We hate it when our friends become successful Morrisey once warbled, and boy was he on to something. When you blog you will undoubtedly come across the odd 'hater' as the kids call them. Someone who has just popped in to troll in an attempt to fill the hollow void caused by a lack of love and attention in their lives. But those people, the 'internet people', you can deal with because you don't know them, and their comments really don't matter. It's the shade that's thrown at you by people you know that hurts, especially if they are supposed to be your friends. When I first started to get invited to events that can only be described as swanky, one particular celebrity shindig invitation I received prompted one of my friends to screw her face up in puzzlement and say "But why you? Why would they want you there?" I laughed this off; we all have momentary lapses of good manners and speak before we think. However, a couple of weeks later when a group of us were hanging out together, a particular celebrity's name came up and the same friend exclaimed "They invited Sarah to her party! Can you believe it! Makes no sense!". I didn't make big deal out of it, but it was a shame to realise that she had no regrets about her previous comment; this was something that was clearly making her resentful enough to be the total opposite of supportive.
Recently I started a business with a friend, and did not expect it to be such a surprising (and unsettling) way to find out just which of my friends supports me. I've had a range of responses from warm-hearted congratulations and best wishes, to backhanded compliments, to flat out insults or pointed ignoring of my email announcement. I welcome constructive criticism, but I hadn't braced myself for any actual negativity from friends. Although it's only been from a small handful of people, it's been disappointing to say the least. I've decided to regard any kind of immature and unkind responses as a sad window into that person's soul, and a projection of the way they feel about themselves. I'm not saying my new business venture is something so awe-inspiringly amazing that people are wailing with jealousy, it's an embryo of an idea that's just getting started. But for friends to go out of their way to not show support couldn't be anything other than envy rearing it's ugly head (unless some of my friends are sociopaths, lets hope not eh?).
There's a terrific community spirit in the blogosphere, but envy is also rife - I'm guilty of it too. A camera company invited me on an amazing day out, an experience at a huge media event that I would never have been able to have without their influence. A week later I found out that the same camera company were taking a group of bloggers on a fancy trip abroad. A flash of "oh, I would have preferred that" crossed my mind before I told myself sternly that I was lucky to have had such a brilliant day out with them. I'm not saying all bloggers are having moments of Veruca Salt-style foot stamping, wanting what everyone else has on their blog. Most people are supportive of the success and opportunities that others gain. It's jolly nice to see someone whose blog you love doing well, and on a more selfish note: each bit of blogger success contributes towards the strengthening and stabilising of the blogging industry as a whole.
It's only human nature to feel envy. It's a form of self-criticism, a mental process of checking yourself and how you measure up to social standards. We want what others have because we feel we aren't good enough, or because we feel under-appreciated, or that we're getting left behind - and there's nothing like good things happening to people close to us to make us feel insecure about our own lot. No wonder envy can make us think dark thoughts or even say and do mean things. It's how you deal with your own envious outbursts towards friends that shows strength of character (i.e suck it up and apologise), and how you recognise envious slights from others but don't let them affect you. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." And whilst I'm throwing out quotes and song lyrics in this post, this one (often wrongly attributed to Dr. Seuss) is a brilliant way to deal with all kinds of shade throwers: