Bad Advice Club: I'm jealous of my friend and it's ruining our relationship

6 mins
14 Jul 2023
Bad Advice Club: I'm jealous of my friend and it's ruining our relationship

woo's resident agony aunt Chanté Joseph helps a reader with a case of the green-eyed monster

words Chanté Joseph

I’m Chanté – writer, presenter, internet addict. I write a lot about relationships, internet trends and being the best, most delusional version of yourself. So welcome to the Bad Advice Club: I’m here to give you some loving advice on your life problems. Listen, I am by no means perfect, but I think that makes me ideal to assist you in navigating tricky issues because nine times out of 10, I’ve been there! Bad advice, bad decisions – these are the twists and turns that make life sweet. So let’s ride it out together: I have some gems to drop, so don’t be shy and send in your stories, woes, dilemmas.

I’ve known my friend since we were at school and I was always more popular and better liked - she was always my plus one to things. After sixth form, we stayed friends even as we went to different universities and still, our dynamic remained mostly unchanged - I was her ticket to cooler parties, meeting cute guys etc. But post-graduation, things have been tricky for me - I graduated into the pandemic in 2021 and have been struggling to get on my feet, still living at home and doing odd jobs before winding up in a job in recruitment that I hate. On the other hand, she landed a job straight out of uni in music PR, was promoted and now is working at a different agency, pursuing her passion and constantly posting from glam events. I know I should be happy for her and celebrate her success but…I can’t! I’m so so jealous this isn’t happening to me, and I feel ashamed of my life in comparison. I can’t tell if it’s her busy schedule, my bitterness or maybe the fact I don’t offer her so much any more but we’re also hanging out less. How do I get over myself and make this work?

Your unflinching honesty is really appreciated here, because jealousy is perceived as such an ugly emotion. Despite us all experiencing it, in the therapy-speak era of social media we live in, we’re quick to immediately conflate jealousy with toxicity and avoid it instead of really exploring it. Identifying these emotions, where they come from and being brave enough to fix them is a big thing. I don’t think you’re the only person to cling to the former status you held in school. Many people who peaked in those early years struggle with how humbling the world outside of the bubble of education can be. Whether you were popular or unpopular in school and university, it is easy to rest in the idea that things will always be that way, but life happens in cycles.

I had a stunning friend in school; she got a lot of attention and was incredibly popular. She was a good friend to me and didn’t make me feel bad, but as we got older, things definitely changed. Our lives went in different directions, which was undoubtedly difficult for her. When we went out, she hated it if she felt I looked better than her; she’d strop or cancel plans and compare her career to mine incessantly. I hated that instead of dealing with these feelings, she’d project them onto me. As much as I loved her dearly, I wasn’t the same person we were in school, and the dynamic had shifted. I couldn’t make myself small to accompany her insecurities, and so the relationship ran its course.

"This imbalance of social status worked to your ego, and seeing things change so drastically must be bruising"

The bitterness and shame you feel are more likely than not impacting how close you are. She might sense this underlying resentment and want to create distance, or maybe you’re not trying as much because you’re overcome with these feelings. Either way, because you’ve pegged so much of this relationship on what you feel you can offer, you now feel that you don’t have a place in her life. But that isn’t the case. Life is always busy, that’s just the default, so it is an active effort on both sides to make sure you maintain the relationships that matter to you. So the question you have to figure out is: does this relationship matter? Beyond her being uncool in school and thriving in adulthood, you haven't mentioned anything about your friend as a person that you really like.

I do wonder if the function of your relationship with this friend was purely to fuel your sense of importance. This isn’t a gripe at you at all; it’s similar to people who use dating apps to remind themselves they’re hot or desirable but don’t really want a relationship. Maybe she was a crutch in this relationship; she was your reminder that you are cool and important, and beyond that, you struggled to see her personhood so now it is hard to celebrate her. This imbalance of social status worked to your ego, and seeing things change so drastically must be bruising.

"Sit down and figure out what it is that you want from life, and break down what success looks like to you"

Unfortunately, with these types of deep-rooted issues, it is never a matter of just getting over it. There is a lot of work you need to do to understand who you are outside of your accolades and what you have to offer. As a person, what do you enjoy? What sort of life-long friendships do you actually want? How do you learn to sit with yourself and ride out difficult times like this? Re-igniting this friendship isn’t going to answer those questions; sadly, it may only breed more resentment.

Though it sounds strange, I need you to be selfish. Sit down and figure out what it is that you want from life, and break down what success looks like to you. When you have that solid understanding of yourself and your personal desires, other people’s success won’t shake you like it does now. This dilemma is less about your friend and more about what her life-trajectory reveals about yourself, so use this as a jumping-off point to become centred and grounded.

Got a dilemma you need advice on? Email Chanté your problem at

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