When I was a kid, my best friend and I used to joke around and say that no one is allowed to consider either of us their best friend. It’s definitely one of those “joke but no joke” conversations where we laugh to get rid of the fear around expanding our circle of friends.
As we grew into adulthood, we both began to build friendships with other people of varying degrees of intimacy. We have learned to respect the fact that we have friends that go beyond our relationship with each other; when one of us is out for a late breakfast with the other, it’s not something the other would do on his own. Even so, the fact that it’s a topic of wondering if either of us can become closer to the other than to each other sometimes feels like a threat from afar.
It’s normal to feel jealous when your friend seems closer to their other friends; However, it’s important to understand that your friends’ other friendships don’t diminish your own worth.
What many people don’t often talk about is friendship insecurity: the feeling of inadequacy that arises when your friend makes new friends, especially close friends. It’s normal to feel jealous when your friend seems closer to their other friends; However, it’s important to understand that your friends’ other friendships don’t diminish your own worth. You are still important to them, and your friendship with them is still valuable. But you still have to do the job of understanding jealousy in your friend’s friendship so that it doesn’t stir up conflict. Here are a few ways to do that:
6 tips to stop being jealous of your friend’s other friends
1. Reflect on your expectations
First and foremost, take a moment to think about your expectations of the friendship. Understand that different individuals have different abilities to maintain relationships and that this fact does not reflect your worth or ability to be liked. If your friend has other close friendships, that shouldn’t be the reason your relationship has been affected.
Assess whether you are putting undue pressure on yourself or your friends, and try to focus on assessing the quality of the time you spend together, rather than comparing it to others.
2. Open communication
Effective communication is crucial in any relationship, including friendships. If you feel distant or less connected to your friend, it’s important that you express your thoughts and feelings calmly. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, emphasizing your overarching desire to strengthen the relationship.
For example, tell your friend when you miss them. Be proactive and ask your friend a time to hang out or talk on the phone. Remember, just because you feel jealous of your friend’s other friends doesn’t mean they know it. Honest dialogue can help bridge the gap and foster a deeper connection between the two of you.
3. Cultivate your hobby
It’s natural to want to spend more time with your friends if you feel insecure about the quality of your relationship. And it is equally important to cultivate one’s own interests and pursue independent activities. Engage in hobbies, join clubs or communities, and discover new experiences that will give you personal fulfillment and expand your social circles. By cultivating your sense of self and your own happiness, you will be less dependent on a single friendship for fulfillment.
4. Embrace the value of different friendships
Each friendship is unique and serves different purposes in our lives. Instead of viewing your friends’ other relationships as a threat, embrace the diversity of friendships. Realize that your friend may have different ties to others based on shared interests, history, or compatibility. It is healthy and normal for people to have many friends taking on different roles. Understanding and accepting this truth can ease feelings of competition and allow you to appreciate the special relationship you share with your friend.
5. Focus on quality time
Instead of focusing on the total time you spend with your friends (and comparing it to the time they spend with others), prioritize the quality of your interactions. When you get the chance to spend time with your friend, make it worthwhile. Engage in meaningful conversations, listen actively, and create memorable experiences. Quality time can often be more important than hours spent together, forging a deeper relationship and making your friendship more fulfilling.
6. Seeking support from others
When faced with feelings of insecurity or loneliness in a friendship, it can be helpful to seek support from other friends or loved ones. Sharing your feelings with a trusted confidant can allow you to express yourself and gain valuable insights. Additionally, seeking support from others can help you expand your social circle and establish new connections, enhancing your overall social support network.
Being in a friendship where your friend has many friends and can be closer to them than to you can be challenging. But you can overcome any feelings of jealousy by communicating honestly, focusing on your own feelings and preferences rather than taking it personally. Friendship is valuable and worthy, and quality is not a resource that you can measure by time.