Jealousy is a feeling of bitterness or resentment as a result of someone having something you desire. Like other human feelings, jealousy is also a part of interpersonal relationships. In this article, we asked eight Nigerian women to share what it felt like to be jealous of their friends and what they did about it.
I have known my best friend since I was 17 and sometime last year, I felt jealous of her. It was as if she was happy and blooming in her life while mine was going badly. I had just suffered a terrible breakup, and at the same time, she got into a relationship with someone that loves her wholeheartedly. It hurt even more because of their public display of affection. I also lost my job around that time, and my best friend got a job that paid five times more than my old job paid. I was just in a corner of my mind wishing everything was happening to me too.
When I couldn’t keep it in anymore, I told her. I didn’t want to cross the line and start resenting her. At some point, it almost affected our relationship because I withdrew into myself. I wouldn’t call her, and I’d give flimsy excuses when she tried to reach me. But I couldn’t stay away for long because she’s my best friend and not just any other person. I told her how I felt and comforted me. I was surprised at how well she handled it and felt so relieved because I don’t think I’d have reacted the same way. After I apologised, our friendship became better because we opened up more to each other. We are still best friends till today.
I didn’t have a lot of female friendships growing up, so I didn’t know how to navigate them. It was when I got in university, I started having small groups of female friends. I have always been drawn to outgoing and attractive people and when I realised people would befriend me to access them, it hurt. I couldn’t help but envy them. I had a particular friend who was also my roommate. Visitors would bring gifts and MONEY to our room. I need to emphasise on the money. I was a broke student who got ₦10k a month as allowance and here was someone getting ₦15k because someone liked her skin. HER SKIN.
I think it affected my perception of her. I started turning her into a villain in my head to rationalise the way I felt. I called her shallow and materialistic. I called her some ableist slurs too. Some of these things I said to her face, some I didn’t. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with her. I didn’t think it was right to still be friends with someone when I felt that way about them. I tried to reach out to her recently, but it hasn’t been the same. We still talk and send stickers to each other, but it’s not the way it used to be between us.
I was jealous of my best friend after we finished NYSC. We were both job hunting, and it took longer than we expected. One day, I sent her the link to a job that we both applied to and she ended up getting it. That made me jealous. What did they see in her that they didn’t see in me? I never said anything to her about it. I just dealt with the feelings on my own until I found something.
I am part of a group of five friends. We are all in our final year of university, same department and everything. Some of us are closer to others than some are but we still move about together. This final year opened our eyes to the jealousy some of us were feeling towards others. One person was jealous of another because a lot of guys were always on her matter. Another one was jealous because the other person is thick and she is slim.
I am more of the bookish type. I realised that when I do better than them, they’re not so happy but when they do well, they’re happy. Not solely because they did well, but because they did better than me, who is supposedly the nerd. Sometimes I get upset when I introduce a male friend to the group and he starts getting closer to another one of them. I have learnt that jealousy is normal in friendships, but it’s what one does with it that matters. Do I go behind the other person and do evil or I wish the other person well and learn to live with the fact that someone will have something I want and that’s fine.
In my diploma days, I had a friend I did everything with. But when we switched to a degree programme, she met new friends and I was left behind. I felt alone and jealous of her closeness with others. I won’t lie; sometimes I cried about it. It took me months to move on. I didn’t do anything because I had to be okay with the fact that she was happy even if it wasn’t with me. Although, our relationship was never the same. I couldn’t treat her the same way I did when it was just two of us.
When I was still in university, I had a friend I was very close to. She knew my family and I knew hers. We were in the same department, same hostel, same everything. At that time, I didn’t see how I felt about her as jealousy. I thought it was more of a competition because of our strong personalities. We had similar tastes in everything. The only difference to me was that she always had it before I did. I noticed that I would intentionally not tell her if I was buying a new phone or getting a new laptop or moving to a more expensive hostel because I just wanted to feel like I won.
It affected our friendship a lot because there was no trust. I did not feel like she genuinely liked me and that made me feel bad about myself. We grew apart because there was a lot of backstabbing. I feel like I did myself a disservice cause I approached her and tried to make things work between us, but I guess the friendship had lasted its course. I think now that I may have misread her actions towards me as being jealous, hence reciprocated with bad behaviour. I take full responsibility cause my insecurity had the best of me.
In 2020, three of my closest friends were making progress in their lives; career, love life, etc. It was weird because on one hand, I was happy for them but I also started to get depressed because it felt like I just gagged the whole year away. The worst part was not being able to talk to them about it because I didn’t know how to express how I was feeling without them thinking I didn’t want the best for them. I didn’t do anything rash, but I had to sit with the discontent for quite awhile. Even when they noticed and tried to help, I couldn’t be honest with them. I was afraid that it meant I didn’t love my friends.
Thankfully, another friend said something to me I’ll never forget: “We are constantly subconsciously comparing ourselves to the closest people in our lives”. That helped me feel like less of an evil person, which was the thing compounding my sadness. I learned that jealousy is a perfectly fine human emotion, and it’s how you deal with it that matters. I was finally able to share it with them and they were quite understanding. We are cool now.
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