(This post is exceptionally just in English)
I ran into this article a while a go in the Psychology Today website: 7 reasons why we envy our friends and vice versa. As the article states everyone feels envy, it's a basic human trait: we want what we think someone else has. Some researchers say that we feel a lack in comparison to someone else.
"When envy is activated within a frienship, the friendship can experience significant tension and conflict. Friendship is built on notions of trust and mutual support, so competition - the bare essence of envy - seriously gnaws at the foundation of friendship. It's awfully difficult to relax and trust a friend if that friend doesn't wish the best for you."
I've been wondering about this for years, envy. I am the first to admit that there are things I envy from others. More money, freedom, looks, success etc... But I'd like to think that despite envying some of these things I think my friends have, I can still be a supportive friend and that it's not their fault why I envy them.
The article lists seven reasons and they're listed below. Under the title, I'll give my take on about what/why we envy and why we shouldn't.
- money is a big cause of envy, especially if it's talked about a lot and the division between the "poor" and the "rich" is brought to attention a lot in a group. I'm prone to envy money, because I'm such a shopaholic a Euro Jackpot wouldn't be enough for me...
2. Relationship status
- There are always those who complain "at least you have someone", "if you can find someone, why can't I?", "I'm not good enough for anybody". I do understand that for a lot of people, having a relationship is important, but how does envying someone elses relationship status helps you establish your own? Bitching and whining about it doesn't help anyone. Even though it's scary, if you want a relationship -put yourself out there, someone will like you just as you are. No need to settle. And to those in relationships, don't dump your friends when you find that special someone, because sometimes boy-/girlfriends come and go, but good friendships are forever!
3. Fertility and children
- I've heard that some people want children... (why, that I don't understand 😉) and especially infertility can strain friendships. When you try and try and try and others around you are breeding like bunnies. Again, it's easy to become resentful and be full of envy, though your fertility or lack of it isn't anyones fault. Not an easy situation.
4. Physical attractiveness
- Probably everyone has envied someone because of their looks. But still "normal looking" or even "ugly" (whoever made these attributes...) people get attention and are found attractive by people. And then there are these "gorgeous" people, and not every single person in the world fancies them. Looks are such a small part of a persons life, there's no reason to envy someone elses looks, it's how we click on other levels that counts. People are attracted to different things in others and we can't look like the person we'd most like to look like. It's just a fact. Instead of envying our "prettier" friends we should work on our own self-esteems and basically talk ourselves up in front of the mirror everyday.
- Very much related to the above. I do envy my slimmer friends, I wish I was slim. But the only person who can do something about it, is me. My slim friends aren't at fault and I don't want them to balloon up. But what I do hate is the backhanded comments like "You look good despite your size", people could lose the latter part of that sentence. Also comments like, "you have such pretty face" etc... do feel annoying. My weight shouldn't affect your life in anyway just like your weight shouldn't affect mine.
6. Professional success (especially in the same career)
- This is a tricky one to crack down. For me personally I do get envious of those who are given a permanent position, even though I've been hanging on here for 7 years. Again, it's not my colleagues fault, the problems are higher up. I am happy for my colleagues who get a permanent position as it's not a given.
- I'm also proud of my friend running her own business, having followed it close by, it's not easy. It takes guts to start a company. You can never really know how it's going to go but as a friend I can be there for her and offer assistance in little things like sharing their information, suggest the company to my friends, sharing and liking their posts on social media. Their success does not affect me and my potential success in something someday. I don't even care about "healthy competition" and don't see the point of it, at least on the fields I'm acquainted in. Friends should support friends, even a little thing can seem big to your friend.
7. Social media
- Social media, ah..... The place of envy and more envy. It's easy to lull yourself into thinking that the pictures, status updates all the happy-go-lucky posts paint the picture of a perfect life of other people. It's known that people like to show the best of their life on social media for others. And why wouldn't they? Who wants to give a depressed look about their life? Even if they're depressed.
- There are many ways to show or feel envy on facebook for example. You put a picture up, that you think is nice and beautiful etc.. you hardly get any likes. Someone puts a picture of a salad up, and get a few dozen likes. It's easy to feel unliked and you envy the salad. And then there is the other way, you see a pretty picture of someone or something, you envy the person in the photo or who took the photo and decide not to like the picture because of it.
I'd also like to add my own one:
- It seems many of us envy the skills others have that we lack. Others talents lie in sewing, knitting, cooking, baking. Others are artsy and creative, they can draw or make music. Would I love to be skilful in these things? YES! But am I interested in developing them? Not really. Why would I need to bake, when my friend makes the best red velvet cake and tiramisu cake in the world? She can bake them for me, I assume. If I want fancy food I hope my dad or aunt or friend will cook for me!m I'd love to draw or doodle, but I don't have the patience to practise it.Same goes for knitting, I royally failed these handy skills at school and haven't had the interest in them thereafter.
- Well what about my own skills then? I'm the artsy type, my field is writing and photography. I especially get inspired by lyrics and photos and modify the photos with a lyric. I still need to practice the art of photography.
- But why do we envy these things? So what if someone is better at something that you are good too?
What does it matter? What does saying "I would've done this better" accomplish? Does it boost your ego? Like I said earlier, friends should support each other, not scrutinise and criticise.
Am I making any sense? What are your thoughts about envy in friendships? Please comment below and lets have a bit of a discussion!