How to deal with a jealous friend

poproxy360 asks: My best friend likes to blame me for everything and say “shut up” whenever I speak, and always says she feels left out when I try to hang out with our other best friends. She calls me annoying and gets mad easily. I won’t blame her completely – I also like to tease her – but she always says she feels left out and tells our best friends that I tease them (which I do, but she also teases them)… but if I skip all that, she is awesome! So I am not giving her up. What should I do?

Hi poproxy360 –

Human friendships are so complicated!  When I get together with one of my best pals, like Kuma, Louie, or Stella, it’s so simple – we dive on each other and joyously beat each other senseless, growling and mouthing (but never really biting) until we’re both exhausted.  It’s such fun!

(Well, okay, I can’t do that with Louie, because he’s a dachshund, and if I even nosed him too hard, he’d flip across the yard sideways.  So with him, it’s more a lot of sniffing, and barking at people – and that’s fun too.)

We don’t get all that upset about our friends playing with other dogs, we don’t blame each other for anything (except biting us!), and we don’t tell on each other.  It’s not that we dogs are better or smarter or more moral than humans – we’re just not programmed that way.

But you are.  So I think the important thing is to take a good look at your friend, and get a sense of what’s going on with her.

It sounds to me like she’s blaming you, calling you annoying, getting mad at you, and then complaining when you’re with other kids, or even telling them about things you say.  If I didn’t know better, I’d say this sounds like she’s jealous.

And I don’t know better!

It looks to me as if she feels bad about herself, maybe feeling she isn’t as well-liked as you, and so puts a lot of effort into telling you you’re not good enough, and keeping you from having those other friendships.  Now she might be, as you say, awesome in other ways, but in this particular area, she’s got some troubles!

I think this can be fixable, but you need to do a few things to solve it.  First, you need to convince her that she’s really important to you.  Tell her so.  Tell her she’s your best friend, even though she might already know it.  Talk about how you hope you’ll be friends forever.  Get her feeling really good.

And then, plan a party.  Or some other sort of get-together, with her AND your other friends.  This way, she won’t feel left out; she’ll feel brought in!  Do your best to help her feel like she’s part of the group.  Encourage kids in the group to invite her to do things with them, maybe even one-on-one.

But be careful!  One thing that can happen when a jealous kid starts to feel included is that they might try to exclude the one who brought them in!  In other words, she might start to say things about you to them, even more!  So while you encourage her to make friends with these others, make sure you keep hanging out with them, and with her alone, as well.

poproxy360, there’s no guarantee this will work.  Sometimes people feel so bad about themselves that they can’t allow others in.  But it sounds like she’s doing better than that, most of the time, with you.  So if you can help her feel like she’s not being excluded, and that she’s liked and valued, there’s a really good chance her life, and your friendship, will become way better.

Best of Luck!


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