It's only natural for friends to go through life milestones at the same time—snagging your first real apartment, figuring out what your 401(k) options are, or finally getting your own Netflix account rather than mooching off your parents'. So it stands to reason that all the weddings in a friend group seem to happen within a short time frame—opening the door for a lot of sharing about the planning process.
But what happens when one of your fellow brides-to-be has a wedding budget that's eight times the size of yours? Or what if she's opted to schedule her wedding two weeks before yours and snagged the exact food truck vendor you wanted? You may be dealing with an unwelcome emotion-envy. Read ahead for how to deal if you're feeling a pang of wedding-related jealousy with one of your pals.
Recognize the Signs
The first step to battling the green-eyed monster is knowing what to look for and why it happens. Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of The Worry Cure, says one of the first indicators of this type of envy is "when you hear that someone is doing better—in this case, has a bigger budget for the wedding or is inviting some coveted person" and you start having a negative reaction.
He adds, "You think that that this reflects on you, lowers you in the status hierarchy of friends and family, that people will think less of you because you don't have the big bash. As a result of this envy, you may feel worse about yourself and you may have hostile feelings toward the other person with the big wedding. You then may find yourself complaining about that person, how undeserving they are, what a terrible person they are, their looks, [and more]. By trying to lower the status of the other person you hope that the comparison with yourself will be less negative." If you find yourself trashing your high school friend who is also planning a fall wedding, envy may be at the root of your Negative Nancy vibes.
Focus on You
If you're getting hung up on the fact that your BFF got the swing band that you’ve been dying to hire for the past eight years, redirect your attention to who your day is actually about: you and your other half. "You might focus on your loving feelings, experience the love from your partner, look forward to the wonderful moments ahead after the wedding," Leahy says. "The wedding is much less important than the marriage." Duly noted.
Flip the Emotion Into Something Positive
Of course, having positive thoughts 100% of the time is simply impossible (just ask anyone waiting in a long line at the post office to buy stamps for save-the-dates). But that doesn’t mean envy can't be converted into a more positive emotion. "You might recognize that carrying around your envy only makes you feel worse—it leads to anger, depression, rumination, avoidance of people, undermining someone that you actually like," Leahy says.
"So, I would suggest turning your envy into admiration—and wish the other person well in their wedding and their marriage." Instead of getting annoyed that your girl is having a Kimye-level wedding while you’re clipping coupons, try to focus on how happy you are for your bestie, and how you can't wait to celebrate with her—and take selfies in front of that flower wall.
Make Room for Envy
If someone is envious of you—and come on, your style is on point, so it's bound to happen—Leahy suggests recognizing several things. First, he recommends "normalizing that envy is a universal emotion." Everyone has been there. Leahy also says it crucial to recognize that people are envious because they believe that you have something very positive (and you have nothing to feel guilty about), and adds that you shouldn't take it personally.
He also says that to undercut the tension, you can compliment the person who is envious of you "since this will help them feel less humiliated" and "realize that envy is part of friendships, along with many positive emotions—such as respect and love." No, it's not easy being green, but that doesn't mean it's the death knell of a friendship. "I would suggest that you make room for envy along with all of those other emotions," Leahy says.