You can be annoyed at your friend. You can be angry at your friend. Hell, you can even hate your friend (for a brief moment or two). But, you can never be jealous of your friend. For, jealousy at root implies that you do not want the best for them, destroying the very foundation of friendship. Jealousy and friendship just do not go together.
How jealousy is different
Jealousy and friendship are like oil and water — they cannot mix, even though they may appear to. For, if you really are someone’s ‘friend’ then you should wish for them to do well all the time. Wish for them to be happy, and to have the best of everything. So, how can there be any room for jealousy?
And, there is a difference between jealousy and other emotions such as anger. Feelings like anger and annoyance tend to arise in relation to something specific. Perhaps, something your friend said or did. Being angry at something your friend said, for example, does not automatically undermine the very fabric of friendship in the way that jealousy does.
Jealousy, unlike situation specific emotional responses, is about the other person’s overall wellbeing. Just think about jealousy in relation to a friend’s success, which brings them happiness. At root, jealousy is saying that you would prefer if they did not have this happiness. How can that be part of a true friendship?
While it may be possible to be friends with a person with anger problems, you can never have a friendship with someone who has jealousy problems.
Jealousy in relationships
The jealousy that people find in relationships is not the same kind of envy that we see in friendships. Jealousy in relationships arises from insecurity about your partner’s affection for you. It arises because of doubt and a lack of trust (whether such doubt is reasonable or not).
Jealousy in relationships is rarely saying, “I don’t want them to be happy”. Jealousy in relationships is saying something more like, “I am afraid of losing my partner’s affection to another”. Of course, jealousy in relationships is no more desirable than jealousy in friendships, It’s just useful to see that it is a different thing.
Noticing jealousy and friendship
If you experience jealousy from your friends, then really ask yourself if they deserve your friendship. The quality of your relationships has a huge impact on your wellbeing, so why accept one that undermines it?
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.