I guess maybe in some ways it is a seed of avoidance, planted by someone else, budding within me and spilling a small amount of black vile into my mind. Inequality amongst friends – also sounds like an oxymoron – can happen, much more often than I know. There are wage disparities, family differences in wealth and comfort, education levels, and probably many different things that I cannot even fathom – me, barely having friends at all (Don’t be dismayed, I like it that way).
But inequality to the point of jealousy, how often does that happen between friends? Logically, newer friendships are more susceptible to such a thing, right? Older, more refined friends have crossed boundaries that render jealousy a flighty feeling soon overcome by expression and support for each other. I can list out tons of things I posses jealousy over especially with my closest friends. One of them – spouting social ease and comedic relief I will never even dream of achieving, another – being so financially secure and savvy that my goal is to try and follow their example.
This jealousy is different though. It’s mixed with a lot more insecurity and baggage. For one thing, it’s in the workplace; which being a woman in technology has it’s own struggles outside of any potential green monsters. But when there is female rivalry (is this even a thing?) within an incredibly small and very new department, the tension is palpable. The line has been drawn and one of us has stepped over it.
I don’t want to be misunderstood here, the person in question deserves to be on the other side of the that line, and I don’t (or is that my brain telling me lies again..). Hence, the reason for my jealousy. Before this toxic greenery, we were fast growing friends with tear breaking laughs and mischievous office shenanigans. But again – the line has been etched between us where she stands on one side and I stand on the other. We each have been working to stand on her side of line in our careers (I, longer than her) and I am happy that one of us has broken through.
On a lovely walk with my partner and pups, I was passionately explaining how because one of us is over the unseen line, there are limits to our friendship. He gave me the ‘Nikki – you cray’ side eye but I still believe this to be true. Before, we worked tangentially next to each other but never on the same project. We spoke to each other of our troubles and obstacles but also celebrated with one another in our each respective wins. Now – our work is intertwined where a failure or mistake on my part will directly affect her success and her word will also trump mine, as she is the product manager and I, BA. There is built in this dynamic, a set of rules that places her decisions and her words above mine, and how can that be an equal bearing friendship? I am more than happy to be friendly with her – joking and laughing as needed. But the time/place for a true friendship of trust, vulnerability, support, and compassion cannot exist in this sticky place we have found ourselves in.
I am sad for that – for I saw the potential to share another’s true self with my mine and connecting beyond what can now only be a friendly co-worker.