The friend we all love to hate

Published 8:00am Sunday, July 13, 2014

I have this friend. She’s got a big personality. Well, sometimes she can be subtle, classy, quiet, but most of the time she’s not. She’s always doing something – backpacking through Europe, skiing in Colorado, running a marathon in New York, drinking a sangria on a beach. She is ubiquitous.

Her favorite color is blue, and she loves a good selfie. She’s not afraid to share her thoughts. You know when she’s happy, and you know when she’s upset. Occasionally she’ll make a well-stated argument, but most of the time it’s ignorant, self-serving and grammatically incorrect. She’s extremely adept at speaking via emojis and memes. And you ought to hear her rant and rave over how wonderful “Frozen” is. Only it’s never over the perfection that is Idina Menzel but instead the lesser Kristen Bell.

In college, she went to the greatest school, was in the most wonderful sorority, had the sweetest boyfriend and the best friends. Now that she’s a little older, she has the most beautiful baby girl, the most handsome husband, and they go on the most extremely luxurious vacations – basically her life is a superlative. Her dog does the most unique tricks, and her cat can fit into the smallest boxes. She does Crossfit, Insanity and P-90x every day.

I know! She’s crazy, right?

Secret is you probably know my friend. Her name is Facebook, and odds are she lives in your phone. She’s with you every day, every moment, waiting in silence before pouncing on you forcing jealousy to ooze out. Forcing you to ogle at her escapades and high-class lifestyle.

No matter how happy, how content you are, Facebook manages to find that part of you that wants something different, wants excitement, wants … what exactly? What about Facebook makes us so jealous? A picture of a friend picking up his dog from the vet – flare of envy. Never mind the fact that he probably just spent $100 or more on shots. A picture of someone’s baby – instant jealousy, but I don’t notice that the picture was taken at 4 a.m. A picture of somebody backpacking through Europe – flood of green.

As of Wednesday morning, I have 502 friends – 502 people that could potentially be doing something I might kind of enjoy. The girl from high school maybe going on a trip that she’s scraped tooth and nail to afford, and she may not be able to go on another for a long time. Maybe the guy I used to work with is traveling to see his mother for the first time in over a year.

Everyone is not out getting engaged each weekend. Everyone is not out seeing a new country every week. Most people are not living a glamorous lifestyle on a day-to-day basis. Most people are sitting at home in their pajamas, binging watching a television show, and eating raw cookie dough. Or maybe that’s just me.

Think about it – are you going to brag to the world that you watched three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this weekend? We post things that are different from our normal experience. If 10 people are posting fun things, think about the 492 other people doing exactly the same thing as you. There’s a rotation of people entering the enviable crowd. Some days it may be you, but it won’t be always.

Facebook is an easy way to stay connected, but for all its power, it can be the fuel for that green-eyed monster. So yeah, sometimes I get jealous, but then I remember I don’t want those things, at least right now. I’m not a dog person, I definitely don’t have time for a baby, and Lord knows I am not the kind of woman that would enjoy slumming it in hostel.

Then I remember I am happy with what I have right now. I remember the only place I want to be right now is in my bed trying to finish the fourth season of Lost.

Julia V. Pendley is the lifestyles editor of The Daily Leader. You may email her at or mail a letter to her at Julia V. Pendley, Lifestyles Editor, P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602-0551.