friends, competitive, false, jellyfish, mean, friendship

I love my girlfriends. They’re fabulous. However, over the years I have noticed one or two who have what can only be described as…an edge. You don’t notice it initially, but time eventually reveals that they do not have your best interests at heart. I’m not talking about stealing your boyfriend. I’m not talking about bitching behind your back. I’m talking about what I refer to as the ‘jellyfish complex’.

RELATED: Toxic Friendships: When It’s Time To Let Go

The jellyfish complex (a term pulled from Bridget Jones’ Diary) describes a person who, like a jellyfish, floats around seemingly harmless, but get too close and they will quietly sting you with invisible tentacles. This may seem tolerable, but after a while the stings become more potent and eventually you’re covered in red marks that take far too long to heal.

I’ve had a couple of jelly-friends over the years. Second year uni; I received a high distinction on a test I was sure I would fail and couldn’t have been happier. Amidst the heartfelt congratulations of my other friends, one girl piped up with: “Oh! I know why you got a high distinction; they hardly ever give them out in first year ‘cause they want you to work hard, but in second year they’re MUCH easier to get!”


Here’s another example: a while ago I was competing in a dance competition in a team event. We came offstage elated with our performance; it wasn’t perfect but we’d had a ball and were proud of ourselves. Again, amidst the celebrations, one little charmer congratulated my teammates, but her words to me were: “Well done… You made some mistakes though!”

Again, sigh.

Does any of this sound familiar? These comments may sound insignificant, but if they continue, sometimes multiple times a day, they grate on the soul and undermine your confidence and self-esteem. It’s made even harder if you are in a very close-knit circle with many shared experiences. If you’re like me, you desperately want to believe the best of everyone. I really dislike conflict and I do not get a kick out of silent tension. However, you MUST recognise these false friends and deal with them before their toxicity takes a serious toll.

It’s important to think about WHY their behaviour is like this. I find it’s usually one of three reasons:

1. Jealousy

If she throws darts only at you, this is probably why. Jealousy, plus a dash of insecurity, is a lethal combination and can turn even the most well-meaning person into a complete twat. If you think this is the case, don’t fall into the trap of subduing your talent/looks/general awesomeness to appease one idiot. If she were a true friend, she would be happy for your achievements and secure enough in herself to form her own identity instead of being envious of yours. After all, you can’t spell jellyfish without ‘jelly’!

2. Insecurity

This tends to go hand-in-hand with jealousy, but is more prominent in some people. If said friend likes to sting a few people in addition to you, she’s more than likely low in the self-esteem department or going through a tough time. If you suspect this, talk to her about it. You’d be surprised how willing people are to voice their problems if you take the time to ask.

3. Complete bitch-zilla

If this person stings you, everyone around you, and perfect strangers, then she is more than likely just a total bitch. No amount of reasoning will change this and you shouldn’t bear the responsibility of trying to do so. Eliminate her from your friends; she’s only worth the label of ‘frenemy’.

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