Unfortunately we all need to deal with jealous people sometimes (and may even have an attack of the green-eyed monster ourselves every now and then!). When people are envious, there are several different ways that they attack, so look out for them and make sure you don’t do any of these yourself…
Type 1. The non-attack attacker
If something absolutely amazing happens to you, she’ll completely ignore it and instead focus on the one thing that is going badly in your life. She’ll vindictively ask you in front of a guy she knows you secretly have a crush on, ‘So, how’s your love life?’ when she knows that the most meaningful relationship you’ve had this century is with the local Chinese restaurant delivery guy. Yet she’ll completely ignore that you have just won the Nobel Peace Prize and that your picture was on the front page of every newspaper worldwide.
Type 2. The ‘Oh, she only got that because…’
She’ll undermine you by saying patronizingly, ‘Hmm. Yes, it’s great she got that job, but….you know she did wear a very low-cut top to that interview…’ Or, ‘He’s only going out with her because she’s got big boobs’ or any number of catty combinations.
Type 3. The ‘You’re so lucky!’
She’s difficult to cope with because for some reason it makes her feel better to put your personal or professional success down to good fortune. She’ll totally ignore the years of career struggle it took for you to get that one ‘lucky break’. Or she’ll conveniently forget that you only went out once a month for two years so you could save enough money for a deposit on a fabulous flat.
It is true that behind most ‘overnight successes’ there are ten years of hard work, so don’t cut down your friends by putting their hard-won achievement down to ‘luck’.
Type 4. The ‘joker’
If your friend makes lots of jokes at your expense and thinks it’s ‘hilarious’ to point out embarrassing events from your past – which are completely out of context and actually pretty humiliating – then don’t just laugh along. Using hidden sarcasm or ‘amusing yet scathing’ remarks is cowardly and you’ll probably find that, if you stand up to her, she’ll back down fast.
Type 5. The blatant bitch
She’ll twist the facts any which way she likes, to suit her insecurities. Everyone loves a good gossip every now and then, but not if it’s vindictive or hurts someone. There’s not much you can do about other people’s issues, but you can control – well, to some extent – who you spend your time with. First, realise that people who put you down are just advertising their own insecurities and hang-ups. Before you move on, at least try to change the way she talks to you and give the friendship a chance to recover. Have a think about why you’ve let her get away with the way she’s treated you in the past and the next time she tries to ‘slip the knife in’ say, ‘That felt like a put-down. What did you mean by that exactly?’ If she responds by saying you’re being too sensitive, say, ‘You need to stop putting me down and, by the way, saying I’m too sensitive felt like a put-down too.’ If she’s prepared to change her belittling behaviour then this could be the beginning of a true friendship. If not, you’ll have learnt the skills you need to stop being a victim.
Extract from Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette by Kathy Buchanan (Penguin, RRP $24.95).