One of my best friends relocated to England recently. On one hand, I was ecstatic for her. It was the perfect move for her and her husband’s medical careers. But I also admit that my joy was tinged with a bit of sadness. Knowing I would miss having her close by for visits, I felt a sense of loss so acute, I cried. She had barely left, and I was already missing her so deeply that my general joy for her was affected.
While I am thankful that the feelings did not crystalize to envy or jealousy, I still think I should have been less focused on myself, and more on her achievement. It got me thinking about how easy it is to be selfish with people we ought to love selflessly.
No matter how close we are to our best friends, we will achieve things at our own individual paces. It’s highly unlikely that three friends will graduate, get married, or have kids at the exact same time. They may not even share the same goals to start with. And it is very human to look at those who seem to have gone ahead of us with more than a little bit of longing for the same achievement. In my case, when it’s people who are close to you, there’s often an additional element of missing their presence and the nostalgia that will come with that.
Don’t hate! Celebrate!
Whether or not you have mixed feelings when your friends bag an achievement, remember that jealousy has no place in true friendship. Guard against any strain of envy that can put you on a slippery slope. Friends are supposed to be there for each other in good times and in bad. (We certainly hope for more good than bad times.)So, the next time you find yourself being anything less than genuinely happy for your friends’ successes, check yourself. Then break out a bottle in honour of your friends knowing that before very long, they will be celebrating you too.
Another close friend of mine will emigrate soon. I hope I will be even less selfish than I was the last time. If I’m being honest though, I suspect I will be smiling through my tears just like the last time too. And I know that she too will be just as sure that I couldn’t be happier for her even if I tried.