FFriendships are essential to our lives, offering support, camaraderie and sharing of experiences. However, it is not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where you feel less connected to a friend compared to the closeness you perceive with other friends. In other words, your best friend may have other best friends, and that could make you jealous.
When I was a kid, my best friend and I used to joke together and say no one was allowed to claim any of us as their best friend. It was definitely one of those joke-but-not-joke conversations as we laughed our heads off the fears surrounding our expanding circle of friends.
As we grew older into adulthood, we both began to form friendships with other people in varying degrees of closeness. We learned to honor the fact that we had friends beyond our bond with each other; when one of us was having brunch with someone else, it wasn’t something the other took personally. Even so, the fact that a thread of wondering if either of us could get closer to anyone than we were to each other sometimes seemed like a distant threat.
It’s normal to feel a sting of jealousy when your friend seems to be closer to their other friends. However, it is important to understand that your friend’s other friendships do not diminish the value of yours.
What many people don’t often talk about is friendship insecurity: the feeling of inadequacy that occurs when your friend makes new friends, especially close ones. It’s normal to feel a sting of jealousy when your friend seems to be closer to their other friends. However, it is important to understand that your friend’s other friendships do not diminish the value of yours. You are still important to them and your friendship with them still stands. But you still have to do the work of understanding the jealousy of your friend’s friendships so that it doesn’t stir up conflict. Here are some ways to do it:
6 tips to stop being jealous of your friend’s other friends
1. Think about your expectations
First, take a moment to think about your expectations for friendships. Understand that different people have varying abilities to nurture relationships, and this truth does not reflect your value or likeability. If your friend has other close friendships, it’s not a hit to your connection.
Assess whether you’re putting too much pressure on yourself or your friend, and try to focus on the quality of your time together, rather than comparing it to others.
2. Communicate openly
Effective communication is essential in any relationship, including friendships. If you feel distant or less connected to your friend, calmly expressing your thoughts and feelings is crucial. Approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, emphasizing your overriding desire to strengthen the bond.
For example, tell your friend when you miss him. Take the initiative and ask your friend for time to hang out or talk on the phone. Remember that just because you’re feeling jealous of your friend’s other friends doesn’t mean they know. Honest dialogue can help bridge the gap and foster a deeper connection between the two of you.
3. Cultivate your own interests
It’s natural to want to spend more time with your friend if you feel unsure about the quality of your bond. And it is equally important to cultivate your own interests and pursue independent activities. Indulging in hobbies, joining clubs or communities, and exploring new experiences will provide you with personal fulfillment and expand your social circle. By nurturing your own sense of self and happiness, you become less dependent on a single friendship to thrive.
4. Embrace the value of different friendships
Each friendship is unique and serves different purposes in our lives. Instead of viewing your friend’s other relationships as threats, embrace the diversity of friendships. Recognize that your friend may have different connections to others based on their shared interests, history, or compatibility. It is healthy and normal for people to have multiple friends fulfilling different roles. Understanding and accepting this truth can lessen feelings of competition and allow you to appreciate the special bond you share with your friend.
5. Focus on quality time
Rather than focusing on the total time you spend with your friend (and comparing it to the time they spend with others), prioritize the quality of your interactions. When you have the opportunity to hang out with your friend, make it count. Engage in meaningful conversations, listen actively, and create memorable experiences. Quality time can often outweigh the number of hours spent together, forging a deeper bond and making your friendship more fulfilling.
6. Seek support from others
When dealing with feelings of insecurity or loneliness within 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 information. Additionally, seeking support from others can help you expand your social circle and build new relationships, improving your overall social support network.
Being in a friendship where your friend has multiple friends and may be closer to them than they are to you can be difficult. But you can overcome any feelings of jealousy by communicating honestly, focusing on your own feelings and interests, and not taking it personally. Friendships are precious and valuable, and quality is not a resource you can measure by using time.
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