Pillow Talk: My best friends spend more time with their boyfriends than with me. What should I do?
I hardly ever get to see or talk to some of my best friends since they started becoming more interested in their boyfriends. This keeps happening again and again. Should I be jealous? Is this petty? At what point do I take it personally?
Dear Left Behind,
What you’re feeling is not petty, Left Behind. People close to you, some of the closest, in fact, aren’t around as much as they used to be. You feel cast aside. And those feelings are valid, real and important.
Nonetheless, it’s as important to analyze one’s feelings as it is to validate them. You don’t mention how you’ve reacted to this lack of communication between you and your friends: Do you react passive aggressively? Is your reaction to their not contacting you to not contact them right back? That might feel like the “right” way to respond — the “eye for an eye” mentally, so to speak — but it won’t work. Not today, and not in the long run.
Jealousy isn’t the answer, vulnerability is. Cue into that vulnerability and express it to your friends. Tell them they’re important to you, that you miss them and that you want to connect with them more than you have been. And say it in the most vulnerable, non-defensive and non-aggressive way as possible. Say it in the way you would want to be approached if the situation were reversed. Say it in the way you’d like to be approached if your friends were ever upset with you.
Be understanding, as well. They’ve met people with whom they experience such a budding intimacy it distracts them from their other relationships. That’s not to dismiss their behavior; your relationship is just as important. Rather, it’s an effort to better understand their intentions; they’re almost certainly not malicious. And that’s an important — and humbling — distinction to make. Sometimes, when we hurt people, we act out of oblivion or confusion not malice. We’re complicated and messy. That doesn’t make it right. We should be sensitive to other people’s feelings. But it does make it a little easier for us to be more generous with those who afflict us — which is, in the end, healthier for us all.
So be generous to your friends, Left Behind, but express your feelings, too. Chances are, they’ll listen.
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