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?