How to deal with jealousy in friendships

Hi guys!

Let’s talk about jealousy. I hate this feeling. In a way, it’s almost worse than being sad or upset because it’s like you’re doing it to yourself and yet you can’t stop it from coming on. It’s frustrating.

But you know what? We ALL experience it. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it can teeter into unhealthy territory. But it IS normal. You aren’t going to completely rid yourself of jealousy. That’s like asking yourself to stop being human. Not gonna happen!

When it comes to jealousy, I think it’s important to:

A) acknowledge it exists and

B) learn how to work through it.

I’ve noticed that in friendships, jealousies can arise in such weird ways. It’s like when we see our friend hanging out with someone new and feel that sting of betrayal. Even though like OF COURSE IT’S NOT BETRAYAL! Your friend can have other friends! But jealousy isn’t very level-headed. Jealousy just reacts. Jealousy just feels.

There are also some friendships where a certain level of competition exists. It’s left unsaid, of course. No one actually admits to it. I mean, Facebook “humble brags” anyone?

When you see your high school friend get a job promotion, get engaged, buy a new house, or lose a bunch of weight – you’re supposed to feel happy for them, but somehow you feel like you’re in a competition with them to be better. Why? I don’t think we want to feel this way, we just do. So the next question is…how do we combat it?

Jealousy in itself is not necessarily a problem. It becomes a problem when it causes you to act out or when you sit and wallow in it. Try to think of jealousy like a balloon floating by. You can see it. There’s no denying it’s right there. But it’s not permanent. It’s okay to say, “Yep, it’s here right now. I’m feeling jealous.” But then allow it to continue floating on. Don’t make it your entire focus. Let it go.

Another thing you can do and…hear me out, okay? You can talk about it with your friend. Mhm. Sounds scary! But sometimes when we speak about the stuff that is bothering us, we take away some of its power. You might be surprised. If you can talk about your feelings, as irrational and ridiculous as they might be, it can help you work through them. It might even bring you closer to your friend because it’s a level of intimacy and honesty!

I have a story for you. Years ago when I was just getting my foot in the group fitness door, I was auditioning at a bunch of gyms trying to secure a job as a Pilates instructor. I remember going through my very first audition at Equinox and praying every night that I would get hired. It was my dream. They only took the best in the industry. I waited weeks for an answer. Then I found out through a short email that I had been rejected. They said I wasn’t ready.

Meanwhile, my younger sister was auditioning at another top level gym and found out that she got the job. I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I HATED feeling jealous of her. How come I couldn’t be happy for my sister? I love her so much, would never want her to not achieve her dreams, yet – I couldn’t genuinely be proud of her.

You see, this story shows that jealously comes from a place of feeling less than. And you know what? “Less than” is simply a state of mind. I didn’t not feel whole, so I could not give from my empty heart.

So how did I fix my state of mind? I talked it out. I talked to Sam and he set me straight. He told me I sounded silly and that if I didn’t want to feel jealous I should work harder and ace the Equinox audition next year. So that’s exactly what I did. When I started to focus my energy on getting better, my emptiness filled with hope and happiness. And then, I was no longer jealous of my little sister. I now had a full heart to pour genuine love from.

And guess what, I also ended up telling her I was jealous of her and we laughed it out. She thought it was the most ridiculous yet flattering thing. See – talking helps. It’s healing. You just gotta be truthful.

Look, jealousy is exhausting. But know that it IS normal. The trick is not letting it consume us. We need to acknowledge it and quickly get over it!

How do you deal with jealousy? Have you had any friendships where jealousy was a big issue?

 

  • Thank you for sharing this. Going into 2018 I definitely am healing from feeling inadequate. I live in an apartment with my husband and I’m unemployed, while two of my married friends have houses. I definitely am NOT ready for a house but for some reason I feel less than without one. I was supposed to be married the same year as those two friends but had to post pone our wedding. I was even the first one to be engaged! I finally got married this year but they have two years of marriage under their belts and I for some reason feel like I’m not as good as them. The thing is Friend #1 only got engaged because she was jealous that I got engaged first and she got married before me??? It definitely put me in a sour spot especially since she kept me at arms length for the entirety of the new phase in her life. Weddings and engagements definitely bring out who your real friends are. Some people are only your friend until you achieve a level of success they want. They don’t want whats best for you in the long run and that’s been the hardest lesson to learn! But it still makes me question myself. Am I good enough? Am I worthy of friendship? I was always the friend happy for my friends no matter what but my friends turned out to be the green eyed monsters…. so sometimes people being jealous of YOU is the friendship killer. I wish they talked to me. I’m really lonely and I know they no longer want anything to do with me since they have their own life now. It makes me feel inadequate and I in turn now feel jealous of them when it wasn’t like that for me before. Sigh. Hopefully, in this coming year I feel whole again without them. They have no interest in reaching out to me consistently. It’s time for a fresh start and a new heart!! xoxo

  • Chi Yan

    Thank you so much Cassey, this post couldn’t have come at a better time (including the previous post about friend break-ups). I am currently at the lowest point in my life thus far and I’m trying to deal with lots of self-compassion and self-improvement, basically getting out of failure. So inevitably, I’ve become so much more “self-centred” in a way that isn’t bad, since it’s necessary because I need to pick myself up. Inevitably, I’ve kinda grown apart from my best friend who’s gotten into her dream course at uni (medicine), and I admit that I did feel jealous when she told me about her good news. I just couldn’t feel genuinely happy and excited for her like I did in the past, you know? It felt so weird, I wanted to celebrate for her as well, but somehow I just couldn’t feel genuinely happy.

    It’s funny how fate works right, just when my best friend is at the highest point of her life, I am at the lowest and darkest point of my life, dealing with depressing and negative thoughts all the time. Maybe that’s how we grew apart, since she doesn’t bother asking about me like how she used to in the past… After my current hurdle is over (just one more week!), I hope to be talking to her about it. And I really hope that this friendship can be salvaged ;~; I don’t wanna deal with a friend break-up ):

  • Ashley K

    This is honestly coming at a point when I am dealing with a lot of jealousy. My longtime guy best friend has a girlfriend in the last year, and it has been hard to me to give up time with him, and accepting talking/hanging out less.

  • shriya sasank

    That was so honest, Cassey! Thank you for sharing that! Makes me feel like feeling jealous isn’t a shameful thing and that everybody, at some point, goes through the confusion too! I think jealousy also comes from a place of insecurity. And it’s actually thanks to you (through yout “Confidence” Ab workout) that I realized that there’s nothing better than being yourself, working on yourself and loving yourself! And once you do that, there’s so much to give to everybody because YOU are fulfilled! :D
    Lots of love to you, Cassey! Thank you for being such an inspiration! <3

    • Totally agree that it stems from insecurity! I try to change jealous I to inspiration instead. Although I’ll admit, it can be extra hard to when that person I admire is cocky and looks down on me like they’re on a pedestal. Then I’m really tempted to hate them–us humans, we all have short comings. :)