Reframing “Friend Poaching”: How to Handle Feeling Left Out

Feeling Left Out? Worried a friend is trying to steal another one of your friends. Hopefully, by the end of this article, we can reframe the panic of “friend poaching” and instead see the potential positives of the situation. 

Why It’s Time to Reframe Friend Poaching as a Positive Thing

When I suggest that people introduce their friends to other friends, some tend to resist the idea because they fear “friend poaching.” 

However, in this article, we’ll delve into the concept of friend poaching, how to handle it, and why it’s actually beneficial to introduce friends to each other. 

READ MORE: Learn how (and Why!) it’s an amazing idea to introduce friends to one another. Read the full article here.

The truth is we all crave human connection, and as we go through different phases of life, we need to keep forging new relationships. 

It’s only natural that we end up befriending our friends’ friends since we often hear about them, trust our friends’ opinions, and attend events together. Plus, having a mutual friend makes it easier to start and navigate conversations


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The Negative Stigma of Friend Poaching

It’s understandable to feel like your friends are “friend poaching” when they start connecting without you. There’s a lot of pressure to hold onto your close friends, so it’s natural to panic when they start spending time with someone new. This can trigger feelings of betrayal, jealousy, and inadequacy, leading to loneliness and a loss of confidence.

Moreover, when your friends suddenly start hanging out without you, it can feel like your social circle has been divided. You might sense competition or hostility towards the new friend, leading to uncomfortable and stressful social situations. As a result, you might start avoiding social interactions altogether.

But, there are several alternative ways to approach this situation that you might want to consider.

PODCAST EPISODE! What is a Friend? and the 4 Types of Friends We All Have. Listen here.

Reframing Friend Poaching as a Positive Thing

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and prove that introducing friends to each other is actually a good thing. In fact, it can help to bring people together and promote a feeling of inclusiveness. When your friends get to know each other, it can foster a stronger sense of empathy and mutual understanding.

To begin with, it’s important to acknowledge that we all have different reasons for being friends with our friends. By utilizing the roots framework and Your People Framework to understand the mechanics of our friendships, we can see that certain things come into play. Our closest friends are multi-dimensional individuals (just like us!) and it’s improbable that we’ll have everything in common with them, including interests, life experiences, and beliefs. Therefore, they may seek out other individuals who share those things. But don’t take it personally – it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you!

When we consider your friendships with these two individuals, we can see that you have a unique connection with each of them. Each friendship has its own set of roots that differ from one another. 

You share shared experience roots with both friends, but they are different. You talk to Friend A about movies, running, and politics, while Friend B is the go-to person for fashion, soccer, and travel. 

You also have an emotional intimacy roots with both friends. Friend A understands the loss of a parent because they went through it too. You both grew up in the same hometown and went to high school together, so you have a lot of shared memories. Friend B, on the other hand, was there for you during your first job out of college and has been with you through thick and thin. They remember all the bad dates before you met your spouse.

You have story roots – Friend A is “the friend that always listens to you.” Friend B is “the friend who also pushes you to go after you goals.” 

PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to the Three Types of Roots here.

Your closest friends, your ride or die, your besties, or whatever you call them might have different interests and memories. Even though they are close to you, you go to them for different things and spend your time together doing different things. It’s possible that Friend A and Friend B have common interests like art, or they share experiences like being single or just love spending Saturdays at art galleries. They may have some connection points that you don’t necessarily share, especially if they recently went through wild breakups and have more free time than you because you’re in a relationship.

Why shouldn’t our friends have other people to hang out with besides us? It’s natural to make connections and introduce friends to new people. We should be happy for them and the variety of experiences they can have with different people. However, if you find it difficult and feel like your friends are “stealing” your other friends, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Take the time to talk to everyone involved and try to understand their perspectives. It’s important to approach your friends in a calm and respectful manner. A simple conversation can often clear up any misunderstandings and prevent the situation from getting worse.

The Importance of Introducing Friends to New People

Introducing new people to our friends can be a mutually beneficial experience that enriches our social lives and helps us connect with others. Not only does it broaden our social circles and open up new possibilities for networking, but it also fosters a sense of inclusivity by breaking down barriers between different groups of people. Moreover, introducing our friends to each other can strengthen our existing relationships by creating deeper bonds of empathy and understanding. Ultimately, this can lead to more rewarding and satisfying connections with those around us.


PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to the Three Types of Roots here.


The Benefits of “Friend Poaching” for Social Circles

When you introduce your friends to each other, it can really boost your friend groups and open up new possibilities for connections. Plus, it creates a feeling of inclusivity and vulnerability, which is important for building strong friendships. This kind of introduction is a key part of emotional intimacy roots, which you can learn more about right here!

How to Handle Friend Poaching Situations

How to approach your friends if you feel left out

If you find it difficult to understand why your friends enjoy spending time with each other, try asking them about it. But be careful not to come across as accusatory – approach the conversation with genuine curiosity and openness. You might discover that your friends share the same interests and experiences that make you care about them, or you might learn about new things that you didn’t know they were interested in. Understanding why your friends connect with each other can bring happiness and remind you of why you love them. It can also help you communicate better with them in the future.

Podcast Episode! Do you know the definition of loneliness? What about the 3 types of loneliness? In order to solve a problem we need to know what we are battling. Listen Here.

This situation presents an unusual challenge, different from the typical approach of cutting off a friend or distancing oneself. Instead, one can choose to embrace more relationships and work on understanding and celebrating them.

Friendships, like any other relationship, require open and honest communication to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. In the case of friend poaching, expressing one’s feelings in a calm and polite manner can prevent negative emotions from arising.

If someone accuses you of “Friend Poaching” 

If someone accuses you of “friend poaching” when all you were trying to do is make a new connection, it can be tricky. It’s important to show support for their other friendships and not make them feel like they have to choose between friends. Avoid giving the impression that you are the only friend they need or creating a hierarchy among their friends. 

If you do become friends with this new person, it’s helpful to talk to your existing friend about why you enjoy this new friendship and what you appreciate about your long-standing friendship. Let them know that both friendships are important to you and not in competition with each other. Communication is key to maintaining healthy friendships.

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Overcoming the Guilt: I Regret Introducing My Friends

In case you have read through this whole piece and are still thinking to yourself, “I wish I hadn’t introduced my friends to each other…now they’re hanging out without me,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel frustrated about this, but with time, you might find a silver lining or some kind of positive resolution.

It’s important to remember that friendships are not a possession. 

Friends are free to grow, change, and connect with whomever they choose. 


In summary, friend poaching can be viewed as a positive act of introducing two friends to each other and helping to create new connections. Introducing friends to each other can expand our social circles and provide opportunities for new relationships. By using frameworks like the Your People Framework and the Roots Framework, we can analyze and appreciate the benefits of these new connections instead of feeling like we’re losing out as a friend.

Profile Photo for Alex Alexander a blonde haired white woman smiling at the camera. She is in her 30s with her hair down and curled and wearing a grey sweater.

Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

Ask questions, leave comments, share critiques or give advice. All are welcome.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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