I don’t know if they mean to do it or not, but men I’ve worked with have often left me out of the conversation. When I’ve attended networking events and found myself in a group conversation, if a few people left, and it dwindled down to just a handful of men and myself, I’d find that the nature of the conversation shifted. While I was, just moments before, an active participant of the conversation, I suddenly felt like a bystander, just sitting around, creepily watching.
It would be so infuriating because I didn’t have to be there. At one point, I was asked to be a part of that dialogue, and then, because of a few interesting changes in body language and actual language, I was made to feel like I was some weird clinger. Again, I don’t know if men do it intentionally or if they have no clue they do it. Maybe there is just a way that men naturally communicate with each other—unbeknownst to themselves—that isn’t very welcoming for their female peers. But even if that is the case, isn’t it our job as professionals and as adults to become aware of the ways we communicate, and how others interpret that? Isn’t it our responsibility to be conscientious about how we make others feel?
I always make a point to make anyone standing around feel a part of my conversation. If I truly need to have a private and one-on-one conversation, well, first off, I won’t have that in a public and professional setting, where others are bound to walk up. Or, if I have no choice, I’ll say to the outside party, “I’m so sorry, I need to have a brief private conversation with this person. Would you give us a minute?” I wouldn’t just block the person out, as men do to me often. Here are ways men leave women out of the conversation.
Physically blocking you out
When you stand in a group of men, the way they position themselves blocks you out of the conversation. This especially happen if they just have much larger statures than you, and are more broadly built. All they have to do is turn every so slightly, and you’re completely shut out of the group. And they don’t even notice, because you aren’t eye level with them.