How to handle jealous friends
You’ve known your friend for years and have shared intimate details about just about everything in your life. So it can come as a nasty surprise if their claws come out the moment you date someone new. Discover how to handle tricky friends when dating.
Is it jealousy?
Don’t write off your friend as ‘jealous’ too quickly. Consider all the reasons for their cold behaviour and assess your own actions. You’ve got every right to spend most of your time with a new partner but you’ve also got a responsibility to your friends to check up on them if you think something’s amiss. New love can be all-consuming but you shouldn’t just look to your friends when you’re down and neglect them when you’re happy. This would be understandably hurtful.
If you still think their reaction is unfair, consider what motivates it. Perhaps they feel left out, particularly if you are dating a mutual friend? Think back to when you were single and see it from their perspective. Being on your own can be lonely so a little empathy goes a long way.
At best a good friend will share your excitement about your new relationship. They will be happy to discuss your hopes and fears and will probably ask questions about your partner out of concern for your welfare. It’s when they start dishing out snide comments and reporting rumours about your new love that they’ve overstepped the mark.
What should you do?
Their behaviour might be uncalled for but it’s not worth losing a close friendship over a new romance. Make time for your friend as well as your partner. Giving them the cold shoulder too is a quick way to lose them altogether.
Speak to them directly
Waiting till everything blows over is a recipe for disaster. Talk to them as soon as possible to hear their case as well as tell them yours. Communication is vital and will allow you to confront and hopefully dispel bad feelings before they’ve festered into something worse.
Jealousy might not be the problem. Be aware that your friend could have good grounds for their behaviour. Perhaps he or she genuinely believes you and your new partner are incompatible. What you have construed as cold behaviour could be your friend being hesitant to express happiness at a relationship they feel is doomed. Like bad hairstyles and fashion choices, they might be hoping that time will help you see the light and that it’s not worth damaging a friendship over.
If your friend does express concerns, try not to react defensively. Listen hard to their reasons. When you’re caught up in the passion of a new relationship, good friends can sometimes judge things better from a more detached perspective. Otherwise, agree to disagree and be civil. If their concerns turn out to be unfounded, they’ll probably apologise, and if they don’t, you’ll need their friendship later.
Show that you appreciate them
Once they have told you their feelings, reassure them that you value their friendship. Making time for a new partner and old friends is a delicate balancing act. Jealousy of a new partner is usually a fleeting emotion that can easily be overcome.
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