How to stop jealousy within your friend group

Repost cause of some formatting issues. I'm aware of how shallow a lot of this will sound, and trust me I'm properly ashamed of it. But I also feel like I can't discuss it with anyone in my life, which is why I'm here.

To start with, I grew up in an upper class family. My boyfriend [29M] grew up lower class. We've been together three years, and we both work in non-profit work. I make about 50K, while he makes about 35K (all pre-taxes). I was always told to "follow my dreams," although I'm realizing now that's because my parents thought I'd have a rich partner to help support me (they've all but confirmed this, though they are warming up to my boyfriend).

The problem is, ALL of my friends make a ton of money. I live in a very high cost of living area with a booming tech scene, and most of my friends my age make over 100K a year, some of them much more. The few friends I have that make less than 100K (like my coworkers) all have partners that either work in tech, or are doctors or lawyers or finance people. They all live very, very comfortable lives. And while I'm happy for them because they're all amazing people, I'm also often jealous, which makes me feel terrible.

My boyfriend doesn't feel the same way; he points out that we have enough money to have a roof over our heads, food for ourselves and our dog, and to do the occasional fun thing like concerts. I know logically that he's completely right, and we are still better off than the majority of the people in the US.

Sometimes I get sick of always being the person to ask my friends if we can go to a cheaper restaurant, or just ordering a salad while they all get full entrees, or water while they get wine. I feel bad that I can't buy them rounds at the bar, like they do for me (they are all super generous). I can't join their fancy gyms, and I'm embarrassed to have them over to our apartment which is in a not-so-great neighborhood and filled mostly with second-hand furniture (but still eats up 1/3 of my paycheck). The thing that bothers me most, though, is the trips. My friends and I all love to travel; the difference is, they can afford to and I can't. My boyfriend and I do the occasional modest weekend trip, often camping or something similar locally. But my friends are constantly traveling the world, going to Hawaii and Bali and the Caribbean, often times on a whim. I guess what prompted this post is that a bunch of my friends spontaneously decided to go to Europe together next winter; I was invited and said I'd try, but honestly there's no way I'll have the money to do that.

Sometimes I fantasize about leaving my boyfriend and marrying a rich investment banker (which I would never do; he is the love of my life and my best friend). Other times I fantasize about quitting my job and moving into the corporate sector, which would substantially increase my pay (which I also can't see myself doing; my job is extremely fulfilling and I love every aspect of it). I know I sound like a petulant brat–"why can't I work my dream job, and also get paid 200K?" lol. But in reality, I'm just looking for advice on how to stop being jealous of my lovely friends and embrace the life that I've decided to have. Thanks for any insights 🙂

TL;DR: My friends have a lot of money and I don't, how do I get past it?

Edited to add: the comment about fantasizing leaving my boyfriend is just that–a dumb fantasy that I can't even imagine without crying lol. I know that life would be infinitely worse without him, and I would never leave him. He's my soul mate, and I'd rather live with him in a car than with anyone else in a mansion 🙂

You never intend for it to happen — it usually just creeps up on you: feeling as though you’re in competition with a friend. Of course you know that you’re not (unless it’s the 1992 Olympics and you’re either Dan or Dave ), but it’s really hard not to compare yourself to your peers, especially when they’re friends.

On the one hand, they’re your friend and you’re happy for them and want to see them succeed. But on the other hand, it can be hard to watch someone else progress in an area of their life where you may feel like you’ve stalled (even if that’s not actually the case).

Regardless of which side of the competition equation you find yourself on, it can be unpleasant and hurtful. If you find yourself competing with a friend, you may feel as though you’re inadequate or doing something wrong because you haven’t made the same achievements. And if you find out that a friend feels competitive with you, it may seem like they don’t want you to be happy. Either way, it’s not great for your relationship.

But it’s also totally normal. “I believe competition with friends is quite natural,” Dion Metzger , M.D., a psychiatrist based in Atlanta, tells Lifehacker. “As you go through different phases of life with your friends — whether it be school, career or relationships — we tend to compare our lives when it hits different checkpoints.”

And social media definitely isn’t helping. With people feeling compelled to curate the perfect life and then post it for all to see, it makes it very difficult to ignore the achievements of others in a way that didn’t exist 15 years ago. Social media is basically like attending a constant high school reunion where everyone’s putting their best face forward. Even though we know it’s not reality, it can be hard to convince ourselves otherwise.

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

A key ingredient to genuine happiness is gratitude—being happy with what you have. A key ingredient to being miserable is coveting what someone else has, and thinking you aren’t enough. In this day and age it’s easier than ever to be jealous because we have more access to each other’s lives than ever before.

But we don’t have access to their real lives; instead, we have access to the idealized, filtered, highlight reel of their lives. And even though we know that what we see on social media isn’t “real,” it can really have a strong, often negative, effect on us.

Jealousy can be directed at many sources, and doesn’t just come from social media. We can be jealous of friends, family members, co-workers. We can grapple with jealousy in our relationships…when he talks to another girl, looks at another girl, mentions another girl.

Jealousy is an impulse, an emotion that sometimes leads to action. If it doesn’t, then it just festers within us and causes misery. You never feel at ease; you can never fully appreciate what you have; there is always that sense of lacking, a void that demands to be filled. Jealousy can range from being a hindrance in your everyday life to being dark and destructive, causing humans to do heinous things.

But where does it come from and how do we fix it? How can we stop being jealous and learn to truly love and embrace our own lives?

The social media effect

I only recently got more active on social media—my main impetus is my job, but I found that it’s pretty fun! I started making boards on Pinterest (this actually helped a lot when I was planning my wedding!) and posting inspiring quotes on our ANM Instagram, engaging more on Facebook, and even joining Snapchat (username sabrinaalexis23, it’s strangely addicting!).

At first, social media enhanced my life. I kept limits on it; I used it to promote good and to get ideas to enhance my life. When I moved into a new apartment and was overwhelmed about how to decorate, I spent hours on Pinterest and got so many amazing ideas and now I have a home that I love (and that is, dare I say it, Pinterest-worthy!). I used social media for decorating ideas, healthy recipes, style inspiration, and new quotes—and it was great!

But then things started to turn. In time, I no longer felt inspired by this inundation of information. Rather, I felt defeated and I started feeling bad about myself. I would compare myself and my life to these strangers with seemingly picture-perfect lives and it didn’t feel good. On social media, there is always a way to feel bad about what you have. There will always be someone with a better body (especially those fitness bloggers!), a nicer home, a bigger wardrobe, shinier hair, smoother skin, perfect makeup techniques, and some girl on a perfectly sanded beach somewhere gorgeous and exotic with a piña colada perched between her thigh gap.

Hanna Krasnova of Humboldt University in Berlin, co-author of the study on Facebook and envy, has studied the effects of Instagram and she told Slate: “You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich, and successful from a photo than from a status update. A photo can very powerfully provoke immediate social comparison, and that can trigger feelings of inferiority.”

On social media, you’ll find a better version of everything because social media is, in many ways, a fantasy. It allows us to create and filter the absolute best versions of ourselves.

The most important step in overcoming jealousy is taking action

Posted October 11, 2011

THE BASICS

  • Understanding Jealousy
  • Find a therapist near me

Interested in these topics? Go here for my new (and free) course on happiness on Coursera.

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

Imagine that you and your best friend covet the same dream job. Both of you spend many hours talking about how great things would be if you both got the job. After going through a grueling screening process, both of you manage to reach the final interview. However, when the final results are out, you discover that you didn’t get the job, whereas your friend did.

How would you feel?

If we are honest, most of us would have to admit that we would feel more jealous than proud in this situation. Research by Tesser and his colleagues reveal a seemingly unfortunate aspect of human nature: jealousy is more intense when someone close to us does well in a domain in which we ourselves want to do well. So, if we are into dancing, we feel more jealous when someone close to us—e.g., our best friend or sibling, rather than a distant cousin or a stranger—is a better dancer than us. Interestingly, we don’t feel jealous if someone close to us does well in a domain in which we are not that interested in doing well; if anything, we feel proud. For example, if our best friend is a famous rock climber and we are not into rock-climbing, we feel genuinely happy and even bask in the reflected glory of our friend’s accomplishments. So, jealousy mainly happens when someone close (vs. distant) does better than us in a domain that is relevant to us.

Why do we feel that way? And should we feel that way?

The answer to the first question is relatively straightforward. It is adaptive to feel jealous when someone close does well in a relevant domain. We have a better chance of surviving if we out-perform those close to us, and research has shown that people feel more motivated to out-perform others when we feel jealous and envious. For almost the entire history of our evolution as a species, we have lived in relatively small groups of 150 or so. This is the group of people with whom we shared, and therefore competed for, resources. Within this context, we garnered more of the resources (food, warmth, emotional intimacy) if we out-performed others on important domains (hunting, fighting, etc.). As such, we are instinctually motivated to be better than those close to us, and jealousy motivates us toward this goal.

Should we feel this way? The answer to this question is a little less straight-forward.

The present-day context in which we live, for most of us, is worlds removed from how we lived in the past. We now live in large cities in which we hardly know even our neighbors. Further, for most of us who live in nuclear (vs. joint) families, not only do we meet friends and relatives rarely (once a week, if that), even the meaning of “close circle” is questionable since our circles change so frequently with both geographical and career mobility. Thus, the idea of competing with close-others for resources is much less relevant now than it was in the past, and hence, it simply doesn’t make sense to feel jealous of our close friends and relatives.

An even more important reason why feeling jealous of close-others doesn’t make sense in the present-day context is that, for most of us, we have everything we need to survive. The typical Psychology Today reader does not struggle for food, clothing or shelter. If survival were an issue, it would make sense to out-perform others. If, instead, you were interested in thriving and flourishing, jealousy is, if anything, counter-productive.

Why is jealousy counter-productive? Because a critical determinant of success in the present-day is the ability to make others feel positive towards you. And others are more likely to feel positive towards you if they think that you are happy and proud—rather than depressed and jealous—to see them do well.

But, how does one overcome jealousy?

This is easier said than done, but an important first step is accepting that you feel jealous when someone close to you does well, rather than brushing the feeling under a carpet. Too many people I know will not accept feeling jealous, even when it is clear that they feel so. You may hide the fact from yourself, but others can easily see, both from your actions and facial expressions, when you feel jealous. So, it is better to acknowledge the feeling honestly (even if only to yourself). Doing so will allow you to turn your attention to ways of overcoming it.

THE BASICS

  • Understanding Jealousy
  • Find a therapist near me

The knowledge of why you feel jealous (namely, that you have been programmed by instinct to feel so), and of why the emotion is not just useless but is actually counter-productive in the present-day context should give you sufficient motivation to overcome jealousy, but this motivation alone is not enough.

The most important step in overcoming jealousy is taking action.

What does taking action entail? When a close friend, relative or colleague accomplishes something important, tell them that you are impressed—even if you have to swallow your ego to do so. If you feel that you can’t meet the person face-to-face to do this—either because you are afraid that your jealousy might show or because you feel that the other person will explicitly look for signs of jealousy and this will make you self-conscious—then tell them over the telephone. Or shoot them an email. And if you feel up to it, you can even confess, as you congratulate them, that you can’t help but feel jealous of their accomplishments! Trust me, being honest about your feelings with those who make you jealous will actually warm them up to you, rather than make them feel negative about you.

Jealousy Essential Reads

Is “Compersion” the Opposite of Jealousy?

Envy and Your Facebook Feed

The main thing is to act in a way that you would have acted had you not felt jealous, but instead, had felt happy and proud. Findings show that we often infer our values, attitudes and opinions by observing our own behavior, which is why we feel happier when we force ourselves to smile or when we force ourselves to be altruistic even if we don’t feel so. Likewise, we will infer that we are a more generous, giving and expansive person, a person capable of rising above petty competitiveness, when we force ourselves to congratulate others for their accomplishments even as we feel jealous.

Taking such action is guaranteed to improve your chances of success. The truth is, we depend on others, especially close-others, for our success. Specifically, our success depends on how far others will go to remove obstacles from our paths and in helping us toward our goals. Your chances of getting the next dream job depends even more critically on the references you get from others than on your technical qualifications. So, do yourself a huge favor by taking action to overcome jealousy.

Your group of friends should make you feel supported—not stressed, experts say.

In the penultimate episode of HBO's Girls, the four main characters squeeze into a bathroom for a group meeting that's meant to be healing, but instead serves the final nail in the coffin of their friendship. "I have come to realize how exhausting and narcissistic and ultimately boring this whole dynamic is," says Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), defending her decision not to invite Hannah (Lena Dunham) to her engagement party. "I finally feel brave enough to create some distance for myself."

In this moment, Shoshanna says what many of the show's viewers have known for years: these people are awful together. They're a textbook (fictional) example of a toxic friend group.

Investing time and emotional energy into just onetoxic friend can have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Unsurprisingly, dealing with a group of toxic people is even worse. "When one friend is toxic, it can influence you, but you also have the ability to take some time away and interact with other friends," says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. In a bigger setting, people are more likely to succumb to "group act," which intensifies these unhealthy behaviors.

"People in a toxic group are more likely to act in toxic ways, even if that is not consistent with how they would act on their own," Lombardo says. "In a sense, there is greater toxicity in the group."

Here, seven signs you're part of a toxic friend group—and what you can do to repair the dynamic.

You always feel bad about yourself

Conflict is normal, and it's okay if you aren't completely thrilled with your group of friends all the time. But in general, healthy friendships leave you feeling positive and supported in your individuality, while a toxic friend group makes you feel the opposite way. "Your 'friends' may overtly put you down or be more passive aggressive in their criticism," says Lombardo.

You’re never sure where you stand

Always wondering about your current status with the group? Not sure how your friends are going to react to you on any given day? The feeling of walking on eggshells is a clear sign that your social circle has an unhealthy dynamic, Lombardo says. (Think: sometimes they're happy for your successes, other times they're jealous and bitter.) This uncertainty can leave you seriously stressed-out: "You feel anxious when you're going to be with them, or when you are with them," says Lombardo.

Gossip is par for the course

Toxic groups often talk about individual members behind their backs, says Ben Michaelis, PhD, clinical psychologist and creator of oneminutediagnosis.com. The result: One or more people are ganged up on, and there's a feeling that nothing said within the group is sacred. You should be able to feel confident that conversations with a friend will be kept private, Lombardo adds: "Healthy friend groups do not judge you, and will keep secret what you ask them not to share with others."

The effort is one-sided

"Toxic relationships are often one-sided," says Lombardo. This may mean you're always the one reaching out to the bigger group to make plans, or you're frequently ignored in group conversations, except when you have something specific to offer someone. Or perhaps you're always the "giver" to needy friends. "They need you to talk to them for hours when they are going through a tough time," says Lombardo. "You are constantly helping them out, but they do not reciprocate."

You feel pressured to do things you don’t want to do

A big red flag: "Your friend group is pressuring you or someone else in ways that make you (or them) uncomfortable, or even against the law," says Michaelis. Social pressure can lead to unhealthy group norms, so you should be wary if you feel like you can't freely speak your mind or even become shamed into doing something that goes against your conscience. "You feel guilty about what you do, or they shame you into doing things you don't want to," says Lombardo.

Competition is rampant

You get a big promotion, and your friend's first response is to brag about her own recent successes at work. "Rather than being happy for your wins, they feel threatened," says Lombardo. "They try to out-do you, or make passive comments like 'Must be nice to get the best sales award.'" Friends undermine their support when they constantly one-up each other, and this can extend to personal belongings (who has the nicest bag or shoes, for example), grades if you're in school, even romantic relationships.

They’re always negative

Are your friends always focused on the negative, such as what's wrong or not going well in their life? Or maybe they're always victims—other people can be wrong, but they never are. "Their unhappiness, lack of success, and problems are all a result of other people," says Lombardo. "No matter how much data to show the contrary, they are right."

How to heal a toxic friend group

It's possible to repair a toxic friend group, but it usually takes two. "If at least two members agree that the behavior is toxic, then [they] can bring this to the larger group," says Michaelis. "If the group is open to the feedback, then change is possible."

Lombardo recommends trying to have a conversation with one of the members of your group in a non-accusatory way. "Instead of 'You all always put me down,' you could try something like, 'It feels like sometimes in this group we are not as supportive as we could be to each other. I think it would be great if we focused more on how amazing each person in this group is,'" she says.

But you should be prepared that people have to want to change in order to do so, and it's entirely possible that your group of friends is content with the way things are. "A change, or suggestion of change, can feel like a threat to their self-worth, which often causes them to lash out with greater toxic behaviors," says Lombardo. If that happens, Lombardo says, "It might be time to look for other, more supportive friendships."

6 tips for keeping jealousy of a partner's friend from derailing a relationship

THE BASICS

  • Understanding Jealousy
  • Find a therapist near me

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

Romantic jealousy gets plenty of attention. It should—it happens all the time, it can be very intense, and it can motivate even very sensible people to do utterly stupid and embarrassing things. But there is another kind of jealousy that also matters. It, too, is pervasive. It, too, can get ugly. But compared to romantic jealousy, it mostly slips by unnoticed.

Whether you are single or coupled, you have probably seen this happen: A friend gets caught in a conflict between romantic partners. Maybe if you are a single person, you’ve been that friend. Let’s say you’re Maria, and you are good friends with Kim, who is in a relationship with Keith. You’ve been nothing but nice to Keith, but every time Kim wants to spend time with you, Keith whines. (It happens the other way, too—Kim might moan about Keith wanting to hang out with his friends.)

What’s the problem?

Or maybe you are the person in the romantic relationship, and you totally adore your partner. You just want to spend some time once in a while with your friends. So why does your partner freak out about that?

It is all about jealousy.

The other kind of jealousy—of potential romantic rivals—gets all the attention. But in new research, social psychologists studying relationships have found that friend jealousy is really important too. The studies were conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo and reported in the article, “A Friend of Yours Is No Friend of Mine: Jealousy Toward a Romantic Partner’s Friends,” in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Happily, not everyone gets jealous when his or her partner wants to spend time with friends. So who is particularly prone to get upset and disparage a partner’s pals? New research answers that question, too.

Here are some facts about friend jealousy:

  1. The first thing you should know about people who get jealous of their partner’s friends is that they are people who say that their romantic relationship is very important to them. In fact, if you ask them the question, “Among things that give your life meaning, how important is your relationship?” they will say that it is one of the most important things or the most important thing. You know all those love songs with lyrics like, “You are my everything” or “I just want to be your everything”? Those lyrics describe just the kind of people whose jealousy can be incited in a second.
  2. We’re not talking about how much you love your partner. Two people can love their partners equally deeply, but only one gets jealous of the other’s friends. The one who doesn’t get jealous is not so exclusively dependent on the romantic relationship to give life meaning. The nonjealous person might think, Yes, I love my partner with all my heart, but I have other things in my life I am passionate about, and other people, such as family and friends, whom I care about a great deal.
  3. There’s even more to the psychology of being jealous of your partner’s friends. It is not enough just to see your partner as smack dab in the center of your life. You can want your partner to be your everything and still not get jealous of your partner’s friends if you are secure about your place in your partner’s life.The beating heart of jealousy is insecurity. Some people are insecure about how much their partner loves them and cares about the relationship. Researchers measure that by asking people in romantic relationships how much they agree with such statements as: “My partner is very much in love with me” and “My partner wants our relationship to last for a very long time.” The ones who do not give very confident and secure answers to those questions are the ones most prone to jealousy.
  4. Sometimes people who are generally confident about their partner and their relationship get set off by something that stokes their insecurities. For example, in one of the studies the researchers conducted, people in romantic relationships read about other couples and how they interacted with each other when negotiating things like which movie to see. Maybe these relationships sounded fine to them. But then they read that the couples’ behavior showed a lack of regard for one another, that couples often overlook the ways in which a partner is not treating them as well as he or she should be, and that couples are likely to think their relationship is better than it really is. Reading something like that makes a lot of people feel a bit less secure about their own romantic relationship than they did before.

When people see their partner as the center of their life, but are not so sure their partner feels the same way about them, friends get caught in the cross-hairs. The psychological logic goes like this: If your partner wants to spend time with friends and maybe even confide in them, that makes you jealous. Those friends are threatening the special, central place that you want to have in your partner’s life.

When your friends have purposely excluded you, it may mean something is up, or not! But here's how to differentiate a problem in your friendship versus reasonable behavior.

Examine Your Expectations

Before you decide that your friends are purposely excluding you in their plans, take a step back and see if your expectations are reasonable. People don't always get invited to certain events every single time, and when they don't it certainly isn't anything personal. Your friends may have felt that you were too busy or wouldn't enjoy the activity.

If you constantly feel as if you need more time with your pals, ask yourself if you are acting clingy. Clingy behavior includes:

  • Expecting that when you become friends with someone, they invite you to everything.​
  • Becoming angry when a friend talks about another pal or acquaintance.​
  • Assuming that when you meet someone new he or she is instantly your best friend.

Times When Friends May Leave You Out

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

There are certain instances when friends may leave you out of their plans. These include:

  • When two of your good friends get together. It is not uncommon for a third friend to be excluded.​
  • When friends take part in a “tradition,” or an event or activity that certain people in a group are used to doing together.​
  • When you have said no in the past. (Friends may assume you don’t enjoy certain activities or are too busy.)​
  • When you have had a rift with someone. If the other friend isn’t comfortable seeing you, you may be excluded from a group activity.

What Exclusion Means in a Friendship

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

Friends may also exclude you when they have an issue with you of some sort. Some people are not good at expressing their feelings and behave in a childish manner rather than dealing with a situation directly. If this is the case, you can try discussing it with your friend. If your pal denies there is a problem or refuses to work it out, you may need to accept that they have moved on from you.

Other times, exclusion occurs when the dynamics of a group change, such as when new members come on board. Again, you can talk about it with your friends but they may be too embarrassed or ignorant of their behavior to make a change.

How to Handle Exclusion From Friends

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

If you're feeling left out, the obvious answer is to talk it out with your friends. But be cautious. Before you bring it up, make sure you haven't assumed too much about the relationship. Perhaps you thought you were good friends when in fact you haven't known each other that long. Try continually meeting new friends so that you have different people in your life.

If, however, you are being excluded from good friends, this is a clear message that there is a problem with the friendship. Try discussing it with your friends. If they do not acknowledge your feelings, accept the fact that your friendship may have run its course. Saying goodbye to friends is never easy, but you deserve respect and to be treated well.

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

OK, so you introduced a friend to one of your other friends and now you think they like each other more than they like you.

You felt like they’d get on so you hung out together and now, if you’re honest about it, you wish you hadn’t because you’re feeling a little left out.

They’re spending time together without you and you sometimes feel like turning up to one of their clandestine catch-ups and yelling ‘Who introduced you to each other, you ungrateful weasels! Love me!’

But you don’t because you’re actually a very nice and sensible person, which is precisely why both these people should like you the most.

It doesn’t feel very nice to imagine that these mates of yours are secretly whispering about how much they prefer one another to you but it’s going to be alright, I promise. Let’s talk this through.

Remember, friendships are not monogamous

Truly, don’t get too carried away fantasising that these pals of yours sit around gossiping about you, or scheming about how they’ll get you out of their lives so they can be together forever. For a start, that’s just not how friendship works and you know it.

The lovely thing about friendship is that we actually have the capacity to make many friends, not just the one. Our hearts have room for more than one friend thankfully.

These are not romantic partners we’re talking about, so there’s been no promise of monogamy or exclusivity exchanged between you. There is no betrayal here – they’ve done nothing wrong by you.

Presumably you have more than two friends? Great, go and see them.

Sweet thing, it is extremely unlikely they even bother talking about you. Maybe you come up sometimes in a casual ‘isn’t she great’ kind of way but otherwise I promise they’re talking about other things: their lives, their loves, their careers, their brunch-related decisions.

The point is that they get on well, they have chemistry, they like each other and there is actually no reason for either of these friends to cancel their subscription to your friendship just because they get on.

So long as you’re still being the kind, interesting person they decided to like in the first place, you have no reason to fret. There’s room for you all in one another’s lives.

You are not going to get bumped out of your position as buddy. Just make sure you continue to invest in these friendships in your usual lovely way, so they know that they matter to you.

If you think you might have done something truly terrible – bad enough to warrant these people working together to cut you out of their lives – then I suggest you think about what you did and make amends.

It’s OK to feel left out

Alright, so all of that said, you still feel left out. Let’s deal with that.

It’s a little bit infantile, but still, I get it. Adult people are absolutely capable of feeling excluded, especially when their mates hang out together without them.

The best tactics here are really going to be transparency, love and distraction. So, if you’ve got the courage to be vulnerable, you could start by saying to one or both of your mates that you’re feeling a bit excluded.

It’s not shameful to admit that, it’s perfectly fine. A little text expressing that you’d love to hang out with them, either individually or together, is a nice way to go.

You could add that you know it sounds silly but you’re feeling a bit weird and you’d appreciate a little extra TLC. You can be proactive about organising things for you all to do.

How to stop jealousy within your friend group

You can also make the conscious decision to come at this with love, instead of jealousy or envy or insecurity. Choose to ignore those petty, unpleasant feelings and embrace being kind and generous and sweet with your friends.

Every time you feel the instinct to be narky or mean (to yourself or others), mentally catch yourself and redirect your energies into feeling grateful to have these people in your life.

If none of that works then it’s time for a little distraction. Now might be a nice time to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in ages, message a potential new friend or hang out with other people.

Actively remind yourself who else you have in your life by hanging out with people you like – people other than the two friends who are now seeing each other all the time.

Presumably you have more than two friends? Great, go and see them. If not, make some new ones. I also recommend gentle soothing activities like Netflix and Deliveroo, napping, reading, bubble baths and cookies. When in doubt, do something nice for yourself.

Three is the magic number

Have you thought about how this might, in fact, be a delightful development? Previously, you would have kept them separate but now you can all spend time together and there are three of you, which means you’re halfway to being the main cast of Friends.

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Now that two of your favourite people actually like one another, it means you can do things as a group, which has that rather pleasant effect of making you feel loved and welcome and like you belong in the company of other human beings.

Make the most of it – do something nice together, hang out all three of you (did someone say Greek island getaway?).

You can have brunches and dinners and walks and wines and movie nights – and! You can finally play card games that require more than two players. Frankly, I fail to see the problem here.