I have never really understood why so many women would rather watch their worst enemy succeed than their closest friend. Why do we often react so badly when our nearest and dearest get something we desperately want for ourselves? A man, a baby, a job, a role, a place on a sporting team...
Rejoicing with the rejoicing can often be harder than mourning with the mourning.
But it is essential to being a good friend.
I remember when I got my Year 12 TEE results. I got 94 (the highest possible score is 99.95). A close friend who had failed was one of the happiest for me. Looking back, that must have been so difficult for her, and I will never forget her graciousness and support.
Sadly, I have not always been the greatest at congratulating others who have succeeded or acquired things I want for myself. I've been jealous. I've avoided them in person. I've moped and moaned about my own circumstances in their presence, taking the spotlight off them. I haven't 'liked' their posts on Facebook because I'm so jealous. Why should they have it when I can't? I have been a poor excuse for a friend at times, that's for sure.
I found it hard to watch friends marry when I was single. Even now, I struggle with seeing posts about friends' babies who are younger than Rory, but more advanced than him. There are babies six months younger than him who walked before him and talk better than him now. I struggled seeing posts from mums with perfect sleeping babies when I was in the midst of sleep deprivation and exhaustion last year when Rory was waking every hour during the night. I thought it so unfair that some mums could just go out and get on with their lives as if they never had a baby when I was cut down with postnatal depression. Why did they get it so easy and I get it so hard?
I've also been on the receiving end of jealous backlash. I remember when I was working at Curtin, I got a permanent position that a colleague had also been after. She was nasty to me for weeks afterward (and this woman was more than twice my age - when do women grow up, seriously?), then she apologised, then kept the cattiness going *sigh*.
In the latest play I'm in, I've become aware that my part was coveted by several other cast members. It does make me feel very uncomfortable around them and stops me enjoying myself as much. It's horrible with people having daggers for you. I've noticed the competitiveness and bitchiness is especially prevalent in the arts. It makes me want to scream, "Here, if you want it so badly, have it.", but then I think, No, I worked hard for this. If they were truly my friends they'd support me and suck it up.
I'm well aware that every time I post pictures of my wedding or of Rory on Facebook, there are people I consider friends who desperately want that for themselves. I don't want to rub my happiness in my face, yet I don't want to hide all my blessings away either, pretending they aren't really blessings. Somehow we need to find that balance.
The challenge of true friendship: to smile at, hug and congratulate your friend while you are crying on the inside.
Kiss the Cheek, Stab the Back
Get On Your Soapbox #23
The Envy of Eve
Grieving and Coveting