious time to see you.

I can play the game though, for me it's a survival technique. I can air kiss, ask about your lives, your partners job and your children's education, I think we call it small talk.

I don't like doing it, playing the game isn't for me. I feel uncomfortable, I feel out of place. I feel a fraud when I do so. it doesn't come naturally to me.

Does your face fit?


  1. I really think we are just too old for all this, don't you? I think the main reason why I don't get blog opportunities coming my way is because I don't make enough effort on my blog and I'm not prepared to just sit and comment on people's instagram posts that don't interest me or comment on blogs that I've got zero in common with. What's the point?!

    1. it's exactly how i feel, too old to play the game anymore.

  2. Do you think it's less about you fitting in and more about everyone having their own dramas and chaos and insecurities? We have a class dinner and a smaller group going on a distillery tour and a woman that I chat to if I see in the street said she was having anxiety about going on the tour. She is 14 years younger than me with a nose piercing, and I thought was very confident and self assured, and I was astounded that she (a) had anxiety and (b) was needing reassurance from me, who knows hardly anyone at the school (she's freinds with more of them - I didn't even know kids in the class and my daughters been at the school for 6 years now!). THere's a saying I use for dealing with teens 'If you're hearing it, it's because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it'. I think often in life that applies to us all.

    1. Hey Lydia,

      You wrote "THere's a saying I use for dealing with teens 'If you're hearing it, it's because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it'. I think often in life that applies to us all."

      How does that apply in life to us all? Invalidating people's experiences and disregarding them just doesn't make any sense. You're telling them how to feel? Your teens experience is not your own experience because you're not the same person.

      That's called gaslighting btw, and frankly a horrible example, and unsupportive comment.

      People have very different experiences of life and their experiences differ in regards to their environment. If anything, people having their own chaos, dramas and insecurities would make them try and reach out to other people and understand others' hardships better because they went through it themselves.

      Life as an expat in this (UAE) context has little to no similarities to your example of a distillery tour (??!?)

      You missed the point how different environment influences us and our friends, and types of people we're surrounded by.

      Your example has nothing to do at all with fitting in and making friends in a completely different country with completely different people, and very different social norms. Although I'm fairly sure you know your way around a distillery tour.

      Please don't ever use that 'If you're hearing it, it's because you're hearing it, not because I'm saying it' line ever again.

      Who are you to judge what other people are going through and say if their experiences are valid or not?


    2. no i don't think it's because everyone else has dramas and in all honestly i no longer think other people have more confidence/friends than me, sadly i find half the time people are playing the game to try and fit in rather than just being themselves