Woe Is Me! “I Hype My Friends But Secretly Resent Their Wins. Am I a Bad Person?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I wish the best for my friends. But I get envious when they do well in their lives because, I think, I work equally hard. Then, I end up feeling guilty for my envy, and for thinking that they are incompetent and don’t deserve the success. I find their excitement for all the little things they achieve annoying, even though I know I’d be excited too if I were in their place. I do hype them up for it anyway, but secretly, I just feel bad for myself. Does that make me a bad friend?”
— Bitter inside
SA: Success is a combination of hard work and luck. Their share of luck is having its moment right now, and yours will too someday. When that day comes I’m sure you’ll want your friends to be happy for you, and not think you’re incompetent or undeserving. Success is not finite; there’s enough to go around. But only if you keep at it, and don’t lose focus being mad at your friends’ share. Jealousy is a very normal feeling in friendships, though — but only as long as you understand and acknowledge the feeling, and not allow it to lead to any harsh conclusions or decisions. Focus on your work and it’ll reap you rewards sooner or later. Keep hyping your friends up, in the meantime, and have faith that you’ll taste success, too.
AB: I think the main thing is to try and separate your friends’ success from your own; it’s what’s colouring how you inwardly feel about their achievements. Just because they have done well doesn’t mean that you can’t/won’t/haven’t. It doesn’t necessarily make you a bad friend, though, since we all feel envy or jealousy. I know how much it rankles when someone close to you is going places while you feel like you’re still in the lurch. FOMO is a very real thing, and it applies to professional and academic successes as well. Don’t hold yourself to the same standard as your friends’: it’s a false equivalent to compare with. Instead, focus on making your own achievements, and separating them from your friends’ — and, in time, that resentment will turn into genuine joy!
HK: Envy is one of the most primitive human emotions, so welcome to the club! It takes a lot to even admit your jealousy — and the very fact that you feel guilty about feeling this way, points to the fact that you’re not a bad person. Celebrating your friends’ successes while feeling bad about your own situation are not mutually exclusive events, and most often do co-exist. Friendships are meant to uplift you, but harboring this sense of resentment towards them, and thinking of their success as borne out of incompetence is not too healthy in the long run. Look at their successes as motivation to do even better than what you’re already doing, and know that they’ll be cheering you in the sidelines when you do achieve your dreams! If this irksome feeling is getting very repetitive, though, maybe you could ask them for help and understand what they’re doing different? At the end of the day, you can all learn from each other’s experiences.
AS: Not at all! It’s equally possible that if the situation were flipped, some of your friends might feel similar pangs of jealousy towards you. And that is probably stemming from the points of comparison we draw not only with our friends, but even strangers. You seem to be doing all the right things already — sharing in their excitement while also confronting your own feelings of jealousy and guilt, and continuing to put in the work. But nothing will come from feeling bad for yourself — it will only fuel the resentment further. I suggest you don’t read into the jealous moments too much; it’s part and parcel of being human. But if you feel it getting out of hand, that might be a good point to remind yourself that your friends’ wins are in no way a reflection of your capabilities or incapabilities. You have your own successes, and will continue to achieve more as you go along — those deserve your attention and appreciation, too!