This memory has been burning on my mind lately, so I’ll rant about it. Lots of social circles have that friend who will almost never be happy for anything good that happens in your life. They’ll always put you down.

Seriously, why can’t you be happy when something happens to your friends? If you’re truly a friend to someone, why do you need to be in competition with them?

Here’s just a few examples of my interactions with one of these “friends” from back in the day. I threw away seven years of my life hanging with this person.

I tell him I finally upgraded from agonizingly slow dial-up internet to broadband (it’s 2002 mind you).

“It’s not as fast as my internet.”

I tell him I got a new job (in 2003).

“You don’t make as much as I make.”

I used to have a theory about what triggers this behavior. I had thought it was a rough childhood perhaps. But then again, I know lots of people who have rough childhoods and turn out to be wonderful people. I also know people who had privileged upbringings who are like this. 

This personality type is similar to the Backstabbing Coworker which I’ll talk about another day. 

I’m not a One-Percenter, but I’m comfortable in my lifestyle. I’ve got friends who make more than me and I’m genuinely happy for them. Two particular friends come to mind:

  • One busted his butt through college for almost a decade, living with his parents, working a foodservice job to pay for school. He’s making fantastic money now, married to a wonderful wife, just bought a house and they recently had a baby. His life is aces.
  • I have another good friend who got one college degree, decided the industry of choice was not for him, and went back for another degree after moving back in with his parents. He’s now very happy in his second field of study, owns a house, and he’s getting serious in his current relationship with his wonderful girlfriend. 

Let me reiterate. They both make more than me and I don’t have one iota of jealousy for them. If you’re one of these toxic individuals who always puts down others’ successes, learn to understand that you may have different goals than other people. You may be in a different phase of your life than other people. Learn to put yourself in another’s shoes.

I know the obvious answer is to not hang around these people, but if you’re someone with low self esteem you can develop the same dynamic that abusive relationships have, even in friendships.