Envy & Friendship: A Deadly Combination
I came across an article on Facebook (yes I still use FB) recently about a young lady who dated a guy for 6 years, paid all his fees, had 7 abortions, for him to end up marrying her best friend. Obviously, there were more elements to this story but from what I read, it was clear that feelings of envy were the fuel behind such a betrayal. This article inspired me to gather my thoughts into a new blog post.
I have to admit I often get my wires crossed when it comes to Envy and jealousy. Both appear to be similar but are two very different things. Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, and possessions. Whilst Jealousy is a feeling of unhappiness because someone has something or someone that you want. The two can be seen as a natural complex emotion, which goes hand in hand with each other. Although envy appears to be the worst of the two since it is one of the seven deadly sins of the world.
Envy is the one that intrigues me the most only because this is the emotion that I know has the most power and venom. It can be felt by both men and women at any given age. But don’t be fooled even animals experience envy too, may I remind you it was envy that led Scar to kill Mufasa in the Lion King. It just goes to show if feelings of envy manifest in the wrong way it can push a person to do some of the most unthinkable things. I have been on this earth long enough to see the ways in which feelings of envy can destroy relationships, especially friendships.
Believe it or not
I know this might be a tricky thing to get your head around but friendships can sometimes be a breeding ground for feelings of envy. It is usually one-sided but in some cases, the feelings can be mutual. As common as it is, most people do not like to openly talk about or even address those feelings. It is either sugar-coated, downplayed or will go unaddressed. I get it, I really do and if you find yourself in such a situation you have to proceed with caution.
I of all people know how awkward it can be opening up to someone about my suspicions of an envious friend. Accusing a friend of being envious of you is a strong accusation that should be not thrown around lightly. If you do not approach a situation like this correctly people will definitely be looking at you funny. I remember I never ever wanted to come across conceited or worse yet paranoid so I kept my thoughts to myself for ages. But I kid you not if feelings of envy within a friendship are left to its own devices, the consequences could be dire for both parties involved.
This might come as a shock to you but for some people envy within their friendship circles doesn’t really faze them. In fact, some thrive off it as it keeps them on their toes. These people are the real champs because I couldn’t do it, not today, not tomorrow, and not ever. Only because I have seen first-hand how dangerous this can be. My mum, my brothers and I were left in a life-threatening situation caused by the actions of one of my mum’s so-called friends.
Nobody saw it coming and this made the entire ordeal 10 times worse. I think about that situation from time to time and I still carry the trauma from it with me. I guess this is one of the reasons why I don’t hesitate to cut a friend off if they do something that hurts me. I won’t go into full details but if things went another way you probably would not be reading this blog post. But I give thanks that my family and I serve a God who works harder than our opposition. It was this incident that opened my eyes and made me see that a friend can be envious of you for reasons other than material possessions.
It could be related to things like your personality, physical appearance and self-confidence. Upbringing, job, achievements, lifestyle or just the way others treat you. This is what makes it worse for me because what causes a person to be envious of their friend is extremely hard to pinpoint. Anything could be a trigger, imagine if you have something that your friend wants there is a possibility that you could be a target. This just blows my mind because everyone is not the same and we are all born into different circumstances.
However, where envy in friendship is concerned I do strongly believe that it has more to do with the person who has those feelings, oppose to the person they are projecting those feelings on. It is rooted in a person unhappiness or lack thereof. Unfortunately, you might just be the friend who ends up with the short end of the stick because of it.
Not everything is written in black and white
One thing I have learned about envy is that it is not so easily detectable, especially when it is coming from your friend. I can tell you this for free but no one works harder than a friend trying to conceal their feelings of envy towards you. In fact, the lengths that some people are willing to go to try and cover up their antics is mind-boggling. I had someone go as low as point the envy finger at me when it was clearly the other way round lol honestly I can’t make this shit up.
It made perfect sense though and I actually don’t blame that person for trying to pin it on me. Who really wants to be known as the envious friend? I will be damned the day I scroll through Instagram and see someone openly out themselves as an envious person, but I know it will never happen. Most people choose to keep those kinds of feelings tightly under wraps, some might even take it to their grave. However, there are some people who can’t contain those feelings of envy towards their friends and no matter how hard they try, their mask will eventually fall off.
Below are some signs of an envious friend.
- Passive aggressive backhanded compliments
- Talks behind your back
- Constantly competing with you
- Attempts to upstage you
- Always bringing you down
- Act super fake when you tell them some good news
- Belittle you
- Failure to acknowledge your achievements
- Downplay your accomplishments
- Never supports you
As obvious as these things are, they will most likely fly right over your head. When we are friends with a person we are often blinded by the things they do or say because we see them as our friends. So we constantly overlook their envious feelings towards us or make excuses for them. I know this to be true because I have been there before. I always used to make excuses for one friend by putting their many attempts of sabotaging me down to it just being a coincidence.
I was so blind sighted by the love and attachment I felt towards this person. My mum was not because called that person out for who they really are. It is funny how are mums can spot our envious friends long before we do. Aunty Lorna constantly drummed it into me to watch the company that I kept. But despite all of my mum’s attempts to safeguard my brothers and I, each of us had to learn the hard way.
Say it with your chest vs keep it moving
In my case imitating, competitive behaviour, and talking behind my back were just some of the things I had experienced. The competitiveness and imitating were probably the most draining out of the three. It got so bad to the point where it actually put me off the person. I will never forget when I voiced my concerns, other people would tell me I was overacting, being too sensitive and paranoid. I was even told that this person had no reason to be jealous of me because they come from ‘money’ and I did not. There is a downside to speaking out about your suspicions of an envious friend, there is a chance that others might not believe you.
If they do believe you they will most likely encourage you to not say anything or play it safe by ‘keeping your enemies close’. Maybe it is just me, but in my mind playing it safe with an envious friend will just contaminate the relationship. However, there are special circumstances where things are better left unsaid. If you know how a person is just deal with them accordingly without causing a fuss. Not addressing the issue or playing it safe can sometimes be the best form of action. But whatever path a person decides to take just know that the friendship will never ever be the same.
For me personally, I am not interested in maintaining any friendship with someone who is envious of me. I have been there before, it is draining and you will never ever be able to trust that person in the same way again. I refuse to be a target of abuse at the hands of an envious friend it is not fair on me. It is a risk that I am not willing to take and trust me when I say you will never ever know where you stand with each other.
When I think of it, maintaining a relationship with an envious friend is kind of problematic. I can’t help but be reminded of that viscous acid attack that took place in the UK a few years ago. Naomi Oni was followed home after work by her friend Mary Konye. Disguised in a veil, Mary drenched Naomi’s face in acid, which resulted in severe facial burns and hair loss. During the trial, it was discovered that it Mary’s feelings of envy towards Naomi influenced her to carry out such a devious crime. Mary even accused Naomi of carrying out the attack on herself for social media fame. Can you imagine? wowu, this incident alone is a clear example of just how deadly envy can be. It is so deadly that it has the power to rip a friendship apart.
“Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.” –Proverbs 26:24-26
Where do we go from here?
I am not trying to turn you into the envious friend police, but I want you to be aware that this is a real thing and it can happen to any one of us. If a friend chooses to be jealous of you for whatever reason there is not much you can do to stop them. It is not our duty to patrol the feelings of our friends. We can not control anyone other than ourselves. Let’s face it as long as the sun rises in the sky every morning there is someone out there who will have feelings of envy towards their friends.
Uncle Bob Marley dropped a gem on us when he said: “Your worst enemy could be your best friend and your best friend your worst enemy”. If you ever find yourself in this position with a friend or a group friends, face the issue head-on, try to find a solution if all else fail to go your separate ways. Do not allow it to linger in the background if it makes you feel some type of way.
Everyone in life is on their own journey; we are all operating at different frequencies to one another. it is no secret that all of us have the ability to be great, in our own special way. There is room for all of us to live the life we want and have the things that we desire. We just have to be prepared to put in the work for those things and wait our turn. There is no need to be jealous of anyone especially your friends because it just causes unnecessary pain. A person who is envious of another has taken their eyes off themselves.
Being envious is not going to get you where you want to be in life any quicker. In fact, harbouring’s feelings of envious towards another person will only slow you down. It does more harm than good. I am not trying to sound like an Instagram quote but envy truly is a disease and it robs people of fruitful friendships. No one is perfect, maybe you have been an envious friend in the past or you have been the person on the receiving end. No matter what your experience has been, I hope you take something fruitful away from this post.
Lots of Love