The green-eyed friendster

What to do when you can’t keep jealousy at bay?

Everyone has a right to more than one friend, says our elder. Here’s how to be OK with it.

Dear EWC:

I don’t know what to feel or think right now. I feel a little bit of jealousy over my friend talking to someone else. I am aware it’s my insecurities that are making me feel this way, but it is quite a burden.

They started talking to a common friend we used to have but for a while now it has been just the two of us. Rationally it’s definitely okay to rekindle friendships but I couldn’t help but feel jealous. I started talking to this person as well out of jealousy. I was not mean and did not show any disrespect, but the fact that I talked to them out of jealousy made it feel disingenuous and insincere as I tried to keep the conversation going.

I caught myself at some point and stopped before it became too… Noticeable. What do I do to avoid feeling this way in the future?

M-Sharon replies:

It is not unusual to feel jealous when a friend starts talking to someone else. Of course, it goes back to being insecure. We all have insecurities.
I know you intellectually realize that everyone has the right to have more than one friend and talk to any number of friends. We know it is unfair to expect a friend to only communicate with ourselves. So, the question is how to get over the insecurity and
jealous feeling.

I think what you have to do is ask yourself if you were a friend, wouldn’t you want to talk to other friends. Then, ask yourself why you don’t take a chance and try talking to other acquaintances so you can find more than one person you feel comfortable talking to.

It, I think, comes down to the fear of being rejected. The key to reaching out and making friends is to stop thinking of yourself and to make an effort to ask about the other person and truly listen to him or her. You have to shift the focus from yourself to show a true interest in the other individual. Easier said than done.

I think you could go back to conversing with the other person and focus on getting to know that person, separate from your friend.
Often, it takes time to find a friend that you can confide in. In truth, there are many levels and degrees of friendship. Every relationship is a little different. There really is no room or need for jealousy.
I know it’s complicated. The way to stop being jealous is to open yourself to having more friends, so you are not dependent on just one.
That is true throughout life. It’s a learning experience.

I wish you the best.


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