Do You Feel Inadequate When Comparing Yourself to a Friend?

A Perfect Friend

We all know someone that we aspire to be like.  That seemingly perfect person who has it all together.

It’s one thing to have aspirations, but quite another to feel inadequate when comparing yourself to someone – particularly a friend.

One of the best things about true friendship is that you feel accepted and appreciated for your similarities as well as your differences; for your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

When you have a friend who always knows what to say, what to do, and how to dress, it’s natural to sometimes feel you don’t measure up.  But it’s also important to remember that you wouldn’t be friends if you weren’t contributing something to your relationship.

Don’t Let Jealousy In

Feelings of not being good enough happen to everyone and it’s difficult to admit that you are having those thoughts.  You end up blaming your self-assured, happy friend by projecting the negative feelings you have about yourself onto her. 

It’s not kind or considerate to yourself or your friend to let those feelings last too long.  Remind yourself when you believe your friend is guilty and responsible for your negative feelings that this is when you need to distrust yourself and take a pause. 

  • Your feelings are your own.  Only you are responsible for them.
  • Figure out what your intense feelings are.  Are you afraid?  Hurt?  Angry?  Critical of yourself and feeing inadequate?  Is this an old pattern rearing its head?  Any feelings of being wronged are about you or something in your past – not your friend.
  • Ask yourself, “Except for my own worries, how is my friend affecting my life?”  Chances are you will rediscover the many qualities your friend has that you admire.

Take a look at what your friend does, how she presents herself physically and in attitude.  Is there something you could emulate?  Not in a defeating manner, but imitating to try something new in style, attitude, or behavior.  You might find yourself inspired and taking better care of yourself.

Be True to Yourself

The etiquette rule of always showing respect doesn’t just apply to how we treat other people.  It applies to how we treat ourselves, too.  

Keeping self-respect intact is one of the best ways to deal with feelings of inadequacy.

However, these feelings do come up once in a while.  It’s simply part of being human.  But a shared friendship gives you the privilege of seeking advice and comfort from your friend.  Just as you would be there for her.

You could ask her, “Jenny, I am exasperated with myself for being so self-critical!  What’s your secret to feeling confident and composed?”

You may find out that although Jenny seems confident and composed to you, she doesn’t feel that way very often.

On the flip side of this situation, Jenny could also be full of herself.  Knowing you’re not always confident, she uses a few opportunities to boost her ego.

If your pause to examine your negative feelings yields suspicion that this is true, it’s worth investigating.  But don’t accuse her with, “Jenny, you are pretty conceited and just want to show me up in looks.”

Take a soft approach – after all, she is a friend, “Jenny, the last three times you talked about not ordering fried food, you told me that ‘It’s just something we need to get on top of.’  I feel that what you’re really saying is that I’m out of control and overweight.  I’m not perfect, but I would like not to talk about eating fried food anymore.  I’m sure you don’t mean to criticize me, but sometimes my brain fools me into thinking you are.”

Listen to what your friend has to say about the situation.  Keep in mind a true friend should be honest with you, but should also be supportive.

A Friend Indeed

One thing is for sure: friends should not allow contention to come between them and love is the deepest bond of friendship. 

In Romans 12:9 Paul states, “Let love be genuine.  Love one another with brotherly [or sisterly] affection.”  When we let opinions of other people’s motives come between us we break a commandment of friendship to overcome pettiness and smallness.

A responsible friend will locate and get rid of false beliefs about others when those beliefs hinder your friendship.  Rather than give in to envy and feel inadequate, find ways to emulate and support your friend.  

Is she known for being a charismatic person?  Discover what makes her so and try those qualities on for yourself.  Did she get an article published?  Congratulate her with true gusto.  She’ll surely help you celebrate your accomplishments as well.

Remember times when someone has resented you for an accomplishment or a quality you possess.  It feels awful.

Celebrate your friendship by celebrating your individuality and the things that create the bond you share.  A true friend is a true treasure.

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