The time: Saturday night. The place: A bustling bar in the centre of town. The players: 5 twentysomethings; 2 of whom are a couple and 3 who are single (including me and my friend E). Everything is going swimmingly. Drinks and conversation are flowing, the music is great and the atmosphere's just right until...a guy spots E and makes it quite clear he's interested. So everyone else starts laying the groundwork; people strategically swap places so that the two couldn't help but "accidentally" bump into each other, one of us goes over to the guy to tell him E's name and even I try to convince E to go over and talk to him (she doesn't believe in making the first move!) Then after 45 minutes of trying, just as the likelihood of the plans coming to fruition is looking increasingly remote, BAM...conversation ensues and kisses and mobile numbers are exchanged. Mission accomplished! So tell me this...why did I not feel happy for her? Why did I wish it hadn't happened? Why was I feeling increasingly down?
Now, I meant what I said to her...I genuinely wanted her to start talking to him. They were obviously interested in each other and it would have been a shame if the opportunity had been missed. And I see my friends in relationships, and other than the odd wistful "I wish I had my someone special", they don't have a negative effect. I watched my best friend J get married and it was one of the happiest occasions in my life, and I feel the same happiness whenever I see her and her husband together, as they're such a good match. So again I ask: why did this hurt me so?
I do have some theories, some which I feel are more relevant than others, but all containing at least a grain of truth.
- Was I annoyed that my friends weren't putting in a similar effort to set me up with someone? This is probably the weakest of my theories. Yes, I do get my paranoid moments where I think that my friends don't really like me that much, but to be fair, I hadn't seen anyone who I was interested in, and even if they had tried to set me up with someone, I probably wouldn't have been interested anyway as I'm notoriously picky!
- Was my lack of self esteem the cause of my jealousy? I think this definitely played a part. I don't think I'm particularly physically attractive, and so I think I may well have seen the fact that someone was interested in E as a reflection on my attractiveness. Men are often interested in her when we're on a night out, therefore she must be better looking than I am (at least in my head, if not in real life.)
- Am I scared of being alone? In a word, yes! E and I have both been single for a while, so I suppose I might be scared of being on my own if she started a relationship with someone new. She might not be my best friend, but we are very close and she's the friend I see most of, as J lives a couple of hours away. Now, I know full well she's not the type of person who'd drop her friends if a guy came along, but it didn't make any difference to my thoughts on Saturday night! I hate the thought of being the only single girl in my circle of friends. I suppose with this one I'm feeling a bit like House in S4, where he's coming to terms with Wilson having a new girlfriend, or even like Holmes in the new Sherlock Holmes film, when he seems to be less than happy at the thought of Watson getting married. But this is where the similarities end...unlike those two characters, I wouldn't stoop to sabotage to try and ensure that she remains single! I always give her honest advice and I want her to be happy...that's why I encouraged her to go and talk to the guy at the bar and also why we spent hours together beforehand picking out an outfit that she felt happy in, as she was having a fat day and feeling pretty down in the dumps. And I know she'd do the same for me. Which is why I'd be horrified if she knew I felt this way.
So, there we are. I appreciate that I may raise some strong opinions with this post...I fully expect to. If you think that I'm horrible then, as much as it would hurt me to hear, then so be it...I don't exactly like this side of me either but it's something that I've got to deal with somehow. And I thought that maybe writing it down might be the best place to start...