When I was a kid, I thought best friends was a concept which could only contain two people. After all, the cheesy heart necklaces, split in a zig-zag pattern, could only be split into two halves. You might think this worldview would get a bit more nuanced with several years and some experience. Apparently not.
My best friend told me that «she» and «he» had been «here» and «there.» «We,» she said. She said «we» and «us» but she didn’t mean us. Because for the first time, I wasn’t a part of her personal pronoun in plural. That’s when the world started to blur. At first, I thought my contacts were too dry, because everything I saw was foggy and out of focus. And then I zoomed out and saw myself from outside. I saw a worried wrinkle had appeared on my forehead, marking a character flaw. I was supposed to be happy for her, but instead I was stressed.
She got a boyfriend, and I felt like I had just turned 12 years old; or at least I was acting like it. What was this feeling? Where did it come from?
Arvid Folke Järnbert: Study your way to rebellion
In Henrik Ibsen’s play «The Wild Duck» Dr. Relling says «Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.» Meaning, people create illusions of their own reality to make their life more worth living. For years I had been chewing on juicy life-illusion gum, thinking I was a generous person – but then my bubble burst. And ever since then, I’ve been overwhelmed with reality. The psychologists Mette Smith and Göran Åström write that jealousy is in the category of emotions we define as «bad» and more taboo than others. Jealousy belongs to shame. Even if SKAM has had success all the way from here to Mr. Worldwide, that feeling is nothing to celebrate.
The word jealousy is described as something one is plagued by, like something evil. It’s irrational, a feeling which lives in the darkest parts of human beings, together with egoism – thinking you’re the center of the universe. Me, me, me! It’s about the anxiety of an expected loss of someone you value. Identity is threatened, because something important might be lost.
But there wasn’t any loss here – rather the opposite. My best friend has found a human being she’s happy with. A win-win situation for both of us. I’m happy when she is happy, right?
Signe Rosenlund-Hauglid: Always a foreigner
I grew up walking home from school, throwing my backpack down, flopping into the comfy sofa chair, turning on the TV and watching the same old TV programs. It may not sound like the most stimulating social activity, but the media scientist George Gerbner’s «cultivation theory» hopefully puts me in better light. The theory says those who spend a lot of time watching TV seems to be able to think the world is same as in TV shows. This might be classified as some kind of justification. In this disclaimer, I can blame the TV for my jealousy.
While people wonder «Where were you when Oddvar Brå broke his ski pole?» I wonder where people were when Peyton on «One Tree Hill» said, «so we won’t let him get between us?» and Brooke answered, «No worries, hoes over bros.» It’s an immortal friendship mantra. They said the same in «Sex and the City» and «Girls»; «hoes over bros» and «chicks before dicks.» TV has taught me everything I know about friendship. And this subtly monogamist view of friendship is still going on; just look at the children’s series «Karsten and Petra,» which features a best friend duo. I bet Karsten would also start sweating if one day Petra was just like, «Bro, I’m celebrating new year with my boyfriend this year.» Imagine how Karsten would lose it: «Say what?!»
Pop culture teaches us that jealousy belongs to love triangles. But this wasn’t a traditional three-sided drama. It wasn’t a beautiful couple and a spurned lover. Something simply didn’t feel right to me, like some kind of pettiness gnawing at me. Is it the feeling of never being enough? That I’m suddenly on the outside, not allowed to come along?
Indigo Trigg-Hauger: How do you make friends in Norway?
Perhaps it feels like my identity is slowly slipping through my fingers. In sociopsychology, it is argued that we define ourselves and get our identity through group belonging. The group improve the self and reduces insecurity. It’s just a fancy way to say «when 2 become 1.» The Spice Girls sang «2 become 1» and I saw how connected she and I were in everything – we were a duo!
Ideally, you should be generous. That’s why I’m ashamed at this realization that I’m a completely mediocre human being. A weak C on the exams. Per Fugelli would maybe say, with his calm voice «it’s good enough!» But Fugelli has passed away and this is not enough. This feeling exists inside everyone, but we just whisper about it. And maybe I actually didn’t get jealous, but rather disappointed that the world Peyton and Brooke showed me wasn’t reality. Chicks doesn’t always come first, and I just have to get used to that fact. But maybe it’s actually pretty beautiful.
The poem «Be together» by Arne Ruset says «we cannot own each other (…) but we can borrow each other and forget to give back.» Maybe I got a bit selfish, and forgot that we cannot own other people. Perhaps Even was right when he wrote to Isak: «I was afraid to lose you. I had forgotten it’s impossible to lose someone, everyone is alone anyways.» Maybe it means that you always have yourself, no matter what. And even though the heart necklace can only be split in two, you can actually wear several necklaces at once.