- Each week, we respond to a question from our readers and give advice and resources they can turn to
- This week, we help a teen who feels insecure about their pal spending time with other people
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I always get jealous when I see my friends hanging out with their other friends. I feel like I’m being left out. What should I do?
It’s totally normal to experience jealousy in any close relationship, including friendships. It’s usually related to our own fears or insecurities, such as the fear of being replaced, abandoned, or betrayed.
These negative thoughts can lead to stronger emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness. It’s great that you recognise your jealousy; if you don’t deal with it, it could affect your long-term emotional health and interpersonal relationships, and you’re taking a step in the right direction.
As per your request, we have some advice for you:
Work on your self-confidence
As we mentioned, insecurity can be a big contributor to jealousy, and one way to overcome it is to work on your confidence.
For example, think about the characteristics you possess that helped you make friends in the first place – you could even make a list of these qualities to remind yourself. Engage in activities you love and excel at for a confidence boost.
Use this as an opportunity to strengthen your friendship
Have you considered sharing these feelings with your friend? It’s a very personal choice, and there are many reasons why you may not be comfortable bringing up the topic. But it could be good for your friendship! You’re not blaming your friend – make sure to be very clear that you are responsible for your own emotions – but as your pal, they would want to know what is going on with you.
Of course, it’s always awkward to talk about jealousy and insecurity, and it can be uncomfortable to listen to it, too. But communication is important for any relationship and ultimately, it could make your friendship stronger.
Spend more quality time with your pal, and get to know their other friends
It sounds obvious, but everyone likes spending time with people who are fun to be around and who invest time and energy into the relationship. Suggest activities you and your friend can do together; maybe you can learn a new skill, or explore a new neighbourhood together. You can even invite your friend’s friends so you can get to know them better – we’re sure your pal would appreciate seeing you make an effort to get to know their other friends, and you could even become close to them as well.
Remember that it’s normal to get different things from different friendships; even though your friend has other friends, it doesn’t mean they don’t value you.
Sincerely, Friend of a Friend
The question was answered by clinical psychologists from the Department of Health under Shall We Talk, a mental health initiative launched with the Advisory Committee on Mental Health.