Football season is hard for me, as I'm not just not a big sports fan. I'm sure it's a similar feeling to when people discuss politics at work, and you might not be so knowledgable on the topic or care to discuss others' opinions for lack of interest.
Or, say you're out with a bunch of shopaholic friends during sale season and all you want to do is sit down somewhere for a bite while they jabber away about name brands.
Whatever the circumstance, it's always tough to feel like the odd one out. It is scary, can feel a bit embarrassing, and could lead to a lower sense of self-esteem if you experience it for an extended period of time.
There a couple of ways to not feel like a loser when you are with a group of people who all seem to be on the same page. Next time you start to feel stupid, try these out:
1. Smile and nod
Bring out your inner actor and pretend like you are involved in the conversation. If everyone looks serious, make your best I-am-paying-attention face. If someone is gesticulating passionately, look like you’re interested. Watch how your friends are reacting and play off of them.
Before you know it, someone will change the subject.
2. Change the subject
So, you’re feeling uncomfortable, eh? Say everyone is discussing cricket and you don’t know cricket that well. When your friend is talking about the match last night and you practically want to kill yourself because you know nothing about it, change the subject as soon as you can.
Before you know it, conversation will turn to a topic you really quite enjoy!
3. Express your disinterest
“Guys, this is really interesting... well, not really. Can we please talk about something else? Next round is on me” You know this group of people, so as long as you’re respectful of their interests an opinions, they’ll likely understand that you’d rather speak about something to which everyone can contribute.
No one likes to feel left out, so people will likely accommodate once they realize they are making someone feel left out.
4. Google skim
Excuse yourself to run to the bathroom. While there, use your smartphone and skim the top few links. This will give you ample information to stay involved in the conversation for the next 15 minutes or so.
And then, slowly lead the conversation and change it.
5. Find your other half
Chances are, if you are feeling like the odd one out, there is someone else who is feeling the same way. If you can spot that someone, make an excuse, leave the group with that person and have a brilliant time.
The key is to remember that you’re the only one who can allow someone else to make you feel lesser than you are.
The moment you take an action — that is, start being in control — is the moment you will begin to feel better about yourself and stop feeling like you don’t belong. As with many things, this is just a state of mind.