After a recent conversation with a girlfriend and a reflection on the collective reactions by me to some of my friends' successes and reactions by my friends to mine over the years I realised that once again, Morrissey had already sung about it. Damn that man, showing us the nasty little truths about life and disguising them with his catchy tunes and perfectly coiffed hair. He's like the sugar coating on a pill.
Its true though, as much as we would all like to deny it. I would be surprised if anyone can say that they have never done this and I can honestly tell you that I have been guilty of doing it. Not necessarily hating on a friends success but I have definitely felt that pang of envy, and thinking "why not me" upon seeing them gleefully clutching their new prize, trying on that incredible dress which cost about 2 weeks of my salary or hearing about the spectacular adventures that they are undertaking while trotting their way around the world, visiting places that are highest on my list of destinations.
Yes, from time to time my shoulder has been known to harbour a little green monster called jealousy.
A side problem of this occurs when we are all conscious of the way that we would react and become so nervous about causing our nearest and dearest to enter this world of friend envy that we play down our excitement or dance around telling them of our victories so as not to come across all in your face. Another girlfriend came across this when her trainer, also a friend had to break the news that she wouldn't be able to train my friend anymore due to her perseverence in training for her dream job finally paid off. She coyly told my friend the news, bracing herself for the disappointment that she had expected and was visibly relieved and genuinely surprised at my friends excited reaction.
It is so easy to think about how you need a holiday, new job, new partner, new shoes just as much as the other person and for a minute, your happiness for them and their triumph, however small, is lost in a wave of self importance and musing about how it affects it may adversely affect you. You find yourelf unable to express the appropriate excitement and congratulations to which they are due. You turn yourself into a temporary frenemy and kind of an asshole. I should know. I've done it. I remember regularly hating on my brother when we were kids, every time he got some thing new, had a play date or got to go somewhere without me. I would curse his blonde haired, blue eyed, round faced cuteness and plot his demise from my hiding place (normally under a table or desk of some kind).
Having just achieved my own measure of success in a new job I have been privy to a plethora of reactions. My absolute favourite reaction came from my forthright friend Barbie when I told him about my new job. He immediately sent me a text saying, "i'm so happy and proud of you, Cakes, I don't know anyone who deserves it more." When we spoke on the phone later he said "...its fucking awesome dude, you'll love it...seriously, I was looking for that kind of gig a while ago but they're so hard to find. You'll love it, its perfect for you. I mean, my job now is awesome (it really is)...but fuck, i'm kind of jealous. Bitch."
Love you Barbie.
So here's my advice for the day, when something awesome happens to one of your friends, don't rain on their parade, do the compulsory excited dance, squeal if the occasion calls for it.
They are your friend. They are happy. Therefore you should be happy. Its a simple equation.
But if the feeling is simply too much, if their holiday is simply too enviable, find a small table to hide under and plot their demise.