Non magnet objects cannot experience the magnetic field hence no force exerted on it by any magnets.
The magnets are repelled due to this magnetic field, but not the small object (as that is not a magnet). Hence the magnets ‘feel’ the force but not the small object.
I hope this explains it ok, sorry if it’s not great. I know this isn’t the full physics behind it, but this is the basic principle behind your observations I think.
If there’s any inaccuracies anyone feel free to correct me.