One particular question was asked during a recent workshop and the number of head nods and "Yes!" responses that abounded in the room let me know people were DYING to talk about this… the query:
"How do you deal with 'friends' who can't seem to be happy for you?"
Maybe you gave a head-nod and a "Yes!" at your screen just now.
Here are some examples participants gave of when these 'friends' revealed their begrudging colors:
: You are giddy-style happy in your relationship - be it dating, engaged or married
: You take fun trips
: You earn a promotion or land a big career boost
: You moved into a nice pad or got a drool-worthy new car
: You get lots of positive feedback/attention from others (be it a Facebook post or an outfit you wear out).
: You commit to a new healthy lifestyle and obtain body karate status (maybe after the birth of a child or just because you wanted to shed some pounds). Physique envy.
: You inherit money from a loved one who passed or happened to marry into funds
: You raise a good set of kids who excel in whatever they put their minds to (AND they have manners)
: Your significant other receives a major step-up in salary and encourages you to quit a 9-5 job to pursue your passions (basically, they support you while you develop your speciality)
: You are pursued in the dating field more than they are
: You were selected for a certain group, team or program and they weren't
While I could give a workshop style run-down of this matter, I'll give you a befitting blog briefing: We're talking about jealousy, people. Plain, and not-so simple.
The interesting thing about jealousy is, it likes to hide…but it sucks at hiding. Just like the cousins who would hide behind your granny's living room curtains - whispering, giggling, and moving with their very neon sneakers, jealously is also not-so talented in the camouflage department.
Usually it exposes itself through passive aggressive comments, down-playing or downright ignoring major stepping stones in your life, glare episodes or behind-the-scenes bitter talk. Everyone has dealt (or is even currently dealing with) this kind of corrosive behavior. It grinds away at the friendship stone till anything of solid substance is now dust in the wind.
You know the saying, "You find out who you're real friends are when life gets low?" Well, actually, you can find out that same valuable information when life hits its peaks. Some people can't stand the rain, others apparently snub the sun.
Here are 3 ways to analyze and amend a jealous friendship gap:
1. Study Your Material: What life "homework" could this friend be stepping into the professor role for you to master? Perhaps you could use some more experience in releasing your people pleasing tendencies. Maybe you need to embody and own your self-worth more, and the hater vibe will really strengthen those self-love muscles. It could be a case of you needed some training in the acceptance arena. Acknowledge all your potential learning curves. If you ignore them, they'll just show up later.
2. Craft the Carefrontation: Forget confrontation, that's an old and busted model in the realm of solution seeking. One-on-one (not at the next friend gathering) ask your "friend" if something specific is bothering them. You never know if they will break down and confess that things are falling apart for them and they're hanging by the seams - this supreme unhappiness being the root of their non-supportive behavior. Most likely though, you will receive the, "No, everything's fine. Why do you ask?" line. This is when your carefrontation skills need to embody some serious compassion. Open up and be heart-sleeve honest about how you've perceived certain behaviors or reactions from them. Note saying how you've "perceived" their actions is key. Otherwise you make stiff allegations where a viable explanation might stand. (For instance, you announced your engagement on the anniversary of your friend's father's passing and you just didn't know it. The lack of genuine excitement, or "Seriously?" vibe on that particular day is thus explained). Compassionate and clear communication is THE prerequisite for results.
3. Release the Reigns: As much as you'd love to guide your friend into co-existing happiness harmony, the truth is they only get there if they want to go there. As off as it sounds, some people are not in a stage in their development where they can actively participate in a joyous manner for others. Their stage might solely consist of the drinking buddy/ vent session partner/ or other join the misery party escapades. They simply do not have the tools to accompany you into your new growth grounds. It would be like toting a 3rd grader to prom. The 3rd grader thinks dances are stupid, hates dressing up, and thinks the opposite sex is gross. You on the other hand, don't exactly want to get down to the Harlem Shake with the Cheeto-fingered Kool-Aid king who wore Spiderman shoes and has to be home by 7 PM.
The reason, season, and lifetime terms apply 100% here. Whatever friend (or friends) you have to release, you will no doubt attract other more like-minded personas to balance your friend circle in the future. When you allow people to grow at their own rate, they will ultimately (even if only subconsciously) thank you for it.
Dig this post, you'll also feel: "The Ex Factor".