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I've been friends with Anne for 10 years now. We initially bonded over the fact that we both want to be musicians. While I've been actively working on it, she hasn't really done anything about it, she just vaguely says she wants to be a musician someday.

A few years after I met Anne, I went abroad to study. I kept in touch with her while I was away. One day, when we were talking on the phone, she just blurted this out: "I'm really jealous of you because you got to study abroad, and it makes it really hard for me to talk to you."

From then on, I never talked to her about studying abroad, or anything related, because I didn't want her to feel bad. We drifted apart, and though we still kept in touch, it wasn't the same as before. A few years later, she got the chance to study abroad, and turned it down because she was afraid of living on her own (she has always lived with her parents). I was really irritated by this after she said she was jealous, but didn't say anything.

Some time later she moved to a different country. A few months ago, there was a conference in our town for aspiring musicians. I casually mentioned it to her and she got really excited and told me I had to go. Once I got back, I gave Anne a brief summary of what I learned, because I was afraid she might be jealous of me for getting to go. (this conference is held every year and she could have gone before, but never went. She couldn't go this time as she had moved away).

Anne messaged me back, really excited, and asked me to give her all the details of what I learned, so I did. The way I see it, we both have the same passions and if our roles were reversed, I'd want to know everything she learned. I told her everything so that it was like she'd been there herself. She never replied. I waited, but after 2 weeks it became obvious she wasn't going to reply and I started thinking that maybe she was jealous about this too. Eventually I messaged her something really generic, I didn't say anything about the conference or the fact that she never replied, and she didn't mention it either.

Since then, we have drifted apart even more. Now all our communication is initiated by me. It was always like that, but after I started the conversation she usually kept it going like old times. But now, she just gives me some generic reply and doesn't bother to keep the conversation going.

I don't really know what to do because I don't want to lose her as a friend. I don't understand how she can be jealous of me about things she also has the chance to do. I've had problems too, life and death problems, and she knows about those. I just don't understand her, because I've never been jealous of anyone. I want our friendship to go back to the way it was before, but I'm also not sure if I want to be friends with her if she feels negatively about me. How do I make sure I don't lose this friendship?

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It seems to me that you lost her as a friend (if she ever really was one) long ago. I think you need to just accept that whatever this was, it has run its course. It's time to move on.

It appears you and your friend aren't really passionate about the same things, and she has given strong indicators that she has no particular interest in maintaining communication.

A genuine friend would not be jealous about you having the opportunity to study abroad. She would have been happy for you.

This bit really clinches it I believe...

Since then, we have drifted apart even more. Now all our communication is initiated by me. It was always like that, but after I started the conversation she usually kept it going like old times.

You don't actually have a friendship with this person if you are always initiating the communication, and she isn't particularly bothered whether she responds or not.

It's time for you to find some better friends, who share common interests and passions, and let this other person naturally fade out of your life.

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This really feels like an overthinking situation. People regularly tell me they are jealous of some opportunity I have worked hard for. I either say "I know, isn't it great?" and share my joy or "been a long road but so worth it!" and share my pride. Part of her "jealousy" may include that she is too timid to do such a thing herself, so your confusion that she didn't do it after saying she was jealous may be misplaced.

If you want to be friends with Anne just be friends with Anne. Stop fussing about whether she's jealous or not and stop managing yourself to try to make sure you don't accidentally say something to make her feel jealous. If you want to talk about something you've done, do that in a way you enjoy, not in a "you-couldn't-be-there-here's-the-summary-of-the-whole-thing-I'm-doing-you-a-favour" way. Relax. Love your life. Let her see you love your life. Let her ask you questions about things she's interested in, and answer her with enthusiasm and delight when she does.

Walking on eggshells around a person rarely saves a friendship. Generosity of spirit and shared passions are what keep a friendship going. Instead of minimizing things like music that are important to you both, embrace them. If she really doesn't want to talk to you because you are succeeding where she held back, you won't be able to fix that by holding back.

  • Thanks Kate, your answer makes sense. It never occurred to me that she might be jealous because she was too timid, not because she didn't have the opportunity. The only thing I'd add is that when she told me she was jealous, it was clearly something she was really upset about, something that really affected her, and it would have been almost heartless to reply by saying "I know, isn't it great?" or anything else really. – souzan Aug 5 '18 at 17:56
  • Well, you could reply something like "I also wish you could do this" and see where that goes. – Kate Gregory Aug 5 '18 at 18:25
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    I think the main concern here is that Anne's jealousy is actually negatively affecting their friendship. She literally said that it makes it hard to talk to him. I've never heard anyone say something like that in a joking manner, usually it sticks to something along the lines of "Wow, I'm so jealous!" The advice of just ignoring the concerns doesn't seem to answer the OP's question. I think a more constructive answer would incorporate OP's concerns of Anne's jealousy and offer ways to communicate those concerns to her. Communication is important in any social relationship. – user13232774 Aug 7 '18 at 2:07
  • In 10 years of friendship, she once mentioned that one particular conversation was hard for her because she was jealous. I don't think that should define the whole friendship. The fading could just be a matter of time and diverging interests, or could actually have been caused by the restraint and attempt not to make her jealous. My advice is to be "all in" and be yourself and that's someone Anne wants to be friends with, or it's not. – Kate Gregory Aug 7 '18 at 2:18
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Let me just focus on the jealousy aspect: why wouldn't she be jealous? Jealousy boils down to a feeling of resentment for something you could or should have had equally well, and all of the things you tell of are of that kind! Of course, it's her own damn fault for being too chickenshit about life, but do you think that this decreases the resentment? Basically your acts are rubbing it in for her that she's wasting her life by not actually doing what she wants.

Now there isn't really a lot you can do here I think. She feels locked out and she is holding the key herself, and you remind her of it. So while she is still holding onto that key, she tries blending you out in order not to make her feel she needs to change anything.

Now this is of course just guessing, and asking her directly is not going to deliver a lot more information if that guess is sort of in the right ball park because the whole point of such a behavior pattern is not to think too much about stuff like that.

This is just for shining a bit more light on a possible explanation for the "jealousy" bit which you feel does not make sense. Of course it does not make sense even after explanation, but in a quite more roundabout way. Jealousy rarely tends to lead to useful results.

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