Envy And Friendships

It was my recent French holiday which gave me a poignant, real-life example of what envy can do to people and their friendships

My family and I had to pass a large field with a huge manor house every time we walked up the hill, back to my in-laws' converted barn in which we stayed.  For days, I took a passing glance - through the trees - at the field below and remarked on how green their grass was, compared to the dry, dying, brown grass in the field nearer to us. Their grass was remarkably more lush and prosperous than the one in my in-law's property. 

the green field surrounding the manor house in a distance

I wondered at this almost in envy, contemplating why, in such a hot, dry climate, those people had managed to keep the grass on their land so lush and prosperous. What did they do, and how did they sustain it? Did they spend loads of cash on their massive property? After all, they seemed to be quite rich (if you could judge that by the size of their house). I couldn't understand the lushness during such a dry season and this ate at me, so I resolved to take a closer look the next day when I had more time.

a closer look at the lush, green fields
The envy was senseless. After all, who cares they had greener grass, right? They weren't even my neighbours. But envy is usually senseless, and this was no different. The next day I poked my head through the leaves of the trees which lined the path (and which obscured my view) and found that the 'grass' was not grass at all. It was corn!

Envy and friendships
When friends seem to have greener grass on the other side, sometimes a closer, more intimate look reveals that the 'reason' for the envy is not real at all. Perhaps Sally is thin, well-dressed and just an all-round superwoman, but chances are, she's so stressed keeping her family together, that her stomach ulcer is keeping  her from enjoying the good food she would love to have.

Envy has no basis whatsoever, and more times than not, the greener grass we crave from our friends' side of the patch, is not grass at all! It's the corn they're toiling day and night to keep watered and well-fed in a season of drought.

What are your thoughts on envy and friendships?
You can see related posts on our Relationship With Family and Friends page


Icy BC September 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

Envy exists in every relationship, and we tend to look on the outside more often than realizing that the other person might also have their insecurity.

Great post Anne!

Self Sagacity September 23, 2011 at 12:49 AM  

It is human nature for us to be envious of others. I think it all healthy if you don't let it affect you adversely. Envy is respect to me sometimes. For example- taking a different approach with your example, I envy someone for they are more relax than I, so I try to figure out what makes them that way and try to achieve it, because I know it is better for me. So in other words, I use envious as a way to better myself.

Anne Lyken-Garner September 23, 2011 at 12:31 PM  

Amanda, that's a different approach, and one that turns a potentially negative thing into a positive one. I think in that way, envy can be used to our advantage.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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