I value this friendship more than she does

If not, what will I do without you?

A minor disagreement with a best friend can be worked out with a simple, honest conversation. But a major disagreement, for example, one of you wants more time/closeness than the other, is tougher to resolve. You still need to talk about it. Sitting on feelings (like resentment and jealousy) only intensifies them.  Intense feelings may lead you to doing and saying things you’ll later regret. Not good for you or the friendship.

Here’s a recent email from a girl who’s having a hard time dealing with jealousy in a friendship.

Teen: Me and my best friend have been close for quite a long time, but I know the friendship is on the verge of unhealthy. I value the friendship more than she does, which means I put way more effort into it. I get jealous whenever she spends time with other people. I’ve tried to step back and give her space, but I miss her already. I know that we can’t be friends like we used to be, but I don’t know how to stop these feelings. When the friendship ends she’ll move on with her other friends and I’ll be heartbroken. What do I do? Thanks 🙂

Annie: This friendship sounds a bit unbalanced. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes one friend has a busier schedule than the other. That doesn’t mean she cares less than the one who has more free time. Sometimes both friends feel the need for “time together and time apart.” That gives both people a chance to explore other friendships and other interests. This can be a good thing even if it feels strange at first.

The real measure of  friendship is not the amount of time. It’s how both people feel when they are together. It sounds like you feel unappreciated by your friend and jealous of how happy she is with other people. You said it yourself, “I value the friendship more than she does.” Yes, it seems that’s true. That’s a problem because it makes you feel powerless and unworthy. Like you don’t count.

Here’s something to think about: We can get so used to things in a friendship (who puts in more effort/who values the friendship more, etc.) that it all seems normal. There is nothing normal about feeling like you don’t count in a friendship! You count as much as much as she does. You deserve a friend who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with her. That doesn’t mean you two have to be together all the time or that neither of you can have other friends. It simply means that when you are together, you ought to feel accepted, respected and appreciated. If you don’t then it’s time for you to stand up for yourself. Either you can talk to her about her behavior or you can take her behavior as a clear sign that she is less interested in this friendship than you are.

If that’s the case, I’d suggest you go shopping for a new best friend.

Teen: That makes so much sense, thank you. I just don’t know how I’m gonna cope without her and I’m not exactly the kind of person who makes friends easily. Any tips?

Annie: First make a list to help you understand what qualities are important to you in a friend. Fill in the blank to this sentence:

I want a friend who is ___________________________.

Keep filling in the blank until you run out of ideas. This list will help you understand what you’re looking for and how to recognize it when you find it. Also, please know that a friendship is a two-way street. Make sure that you are able to give to a friend the same things you expect a friend to give to you.

Good luck!


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