One of my friends has spent the last few of months training for a Big Event. It’s the kind of Big Event that requires both physical and mental fortitude, the kind of Big Event that pushes you outside your comfort zone and then some. She’s been training like a trooper – hours on the road, in the gym and in the yoga studio – to ensure her body is in peak condition when the day of the Big Event arrives.
Needless to say, she’s pretty pumped for the Big Event. She’s proud of the work she’s putting in, the blisters she’s sporting and the improvements she’s seeing. As she should be. So imagine what a come-down it was for her to discover that two of her good friends had been discussing her behind her back – all under the guise of being ‘concerned’ for her.
Has anyone else noticed how often girls do this? I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself at times. We’re ‘concerned’ that someone has been spending too much time in the gym, or they’re working too hard, or they’re eating too healthily. Often, I think this ‘concern’ is really just thinly veiled jealousy. Someone who is focused and driven, who eats well and who excels in the workplace just reminds us of our own perceived failures – the workouts we’ve skipped this week, the promotion we missed, that chocolate bar we had at 3pm and so on.
Let me point out that sometimes these concerns are valid – I’ve seen it in friends and I’ve been there myself. But if you’re really, truly concerned, doesn’t it make more sense to have a conversation with the person you’re concerned for, rather than discussing it behind their back?
At some point in time we seemed to start seeing each other as competition – we forgot that one woman’s success does not constitute another woman’s failure. But this is not some kind of Hunger Games-style, winner takes all competition; there’s plenty of room for all of us! Measuring yourself against someone else is never a good idea (easier said than done, I know) but it’s even worse when you take that measurement and punish someone else for it because you feel you don’t stack up.
My advice? I’m glad you asked. Next time you find your mind start to wander into the dangerous territory of being a ‘concerned’ friend ask yourself – ‘what am I truly feeling here?’ If you still feel concerned for her welfare in any way, talk to her. Ask her if she’s ok. But if you find those feelings of ‘concern’ stem from a place that feels a little more like envy? Remind yourself that life is not a competition, that her achievements are not a reflection on you and be proud to call her your friend! Then give her a big ol’ hug and tell her you love her – because that’s what friends are for!