Why Do We Envy Others? We all experience jealousy from time to time, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that we are above it. Envy is a complicated set of emotions that comes from a simple desire: you want what you perceive someone else has.
Envy, according to Buunk et al. (2012), is a reaction to another person who has the accomplishments, talents, or attributes that we desire, and it entails feeling inferior in contrast to that person.
When jealousy is aroused in a friendship, it may cause major stress and conflict. Friendship is based on trust and mutual support, therefore competition—the essence of envy—seriously gnaws at the foundation of friendship. It’s tough to relax and trust a buddy who doesn’t want the best for you.
The great majority of people will feel envious of a buddy at some time in their lives. However, doing envy research is difficult since researchers must rely on self-reporting, and how honest would a person be when filling out a questionnaire or answering questions from a stranger?
Psychotherapists, on the other hand, hear about a wide range of jealous sentiments from their clients on a daily basis. In my therapy practise, I’ve discovered that jealousy may be especially strong between close friends—and that seven problems cause envy more than any others.
Why Do We Envy Others?
Examine the list of triggers below and consider which ones are most relevant to your personal friendship history:
Money is important. If one buddy brings in or has access to a lot of money, with more to spare, while another lives day to day or paycheck to paycheck, it can taint a bond.
Friendships are influenced by differences in financial status throughout the lifespan.
Social comparisons can be more frequent and severe in communities or social groups where spouses earn a lot of money.
Someone with less money is vividly aware of how much more money their peers have in this income stratum.
Status of Relationship
If finding a love partner is a goal for you, discrepant relationship statuses might cause you to feel deeply envious if your closest friend is in a love relationship.
I’ve had both men and women sit on my office sofa and express their anguish and resentment that a close friend “always has someone” but they don’t.
The envious friend participates in frequent social comparison, which is a severe detriment to one’s self-esteem.
The jealous buddy muses, perhaps obsesses, about the contrasts between them: Is it because he is more attractive? Because he has a higher-paying job? Is it because she has a more flirty personality? Is she more enjoyable to be around?
Children and Fertility
Fertility may be a very combustible source of jealousy in friendships between women in their twenties, thirties, and even forties, since more women are having children later in life than in the past.
Consider this: Jessica becomes pregnant while Anne has been undergoing fertility treatments for two years and has yet to conceive. Is Anne completely overjoyed for Jessica?
Of sure, we care about our friends, but we care far more about filling our own needs. Furthermore, we can generally only feel really joyful for someone else when we have first felt pleased for ourselves.
In other words, Anne adores her friend and wishes for her friend to become pregnant; she just wants for them both to get pregnant. Because unhappiness attracts company, if Anne is unable to conceive, there is a small part of her
Because sorrow attracts company, if Anne can’t become pregnant, there’s a small part of her (the jealous part) that wishes her friend couldn’t, too.
Attractiveness on a Physical Level
This envy trigger is most active in early adulthood, particularly in one’s 20s and, to a lesser extent, in one’s 30s, but beauty presumably peaks during the identity-seeking, self-conscious teen years.
Men and women frequently place a greater importance on physical appearance at these times than they will later in life.
Individuals with poor self-esteem frequently exaggerate their flaws in this area and tend to envy attractive peers.
According to such people, the friend perceived as more attractive is “so lucky” and likely has an easier time attracting dates.
Attractiveness may also cause jealousy in friendships in one’s forties and beyond, particularly in social settings where looks are highly prized and cosmetic surgery is frequently pursued.
In such circumstances, the jealousy may be over who is ageing better or who has done more “work.”
Why Do We Envy Others? Dimensions
If you’ve never suffered with your weight, you might not realise how much being overweight may impair a person’s self-esteem.
While some overweight men and women are unaffected by their weight, the majority of overweight people I work with believe it has a negative influence on many aspects of their daily life.
Having a close friend who is skinny might cause intense jealousy in persons who are self-conscious about their weight.
Even among adults, this inner child’s voice persists when you consider why you’re overweight while your friend is thin: It’s not fair.
With the prevalence of the sexist phrase “thin bitch,” we witness evidence of weight envy in everyday interactions.
Professional Achievement (especially in the same career)
Men and women usually do not envy a buddy’s professional achievement; instead, they are more likely to envy that successful buddy if he or she earns more money.
Having a buddy in the same career who is more successful, on the other hand, might cause considerable jealousy.
Use of Social Media
According to a recent research, social media might elicit strong sentiments of jealousy.
This makes sense, because people self-select photographs of themselves at their happiest—frolicking on the beach with a lover or spouse; a group snapshot of beaming pals; or family images that proclaim to the world, “Yes, we have it all.”
Read also: Narcissistic woman in relationship, And Its Characteristics Read also: How to overcome envy?