How to handle a friend who’s jealous of your other friends

emily rose asks: I have a ”friend” in my school who is jealous of me being friends with someone else and she’s always making fun of us and tricking us into doing stupid things and making us feel bad about our selves (but she is mostly hurting my friend). What should I do?

Hi emily rose–

Jealousy is such a lousy feeling, both for the person who’s feeling it and the person who it’s about.  Of course some mild jealousy is all right, and even can be fun (married humans say it can keep a romantic spark going), but what you’re describing isn’t fun at all.

I think the best thing about your letter is the quotation marks you put around the word “friend.”  Not that she doesn’t care about you, even to the point of devotion, but that she’s not doing a good job of being a friend right now.  Instead she’s being mean.

Now let me admit here, I’ve been guilty of exactly this.  Handsome will be petting some really cute dog, and I’ll run up growling and leap – not onto Handsome, whose love and support I count on – but onto that pooch.  I’m telling her “Stay away from him!  He’s mine!”  Now in reality, she hasn’t done anything wrong, just like your other friend.

The difference is that I’m over it in three seconds.  I’ve made my point, the other dog knows I’m someone to take seriously, and now if my fella keeps petting her, I just live with it and walk away.  What your “friend” needs is to find that same comfort level.  And the job that you’re stuck with is trying to do whatever you can to help her get there!

The first thing I’d suggest, of course, is to just talk with her.  Sit her down and ask (not in an accusing “What are you thinking?!” way, just “hey what’s making you do this?”) why she’s doing all this.  If she gives you a really honest answer, like “It hurts my feelings that you’re with her so much,” then you can work with her to find ways to make it better – maybe the three of you could hang out, or you could make specific plans to spend more time with her.

But if she doesn’t give you that honest an answer, if she says something like “Nothing’s wrong, I just hate her,” then you might want to be a bit tougher.  Like “She’s my friend too, and when you’re mean to her, or to both of us, it makes me not want to hang out with you.”  Then you can try to boost her hurt ego by explaining that you do like being with her, if she’s not so mean.

But then there’s another issue, one that’s much more difficult to face.  What if you really don’t like her as much as the other friend?  What if the reason you’re hanging out with the other more is that this “friend” really doesn’t mean that much to you, isn’t that much fun, etc?  If that’s the case, then it really explains her jealousy – she’s feeling how you feel.  And that’s really painful for everyone.

If that’s the case, emily rose, there’s no perfect answer, but I think your best bet is to do bigger things with her.  Get five girls together to go to a movie, including her.  Have a birthday party, and make sure she’s invited.  In other words, make her feel really included and important, and (here’s the sneaky part) help her make other friends!  The more friends she has, the less bothered she’ll be that you’re not as close a friend as she’d like.

After all, as much as I hate it when Handsome leaves town, it’s a lot easier for me if I’m staying with people – or dogs – I love being with.  I’m still awfully happy and relieved when he comes back, but I’ve had a lot of fun in the meantime.


I hope this helps.  Good luck!


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