“We hate it when our friends become successful,
And if they're northern
That makes it even worse and
If we can destroy them
You bet your life we will destroy them.
If we can hurt them, well,
We may well..” - Morrisey
I have in the past severed ties with a friend because I envied her good fortune.
At the risk of sounding dangerously shallow, I was possessed by the green-eyed monster when my friend got herself the perfect boyfriend. He was easy on the eye, funny and charming, an Ivy-league-university educated lawyer. He showered her with gifts, he was the boyfriend dreams were made of.
Her blossoming romance with Mr.Wonderful was a stark contrast to my own at the time. I just ended a relationship with my partner and was undergoing a what-did-I-do-wrong stage. At first I was thrilled to hear her stories about her weekend gewatay (“All first class! We stayed in the biggest suite!”) and the gifts (“He went to Paris and bought me this bag!”). But after a lunch date with her, everything she said got to my head and I felt something was burning inside.
“....You see, it should've been me
It could've been me
Everybody says so..” - Morrisey
I recognized the feeling instantly and I didn’t like it. I sought help. I spoke to my mother who then advised me to count my blessing and practice mudita, a Buddhist teaching about finding joy in the good fortune of others. But envy is an emotion and I couldn’t just reset my mind to neutral and un-envy myself. The human heart is not that simple.
I began to resent her. I made up excuses about not being able to see her, ignored her Facebook posts to the point of unfriending her altogether. She sent me an offline message asking me about it. I blocked her.
I know, it was that bad.
Years later when the envy had subsided, I did serious soul searching to find out what really drove me to pull such a Cinderella’s step sister-esque act on my [former] friend.
What I found devastated me.
It was not the dreamy qualities of the boyfriend that burnt me. It was simply the fact that he loved her, while I had no one in the love department.
A friend of mine, a wise one apparently, once wrote this on her Facebook page, “In this day and age of social media, it is easy to compare yourself to others and feel that you don’t measure up, you do.”
It’s true and from that, I made a list of points to ponder to prevent me from falling to the trap of friendvy.
Acknowledge the feeling
Be brave, my sweet. Nobody says it would be easy to acknowledge the ugly part of ourselves but confession is the first step to healing. Accept it but don’t try to get rid of it because it would be impossible. Believe me, I was there.
Find the source of your envy
Do you feel that you’re envious because your friend’s good fortune reminds you of your bad one? In my case, I felt so bad because she had the very thing I desired and unfortunately lost. I felt flawed as a person, I shouldn’t have. You see? It was me all along, it’s nothing to do with her.
If the friendship is ruined already, don’t force yourself to patch things up
The thing is, there is no right way to put it in the right context. If I come clean, she might take it the wrong way (“Seriously, you can’t be happy for me? What’s wrong with you??”). If I didn’t, then I’d be lying to her about what really drove us apart and an eternity of awkward would always linger between us.
Turn it into a motivation to improve yourself
I concluded that before expecting the right person to come along, I have to be the right person for myself. I have to love me first. A new journey to self improvement began and it was amazing. I spent more time with my family and friends, took time to explore my hobby for art and antique goods (I am now friends with a group of sellers at Jl. Surabaya antique market), and signed up at the gym, among other things.
It’s really wonderful to see the great things we can accomplish once we open our heart and let go.
Sadly, I never had the chance to reconcile with my friend and be close again despite the news that she and her boyfriend had broken up. I heard from a mutual friend that Mr. Perfect was not so perfect after all.
See? So much for friendvy.
About Kinanti Pinta
Pinta is an antique junk collector and an Archie comic fan who finds that life is a series of hits and misses. And so far she has more hits than misses, or so she thinks.