How to Be Happy for Your Friends’ Successes When Your Post-Grad Life Isn’t Going as Planned

In a world where social media lets you to compare every aspect of your life to someone’s, it’s easy to feel like you’re always a step behind. It’s even tougher when the person you’re comparing yourself to is a close friend. Overcoming your jealousy isn’t impossible, and here’s how you can start the process.

1. Accept and confront your feelings

Why are you feeling this way? Chances are it’s not your friends’ success that’s upsetting you, but your own insecurity that you may not measure up. Misery may love company, but your friend’s shining moment is not the time to throw yourself a pity party. Jealousy can destroy a relationship, so we’ve got nip it in the bud. In college it's easy to fall into trying to “keep up” with everyone around you and get the best grades, join the best organizations and snag the best internships, and it doesn't stop after graduation. Don't let your life became a game of trying to outdo everyone else. Not only is it emotionally and mentally draining, but it's a sure way to make yourself feel like you are less than. When you stop worrying about how the world perceives you, you'll no longer felt threatened when others around you accomplish great things.

Hannah Harshe, a University of Michigan sophomore, says she overcomes jealousy by reminding herself of all the positives in her life. “I have amazing roommates who make me laugh every day, I'm incredibly successful in my own way [and] I am so, so proud of who I am," she says. "There's no point in sitting around being jealous when you have a whole life that you made specifically for yourself.”

2. Talk it out

Okay, so you don’t have to say “Hey, you need to stop being so happy and successful because it makes me feel like I’m not.” (unless their not-so-humble bragging has reached an obscene level) but you can open up and share your struggles, and trust that your friend will be there for you like you were once there for them.

Samantha Khandaji, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, says she reaches out to friends outside of the situation. “My old roommate got a job right out of college and recently bought a house. I was like ‘Wow, I am nowhere near [that],’ but when people are seemingly one-upping you and you’re like, ‘How are they doing that?’ and it's nice to have friends to talk to to that you can confide in.” 

Related: 7 Ways To Create Strong Female Friendships

Don't be afraid to reach out for advice either. If your friend landed a great job, ask them how! Have them took over your resume or give you some interviewing tips. It's is a totally constructive way to discuss your feelings and be productive at the same time.

3. Realize your time will come

Someone else coming up doesn't mean you are going down, and the best way to overcome that feeling is to come to terms with where you are in life and be okay with it. 

“I feel like this time in our life is especially hard because until [now] it was a pretty clear path,” Samantha says. “Middle school, high school, undergrad and after that everyone starts choosing different things. Maybe you choose to focus on your relationship, or your career, or you keep going to school, but I had to become comfortable in the life path I’ve chosen, and I was happy for her.”

If your friends have moved away after college and you feel left behind, try to embrace your current environment instead of  "catch-up." If you moved back in with your parents, reach out to old friends who are in still the area. Join a fitness class or community club to step out of your comfort zone and make the most of your surroundings. Just because you're not exactly where you want to be doesn't mean you have to be miserable along the way. Your journey is yours and no one else's. The same goes for your friends. Everyone goes through different seasons in life, and the timing will not always work exactly how you’d like it to. That doesn't mean that you will never accomplish your goals, it just means you need keep chugging along, trust the process and have faith things will work out the way they were meant to.

Related: What To Do When A Friendship Is Falling Apart