The "Other" Girl
By Imani, age 16, South Africa
Thou shalt not steal thy best friend.
Do you remember how in primary school you had that one special person you called your best friend? The one person you would exchange secrets with in class, pass notes around with, share crayons, and communicate in a language that only your and your friend could understand? The one friend whose initials were on your charm bracelet, whose house you've been to so many times that you live there, someone you call your sister?
And every year you somehow managed to be put in the same class, same sports teams, and same group projects, and you always helped each other through exams so you could still end up in the same grade. You even, at one point, shared the music interests, movies, and crush. Same phases, same seat on the bus, and same locker. And every year, you promised each other that things would always be this way. You vowed to be best friends till the day you died and that no one would ever come between this special friendship.
Although you each had other friends, it was always you and her walking hand in hand through the doors of primary school and planning to take your next step out the doors of high school. Just the two of you ...
Then a new girl came to your school, and your best friend quickly became acquainted with this "other" girl. She came across as a sweet, pretty girl and waltzed into your circle of friends.
Your friend took it upon herself to make the new girl feel welcome by escorting her to her classes, helping her catch up on missed work, and introducing her to some of her friends. But as the days and weeks went by, you noticed this relationship turning into something more than just a schoolmate relationship.
And do you remember how it felt when you thought you were being replaced? Your best friend's attempts at creating a friendship between you and this "other girl" were in vain. You were not prepared to share.
It started with the inside jokes shared between them. A secret language created solely for the purpose of excluding others. Then the cute nicknames, giggling, and passing notes during Biology class (a pastime you once shared). Then the sleepovers, parties, and movies followed, and then it dawned on you that this "other" girl had overstepped her boundary.
It seemed like you had made a new enemy.
"I don't like that new chick," you would mutter amongst your peers, while everyone would rave about how cool she was. Nobody got it. She had been nothing but nice to you. Yet you failed to come up with a valid reason for your strong dislike towards her.
Maybe it was her attitude. The way she walked, or talked, or her handwriting.
You failed to come up with a reason. Maybe it was her controlling nature ... her clothing choices ...
Then you realised what it was. She had broken the unwritten rule: "Thou shalt not steal thy best friend."
Jealousy had overtaken you. But you just suffered in silence, stealing every moment you could to spend alone with your best friend. What could you do? The "other" girl made her happy. You just had to force a smile on your face.
Surely your best friend is not an object, but it seems like we cling to people like they are objects not to be shared. Whether it may be friendships or romantic relationships, I think girls can get a little clingy. Well, I know I have.
And it is a natural instinct to get a little jealous, but the trick is to not let it wreak havoc in your relationships. I have learned that the best way to deal with jealousy is to first let down your pride and admit that you are jealous.
Admit, then find a way to solve it, because what is more important: your ego or the relationship? It all comes down to trust. Trusting that no matter what happens, the love that you shared will always remain the same and you will always be there for each other no matter what happens. Because we all have to live separate lives, right?
Jealousy is a powerful thing, not to be messed with.