DEAR KELLY: I have four friends who have been best friends since fourth grade. We are all sophomores. A new girl started this year at our school. Her name is “Nicole.” For some reason, Nicole doesn’t like me and it’s creating lots of problems. I have no idea why Nicole doesn’t like me other than my house is a lot bigger than hers and I have a cute little car and she drives her mom’s old minivan.
I think she’s jealous of me and when I said that one of our other friends said that wasn’t true and I shouldn’t be so bold about that. My mom said that Nicole seems jealous because when she came to my house she kept telling my mom how beautiful our house way and how lucky I was to live there. It’s not like Nicole lives in a bad house, it’s just not like mine. And for homecoming she borrowed one of my friend’s dresses while I had a new dress, shoes, etc. She kept telling me how pretty my dress was and I wonder if she was jealous of the fact I had something really nice and expensive. I can’t help my family has money and it’s not fair she’s turning my friends against me just because I have more.
What bothers me the most is that I recently found out that they have a group text going that I wasn’t included in. When I asked one of my friends why I wasn’t, she just kind of shook me off and said that I’m not very friendly to Nicole and that they just didn’t want any drama on the group texting. I haven’t created any drama. Nicole has by not liking me. And now it feels like they are choosing her over me. My mom suggested I invite them all over for taco night. They asked if I was inviting Nicole and when I said no, they all couldn’t make it and everyone had some excuse on why they couldn’t come. It totally hurt my feelings and when I sent a group text telling them how hurt I was, no one replied.
Do you have any advice? I can’t believe they are leaving me out for Nicole when I haven’t done anything. How do I try and be nice to someone who is jealous of me?
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DEAR KERI: It seems like you may be misinterpreting Nicole based on what your friend told you. You seem to think she’s jealous of you but your good friend said that was not the case and you didn’t ask what the reason was. Maybe if you were open, you might have learned what the real issue was between you and Nicole. Sometimes what we think is the big issue means nothing to other person and we miss the mark on what is really happening.
Perhaps you need to change your approach to Nicole. Stop voicing your idea that she is jealous of you and that you have more than her. That thought process isn’t helping you, and it may be the cause of why she (and your other friends) are uncomfortable around you. When people come across as thinking they are better than others, it doesn’t reflect well and can turn people off. If you have a bigger house or new dress, see it as a blessing rather than a reason for others to be jealous of you. Talking about it or pointing it out makes it seem a bit braggish and pretentious.
Why not reach out to Nicole and see if she wants to meet for coffee? Tell her that perhaps you got off on the wrong foot and you want to start fresh and new with the new year. Apologize if you have said anything that has hurt her feelings and try to be humble when talking with her. Don’t mention you think she’s jealous of you or all you have, rather focus on building a friendship with her and being on the same level.
You mention how gracious she always is, telling you how beautiful your house is or your dress is. Maybe that is her way of reaching out to you, not because she’s jealous but because she’s trying to be nice and compliment you. If she notices something nice you are wearing, be flattered instead of seeing it as jealousy.
Don’t make Nicole the reason you are being excluded, look at what part of you might be contributing to this. Be mindful of how you are treating her and learn more about her and her story. Perhaps you care more about all that you have than Nicole does.
Try taco night again and invite Nicole this time. Making your friends choose between the two of you isn’t a wise strategy. Accept that your friends like Nicole and that she is part of the group. Stop seeing her as competition and see her as a chance to gain a new friendship.
Feeling replaced hurts. It feels like rejection and it’s painful. But it can also be a good lesson. If you need to branch out and meet new friends, now is the time. And if you need to do some self-reflection, this is a great time to do it.
Sometimes our most painful moments are the ones where we grow and learn the most.
Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email krichardson@ sacbee.com.