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Dilemma: my friend is jealous of my success

Katharine Whitehorn / 06 January 2016

Agony aunt Katharine Whitehorn answers a question from a reader hurt by her friend's jealousy towards her success as a writer.

Woman writing
A reader questions whether she should confront a friend jealous of her recent success as a writer

Dilemma: a jealous friend

I have a friend who was an actress many years ago. She likes to name-drop and loves taking centre stage and showing off. I have accepted that this is her character – until now.

As two single independent women we have got along fine, but recently I have become a budding writer. I have led quite an interesting and eventful life and I have written about it and had it self-published. I have also written short stories and had a book launch.

I asked my friend to come to my book launch but she declined. She has not shown any interest in my projects, and when I asked her if she'd like to see a copy she said "No, I don't think so".

I still invite her to join any outings I organise, as she does me, but I feel we need to talk about how she's hurt me.

It may come to a point where I avoid her company and thus cut off my nose to spite my face.

Katharine Whitehorn's advice

I don't think talking about it would do any good – it would just make her feel more disgruntled, I expect. It seems to me quite clear that your stepping into the limelight that no longer shines on her is painful for her, especially as actors live and breathe for attention.

But I don't see why you shouldn't just accept that she is jealous of you, not fed up with you; and talk to other friends about your splendid new writing success. After all, one doesn't talk about money to people known to be very hard up, or exult in a son's shining success to someone whose boy as a black eye and an Asbo. 

Mostly, I'd say, friends relate to just one or two aspects of our characters or interests. It's not realistic to expect anyone always to be enthralled by everything we do.


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