Jealousy in friendships is something that has been around I’m pretty sure since the dawn of time. While this jealousy applies to both men and women alike, women have an extra special way of going about it. We’re passive, we skirt around it, we give backhanded compliments that leave the other party feeling diminished about their accomplishment. We kind of suck.
Now, call me crazy, but I think a hint of jealousy in a friendship is actually okay. Don’t you want to be proud and kind of envious of your friend who is crazy talented at playing guitar and always knows the right thing to say in social situations? Meanwhile, she loves bragging about that one athletic record you set in high school and wishes she had those God-given eyebrows of yours. I think it’s a good thing to surround yourself with impressive individuals who can help expand your world. However, the jealousy can become poison when we forget that friendship is not a competition. Let’s all say that together one more time, because I think all ladies are guilty of this at one point or another.
Friendship is not a competition.
This is a hard pill for some of us to swallow – maybe that is because we didn’t even realize we were making it one in the first place. But I am here to tell you that just because she got a promotion at work doesn’t make you less of an employee and just because she got dumped by her boyfriend doesn’t make you a better girlfriend. Sure, sometimes it feels that way inside. You have been gunning for a promotion at work for 6 months and suddenly out of nowhere her company offers her one. It’s hard to remember that those two instances have nothing to do with one another, but it’s true. They really don’t. So don’t take it out on her.
Nothing feels worse than working hard toward a goal, achieving that goal, and then having a close friend diminish it due to her own jealousy. Of course at first you don’t realize that is the root of the issue, jealousy. At first you think that maybe you’re the one out of line. Maybe you’re too excited about this thing you’ve succeeded at, maybe I should keep it to myself, maybe it’s not as big of a deal as I thought it was. But then when you realize a friend is choosing cattiness over support, you also realize that maybe it’s time to scale back on that friendship. I don’t want a friend who can only be supportive of me on her terms.
Twenty-somethings, I believe, have it extra hard because never in our lives have we been at such different places from our friends. Some of us are at our dream jobs while others (most of us) are slumming it at low-level jobs, waiting to catch our big break. Some of us have found Mr. Right and are annoyingly in love while others are only interested in finding Mr. Right Now. Some of us are living at home and chilling with the parents on a Saturday night while others have moved into awesome apartments in the coolest parts of town.
Naturally, jealousy is an obvious outcome to any of these circumstances between friends. But I think it is important to understand that we are all on our own, different paths. We all will take different roads to get to our own personal definition of success – and that’s okay if someone seems to be going a bit faster than you. Instead of comparing where you are at in your journey to others, take a moment to enjoy the view from where you’re at today and compare it yesterday. Because really, that’s all that matters.
So are you the one dishing out the congratulations with a side of jealousy? Well, as my aunt would say, “Put on your big girl panties, have a glass of wine, and deal with it.” (I may have added in that wine part, but I’m sure she wouldn’t disagree.) One of the best parts about being a twenty-something is growing up and learning how to deal with shit like adults do. Her success is not your failure, and vice versa. Remember that, and I promise you life and friendships will become a little bit easier and a whole lot more enjoyable.