Woe Is Me! “I Get Jealous When My Friends Hang Out With Others. Will I End Up Friendless?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I currently have no best friends. Every time I become friends with someone, I want them all to myself, and I get jealous when they talk to someone else or have a good time with them. This friendship jealousy pattern has been following me all my life.”
— You (platonically) belong to me
DR: Sorry to break this to you, but yes, I think there’s a possibility you might end up friendless — or, your friends will have to walk on eggshells around you to ensure they don’t accidentally reveal anything about having (fun with) other friends around you. Even if it’s the latter, you can imagine how unfulfilling your friendships might be for everyone involved, right?
Look, I don’t think you’re a bad person for finding yourself falling into this pattern over and over again; most of us have certain hangups and insecurities in life that manifest in the form of harmful patterns with varying degrees of toxicity. But it’s possible to work on them, too — now that you’ve recognized a pattern, perhaps, the next step could be trying to understand what makes you react thus. Once you’re able to process that — through guidance from a therapist, plain old introspection, or both — you might just be able to break the pattern.
DD: I think it’s kind of natural to feel a little discomfort when you find the nature of a relationship with someone changing because of the introduction of a new person in their life. But at the same time, I think it’s important to remember that you are your own person, and it’s not necessary that someone new in your friend’s life is your replacement.
RN: I’d say, yes, you may end up friendless — but at the same time, I’m aware it’s not easy to simply stop being jealous because of it. One way of looking at your jealousy is your immense love for your friends — you enjoy their company so much that you feel possessive of it. You’re either seeing the best in them — you see the amazing things they have to offer, misdirecting such a wonderful feeling as jealously. Or, it’s possible that this whole thing is actually about you being self-centered, and has nothing to do with them. It’s now on you to figure out which one it is — why is it that you feel so possessive about your friends? Is it because you crave their company for who they are, or are you inherently afraid of your own loneliness? These are scary questions to ask of oneself but there comes a point when one must, and proceed to course-correct. But above all, for your own sake, please stop embarrassing yourself with the outward jealousy and deal with it privately — the neediness you’re exhibiting while wanting to keep your friends closer is actually super-backfiring and it’s not a good look.
I would say, if you have been a good friend in the past, give yourself enough credit and trust that you bring more than enough to the table in the friendship. Also, we’re all allowed to have multiple support systems, so maybe making peace with the fact that your friend is entitled to that as much as you are, might help.
AS: It is perhaps understandable to feel this way. However, we need to understand that jealousy is not good for our health, and it has immense potential to disturb our mental peace. Hence, maybe looking at the situation with a slightly different lens can help you navigate it better, and can help you curb the intense feelings of jealousy. Say, unless they are horrible people with irredeemable traits and histories, what is really stopping the friends of your friends from being your friends, too? Go ahead, try to get to know them, and forge new friendships. After all, the more the merrier!