Reader Q & A: One-Upsmanship among friends



I am a 26-year old female. I have a problem with female friendships. It really annoys me when a friend tries to compete with me. I'll give you an example. My boyfriend recently sent me flowers at work. I told one of my friends and she did not show any happiness for me. Instead, she started talking about her wedding bouquet and how beautiful it was and stuff like that.

I always try to be nice to my friends when something nice happens to them and never start speaking about myself at that moment. I expect the same behavior when something nice happens to me. My problem is that when stuff like that happens it really affects me. Maybe I am overreacting but I just want to find a way of coping with it without messing up my female relationships.



Dear Disappointed,

When your friend heard about the flowers you received, she was only able to think about herself--so she inappropriately spewed out the statement about her wedding bouquet. Sometimes people are so envious of others, or else are so self-centered, that they only think about themselves.

If you want to preserve the relationship with this 'friend,' you need to be honest about how you feel. You could say something like, "Indulge me and give me a few minutes to feel good about the flowers I got---and then we'll talk about your bouquet." Maybe she'll get the hint that it isn't all about her (although I wouldn't bet money on that!)

I suspect that some of your friends are more competitive than others. Don't lump them all together. Perhaps, you can pick and choose. Focus on nurturing the relationships that are more reciprocal. Those are the friends who are more likely to be able to genuinely share your happiness.

You might like to read a prior post I recently wrote about envy among friends. I hope this is helpful to you.

My best,


Stressed out


An interview with Debbie Mandel, MA

Author of Turn On Your Inner Light and Changing Habits

Stress expert and life coach Debbie Mandel explains why some female friendships create stress, how women can recognize and lessen the stress of their relationships, and when you should simply give up and move on.

Are any of your friendships stressing you out? Read what Debbie has to say...

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