How to Turn Your Rivals into Your Friends

A few years ago, I was dating a guy who obviously was very interested in another girl. He had a huge crush on her before we met, and did all kinds of sweet, cheesy crap for her, like buying her flowers and showing up at her place unexpectedly (although if you ask me, that’s actually creepier than it is cute). He used to tell me how much I reminded him of her; how we were both smart, pretty, liked to read, and so on. I often felt like I was just a consolation girlfriend because she was never interested in him, even though he made it clear to her that he was very interested.

Reasonably so (or at least it was reasonable in my mind), I ended up hating this girl. I obsessed over her. I’d look at her tumblr and think of the sassiest, bitchiest things to say about her and her shitty excuse for poetry. I’d laugh when she called herself a writer. I’d send her anonymous messages correcting her grammar (I’m almost not even sorry about this). I was unapologetically petty towards someone who had never personally wronged me in her life.

I spent so much of my time thinking about how much I hated her and I ended up hating myself every time he liked one of his pictures. Wasn’t I enough for him? It killed me when he started following her on Instagram. Every time he complimented her at all, it felt like a blow to my self-esteem.

After awhile, I began to realize how consuming, unhealthy, and irrational this imaginary rivalry was between me and some girl who never even thought about me. I tried to figure out a way to get over her in my head, since hating her or pretending she didn’t exist didn’t work.

I realized that she and I were actually a lot a like. We both loved to read, we loved creative writing, we liked cheesy romantic things, we had similar interest in books (we were both reading the Hunger Games series at the time), and hell–we even looked alike. If I hadn’t met her under these circumstances, we’d probably be friends. Why did I have to hate her?

I decided that if she was going to be in my life, I might as well win. I’d make her my friend. I reached out to her, was very friendly, and made an effort for us to get to know each other. After a few weeks, we actually became friends! And as I kept dating this guy, as he turned into a total asshole, she had my back when he didn’t. She’d give me her support, give me good advice, and she’d even stick up for me when he talked to her about our relationship. She’s actually a really nice, genuine person and I’m sorry for how petty I was. I’d actually like to think we’re still friends, even after that guy isn’t a part of my life anymore.

Looking back on this experience, I realize how unnecessary all that negativity was. A guy I follow on Twitter posted something amazing a few weeks ago and it really resonated with me:

“Women should never compete with each other for a man’s affection. It’s like running in a race and the prize is a bag of diarrhea.” –Solomon Georgio via Twitter

It’s true. Why did I spend so much time hating a girl who was actually really nice and had never wronged me? Furthermore, why did I hate her because my boyfriend liked her? The real problem was with him and his misplaced affections while in a committed relationship, and even more with my own self-esteem issues. It wasn’t like he was some perfect person I needed to fight over anyway.

So next time you find yourself hating on that “bitch” your boyfriend’s trying to get at, or when someone cheats on you, just stop. Direct your anger towards the person who’s actually doing you wrong, who’s breaking a promise to you. Better yet, ditch them and find someone better, or fly solo, because there’s no use in sticking around with someone who treats you with any less respect than you deserve. I’ve used this technique several times now with different girls and it has a 100% success rate so far. I feel great about myself and I don’t let boyfriends with wandering eyes take up any of my time. Plus now I have all these awesome friends!

Love yourself, love each other, and forget the assholes who bring you down.