Dear Captain Awkward,
Three years ago I picked a new flatmate from a bunch of randoms-off-the-internet and this person turned into one of my besties. Even better, she had a bunch of wicked-cool friends who are now my friends as well, and I’ve brought my own pals into the mix as well.
One of these friends used to be really busy all the time with work, but has recently settled into a more normal-hours job and has been spending a lot more time with my former flatmate (we’ve now all moved to a big city and live separately). I learnt a long time ago that I can’t stand jealous friends and I aim not to be one. I love it when my friends are friends, and as long as they don’t deliberately exclude me, I’m happy for them to hang without me.
But this friend has lately seemed to be rubbing it in my face that the two of them are spending time together without me and are planning to move in together. She also mentions frequently that several of the group have known each other since they were 5 yrs old, and I’m just a recent addition. I don’t know about you, but I personally think it’s how well you know a person, not how long.
It feels to me like this person is jealous of my friendship with former-flatmate, which I can understand. The problem is that it feels so very high school, and I also thought she and I were getting closer when we were on a recent holiday without former-flatmate (and I thought we bonded), so I’m disappointed that this has reverted back to an apparent rivalry that I don’t wish to partake in.
I’ve been too afraid to mention it to any co-friends in case they think I’M jealous of THEM being friends, but I’ve recently heard word that actually I’m not the only one getting the mean girls treatment and everyone is sick of the behaviour.
BUT, no one has spoken up, and I’m not sure if it’s worth getting into a major drama over. Former-flatmate still texts/messages me all the time so I know she still cares (and is poss oblivious), even if I haven’t seen her without mean-girl for months.
So I’ve got two questions: How do I broach this with our co-friends to not sound like a high-school bitch; and do I/how do I broach this with either former-flatmate so she knows what’s going on (if she doesn’t see it herself) and (more terrifyingly) with mean-girl herself?
–Thought I’d Left High School
Dear High School:
Don’t broach! Don’t confront!
Just say “That’s great!”
“Friend and I are getting a place together!”
“That’s great!” “She’s a great roommate, you are lucky!”
“We’ve all known each other since we were five, and you’re the new girl!”
“That’s great!” “It’s great to have friends who knew you when!” “I’ve so enjoyed getting to know all of you!”
She might find this behavior really irritating and insincere. And that will make her avoid you. Which is better than her passive-aggressively baiting you, so count it as a win. Just because someone’s trying to hand you a sack full of their insecurities doesn’t mean you have to take it, open it up, pull them out one by one, and deal with them. Friendship is primal stuff, and she’s obviously trying to sort out something about her place in the pecking order and deal with some jealousy. No rule says you have to participate in that process.
Give her a lot of space at social events. Admit to yourself that you don’t like her, so don’t feel like you have to invite her to everything. Admit to yourself that she doesn’t like you, so if she’s throwing a birthday party for herself and inviting you out of obligation, you can just be busy that day. Make as little effort possible where she is concerned, and let the people who have known her since she was five sort out the rest.
It is still Winter Pledge Drive Week. Thanks to all who have donated so far! Have you seen where people are suggesting ideas for Captain Awkward swag?