Gambler Problems: My Friends Don’t Invite Me to Hang Out Anymore

“Dear Annie: I have not seen this problem discussed in your column and would really like your advice on this situation, as it’s damaged a 50-year friendship. My buddy Roger has become addicted to gambling. He bets on every sport and is consumed with following his bets on his cellphone. He is always looking down at his phone at any social gathering. Roger even had his phone in his face while his son was giving a heartwarming speech during his other son’s wedding. Everyone was standing, but Roger was seated with his phone in his hand, with the screen light shining in his face. Roger always appears to be lost in his thoughts and unaware of anything else around him. It is insulting. A mutual friend suggested an intervention years ago to try to help Roger. I worried that it could drive a wedge between us.”

Dear Annie | Daily Republic (2018)

The above excerpt from a letter to advice columnist Annie Lane has become a common sentiment since the 2018 removal of the federal ban on sports betting and following proliferation of online gambling. We’re sharing it here today for habitual gamblers who have recently looked in the proverbial mirror to state; “My friends don’t invite me to hang out anymore”.

As an habitual casino gamer and/or sports bettor who is being left out of gatherings, hangouts, movie nights, and special events, your initial response may be to blame it on the group. They are the ones who must have changed. The next defensive mechanism is to insist that you no longer need them. Unfortunately you’re likely wrong on both accounts, especially the latter. Research consistently shows that social connections are extremely important to our mental health and wellbeing.

What you’re experiencing is actually one of the more common gambler problems, and it can be rectified. Read ahead to learn more about what may be causing your. friends to leave you out of late, followed by an important call to action.

How Your Online Gambling Habit Can Make Your Friends Not Want to Spend Time With You Anymore

Gambling Makes You Irritable

Anger, irritability, and moodiness are among the mental states typically associated with someone who has a problematic relationship with gambling. It’s not just about a failed bet and being temporarily upset about lost money. Your friends can sympathize with that part. Instead, downward swinging moods generally occur for compulsive gamblers who are not engaged in the activity for a period of time, even just a few short hours. This counts the time you would be spending with your friends, and is happening due to the dopamine crash you’re experiencing. The chemical reaction going on in your mind-body results in behavior that can be off-putting to friends and may be why they don’t invite you to hang out anymore. View more on gambling anger and mood swings.

Gambling Makes You Lose Interest in Their Interests

In the beginning, your crew may have engaged in casino gaming and sports betting with you. But if as time progressed they returned to participate in other activities, while you stayed focused on gambling, it may be concluded that you have a problem.

Compulsive gamblers become hyper-focused on the activity. It leaves little room for interests in other activities that were once enjoyed with friends, including those they once selflessly joined-in on because their friends were passionate about them. Consequently, these friends stop extending invitations to outings, be it a pickup game of basketball or gallery opening for an art exhibit.

Gambling Makes You Lose Interest in Their Wellbeing

It’s one thing to lose interest in activities that were once shared together. However, when you lose interest in what’s happening with your friends’ lives, including good things (birth of a child, etc.) along with their own challenges and struggles, it becomes hurtful and insulting. If you’re too focused on online gambling to look up and notice (and make mention) of what’s happening in the lives of your friends, they won’t stick around.

Gambling Makes You Less Interesting

When someone becomes defined solely by one thing, they become less interesting to their social circle. It can happen to people who get compulsive about a wide variety of “interests”, even generally healthy ones. For instance, over-enthusiastic fitness buffs may bore friends with incessant talk about workout routines, protein supplements, ongoings at the gym, and relentless prodding to join a fitness class with them. Similarly, compulsive sports bettors find it difficult to talk about anything other than recent outcomes, upcoming games, point spreads, parlays, prop bets, and refer-a-friend promos. As a result, they (you) get left out by the gang on hangouts and other shindigs.

What You Can Do About It

Confide in Them, if You’re Comfortable Doing So

Problem gamblers often struggle with who they should tell so you’re not alone in this concern. However, those who confide are often surprised to find support from friends and loved ones. It’s also a service to them, because it helps explain your recent behavior and lack of interest in their lives.

If you think that you may have a problematic relationship with gambling and are ready to confide in your friends, follow this guide for how to come forward.

Connect to a Problem Gambling Counselor

It’s time to get help for this social component of gambler problems and problem gambling as a whole. Kindbridge offers counseling for gambling disorder in a confidential and welcoming online environment. We provide one-on-one sessions, but also have group options available. Our online support groups for families of gambling addicts can be appropriate for close friends may want to get involved in your treatment with you. Reach out via the contacts provided below to discuss options with a Kindbridge care coordinator.

Get Your Friendships (and Life) Back on Track

CALL +1 (877) 426-4258


Email [email protected]

Gambler Problems