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Anxiety and Stress This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Chimera Offline
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Struggling with constant feelings of jealousy - November 10th 2017, 10:17 AM

Hi there! Thanks in advance for reading!

So I suffer from mild social anxiety, but I'm managing it quite well at the moment. However, a major issue for me now is becoming insanely jealous of other people and their relationships with my friends. I feel pretty happy with who I am, and in my own skin, however I have started to get incredibly jealous and self conscious of people who are friends with my friends. It normally starts that I have a good relationship with someone, maybe feel I have a "special" connection with them, but someone else will come along who I'm also friends with and seem to get along better with them, and be better friends. Firstly this upsets me because I feel like they're 'stealing' my friend, which sounds stupid I know. But this also makes me feel like maybe I'm not doing as a good a job as I thought I was in terms of people skills, and makes me doubt my own friendships - am I just a friend on the periphery, am I annoying the two people who are good friends, am I getting in the way?

I just wondered if anyone had any coping mechanisms because honestly it makes me feel really shit about myself and i can't stop thinking about it, to the extent that I struggle to get my work done, which obviously is problematic.

Thank you very much for reading, and in advance for your replies!
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Re: Struggling with constant feelings of jealousy - November 14th 2017, 05:15 PM

I'm sorry to hear that you struggle with jealousy. It's a horrible feeling to have, I know.

The problem with thinking that you have a 'special' connection with friends is that it's a bit of a double edged sword. A friend may have many friends, and it can seem like the more someone has, the less 'special' it becomes. But actually, no matter how many friends someone has, each friendship is different, unique and thus 'special'. A friend could have loads of friends, but there is only one you!

It's good that you have been feeling better about yourself, but perhaps you can try not to compare yourself and your friendship with a mutual friend's friendship? You are different people and the qualities that you bring to the friendship are different to those that the other friend brings, so you can't really be compared in that sense. However, just because someone has a few different friendships, it doesn't mean that one is better than another, or is being a better friend than another.

It's not stupid that you worry about someone 'stealing' your friend, especially when you are close to them! But understandably, it must be difficult worrying about this. Since you can't be compared to another friend, then maybe the issue is that you worry your time spent with a friend will be limited in some way? You can try to reassure yourself that this might not happen, since our worries tend to make us think of the worst case scenario. But another thing is remembering that if you ever felt that way with a friend, you could always mention it to them and perhaps schedule time to hang out, just the two of you if it helps.

If you feel you have good connections with friends then it's unlikely you are getting in the way or are just a friend on the periphery. Try to challenge those negative thoughts and find evidence that what you worry about is unlikely to happen. If it helps, maybe you can hang out with both friends at the same time to help you realise that the other friend isn't a threat.

What helps me when I feel like this is when I'm in a good mood, to write down all the good memories and qualities of that friend and that they do care about me, value me as a friend etc. and then when I start worrying about someone trying to 'steal' them, I read that list. It can be soothing, but I'm not sure if it'll help you.

It's great that you have been working on your social anxiety. I'm wondering if you have ever had counselling? Jealousy can be an interesting topic in counselling and it can give you the space to explore your feelings and figure out how to deal with them, rather than let them get in the way of things.

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