It’s so important to have friends, especially when you’re a teenager as growing up the focus naturally becomes more and more towards friends than family. The older you get the more you hang out with peers, spending time with them every day at school and dealing with the same challenges and issues, learning more about the person you are. Friends can help you learn certain things about yourself, helping you reflect back on your actions. So it’s great to have friends by your side along the challenging path of being a teenager. But, sometimes there can be jealousy, especially among girls and also a lot of comparison.
“A situation that comes to me when I think about jealousy in friendships is a friend of mine I met in another country. Now, we mostly have contact online on social media, so it’s more of a long-distance friendship. Reflecting back what I can see is that the jealousy came in when she started to compare herself to me .. the way I treated myself and others, the way we both looked, friendships that I had with other people, the relationship with my boyfriend and that I won’t sacrifice myself so that other people will start liking me more. This had a huge impact on our relationship.
It felt suffocating and very demanding, but showed there was a need on both sides. The friendship became co-dependent.
I started noticing that I would tell her less of the fun stuff in my life so she didn’t react and let jealousy in which then created a big gap between us. Because she didn’t know much about me anymore our friendship didn’t feel as deep as it had been at the beginning.
I started holding back, belittling myself, trying to please her as much as I could so that there wouldn’t be any fight and issue, resulting that I stopped telling her updates about my life. I did everything to avoid a confrontation.
For me it was important to keep this friendship because of our international history, the need that someone is there who understands the situation, because I couldn’t share my experiences and feelings that I had in the past with people from the country I currently live in. I felt very locked up and had to keep rethinking my actions before carrying them out to not make her mad and upset. Manipulation also had a great role in all this as you can tell.”
You might wonder what has this got to do with friendship?
Well, actually nothing, but it’s what happens everyday everywhere.
What have I learned from this relationship about myself? Trusting my instinct, immediately when I had felt that something was wrong, I should’ve spoken up. It is not about pleasing others but about being honest and sometimes you need to confront what’s going on. I’ve gained more of an understanding about where the jealousy is coming from and not going into sympathy or (really important) not taking it personally. Could it be that the friend who is jealous actually finds you inspiring but can’t and doesn’t know how to express it? How would it be if in our friendships we appreciated each other more, what we like about the other person, and that we see each other much more as an inspiration. That would be completely different.