friendship

The trick to coping with friend jealousy, from a woman with dozens of celebrity girlfriends.

 “I never, ever blow out someone else’s candle to make mine brighter,” says Chelsea Handler on the subject of having friends who are more famous and successful. Friends like Gwyneth Paltrow. Jennifer Aniston. Reese Witherspoon. Cameron Diaz. Sandra Bullock. Hilary Swank. Charlize Theron. Assorted Kardashians.

Imagine if five of your closest girlfriends had their own Oscar. Others had their own apps and were renowned for being among the hottest women in the world. How would you deal with that? Would you be happy for them and a bit jealous at the same time? Or would envy and bitterness pollute the relationship?

Handler recently sat down with Elle magazine to talk about what she learned about dealing with jealousy in her early days in standup.

When she was 25 years old, Handler, who had been performing standup regularly for about five years, was living in Los Angeles. One night she was invited to perform at a comedy showcase for a well known agency. Handler tells Elle she invited a friend of hers to perform in the showcase as well. Her friend had got into standup at Handler’s urging and had been performing for about a year. She didn’t have nearly as much experience.

Scroll through to see more photos of Chelsea Handler and her celeb friends. Images via Instagram.(Post continues after gallery.)

After the showcase, her friend got a call from the agency who wanted to sign her up. Handler did not. Ouch.

Handler says she immediately felt jealous of her friend. Which was quickly followed by guilt for being a bad person. So she called her sister and told her how she was feeling. Handler tells Elle that her sister shared a life lesson that has stuck with her to this day: it’s okay to feel jealous.

Of the jealousy Handler felt, her sister told her:

“That’s a natural feeling. You can’t stop yourself from feeling that way. And you’ve told me, so you’ve told someone. You don’t need to tell anyone else. You just can’t ever act on jealousy. But you have to understand that what you have is completely different than what [your] friend [has]. What you have no one else has, so there will be a place for you. Don’t think that because someone got something that you’re not going to get something else. There’s room for everybody.”

Handler insists this advice has stuck with her. Everyone has feelings of jealousy. Everyone has moments of consuming envy. It’s how you deal with them that’s important. Tell one person, get it off your chest because it’s normal to have those emotions but then move on.

Because as Handler puts it, “There’s always a space for you because there is no one that’s exactly like you.”

Bec Sparrow wants us to stop gossiping about women and build a community instead. Listen to her challenge.

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