When your friends are successful

Best friends – we share life through thick and thin. But what happens when your friend has a major success? Do you feel proud, happy for them… jealous? Even when we love our friends, insidious feelings of unfairness or envy can start creeping in. There are steps you can take so that situational jealousy does not grow into resentment or bitterness.

* Acknowledge your envy
Trying to suppress unwanted thoughts rarely works. In fact, thought suppression can actually increase the frequency of undesired or negative thoughts (Siddique, H.I., Individual Differences in Thought Suppression, 2004). Instead, let yourself feel the feelings.

*Jealousy is a normal emotion.
Feeling jealous does not mean that you’re a terrible friend, it means you are human.

*Self-Care
Jealousy can also be a stress response. Make sure that you’re not exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious. The self-care foundations of nutrition, sleep, and exercise are more important than ever when you have strong feelings. Negative feelings can be significantly exacerbated when you are not in a good place, physically or emotionally.

*It’s not binary
Success is not a limited resource. Just because your friend has a major success, does not mean you will not. In fact, social psychology research shows that when we have friends who have achieved a major success through their efforts, it can be motivating and inspiring for those around them to work on their own endeavors.

*Remember the backstory
No one is on the same timeline.As a friend, you, more than others, know the struggles and challenges they had to overcome to achieve success. What you can learn from them can be valuable in your own endeavors.

*Recognize and honor your vulnerability
Acknowledge that you fear you will be left behind. Many friendships do blossom under times of travail, but that does not mean that they will not continue to grow in good times. Also read What Is Abandonment Anxiety.

*A win for all
What does your friend’s success mean for your community, friend group, the greater good? Chances are, if you are close friends you share similar values and goals. Instead of feeling competitive, realize that you are on the same side. Their achievement moves everyone forward.

*Embrace change
Change involves not just letting go of how things used to be, but looking for new things to build upon together. Your friend may not have the same schedule to just hang out, but you can seek out new ways to remain close. What are some ways that fit for both of you?

*Communicate your needs
If you miss them, let them know. If you are lasting friends, genuineness is already part of the relationship. Not having a dialogue while you have jealous feelings simmering will eventually get in the way of closeness.

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