Jealousy is Ruining My Friendship

By | December 13th, 2016 | 2 comments

resentment of young girl in blueDear Rachel,
I know this girl, “Hunter,” who gets absolutely everything I want. Not just material things, but the way people treat her and the boys she has dated and how beautiful and skinny she is. She is a friend of mine, and we share everything with each other, but it is becoming harder and harder for me to be around her without being insanely jealous. Should I break off the friendship? What can I do to not become jealous?
–Jackie, 15

Dear Jackie,

I give you a lot of credit for owning your jealousy. That’s not easy. We live in a world where most people pretend they’re not jealous. But we all feel it at some point, and it’s totally normal and human.

And as you’re clearly finding out, jealousy can also seriously mess up your relationships. It feeds on your silence. The more you sit there and hold back your feelings, the more resentful you’ll be. And let’s face it, it can make you feel ugly inside as these feelings become bigger.

Speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that we are most jealous of others when we’re least happy with ourselves. Paying attention to your friend’s irritating ability to get everything she wants is really a distraction from whatever’s going on for you. Why not think about how you’re feeling and what you might want – and then get moving on a plan to make it happen? I’m thinking you’d be happier in the long run if you were focusing on yourself, not her.

I also think that we all have someone in our lives who’s “that girl” – the one who has things we want but don’t: maybe it’s looks, or being sexy, or good grades, or nice stuff. It can feel like she’s literally been placed on earth to drive us insane. Believe me, I get that. (And it doesn’t stop, either; as you get older, there will be that woman who has the great job, lots of cash, the hot spouse, the kids…it goes on and on).

So you have to decide whether or not you can keep someone like that in your life. It’s okay if you can’t. You certainly have my permission for a friend divorce. Just own that it’s mostly about your own issues. Which, PS, we all have at times. No shame in this game.

Your other choice is to level with her and tell her how you feel. I write about doing that in my first book, Odd Girl Out, and it literally saved my friendship. It turned out that my friend was jealous of me, too. By putting it out there, the jealousy had less power over both of us.

2 Responses to “Jealousy is Ruining My Friendship”

  • Great distinction, Peggy — I hadn’t thought about how she might be acting… Thanks for this extra advice!

  • Peggy says:

    Just a little plug for the “owning up” option here. Both parts. Own up about what’s going on for you (and acknowledging that you feel jealous is a huge part of that) and then let your friend know how you are feeling. More often than not, I find that when you do, you’ll get “you’re jealous of ME? But you’re the one…”Truth is, we aren’t particularly good at recognizing ourselves – seeing ourselves as we really are. I’ll bet you have more going on than you think. (You’re insightful, for one thing, and candid. That’s rare).

    Consider whether the issue is what she has (the friends, the attention) or how she acts. A friend once gave me a little framed poster that said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” I hated her for it, (and it was a really goofy little poster) but it was a good wake-up call, and once I got over the initial “bbut I don’t need this … you’re just … jealous…” I realized that I had lost track of what mattered, and she missed me. I’m really grateful to her now for speaking up. Good luck.

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