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Tell us about the last time you were really, truly jealous of someone. Did you act on it? Did it hurt your relationship? 

Jealousy is something I have felt. Sometimes I don’t recognize it for what it is at first, but when I dig down into why I feel unhappy or mean, I find jealousy is the culprit.

Only a few years after graduation from university, I was working at a pleasant job at CBS Records in London. It wasn’t in the exciting part of the business  – but in the DataCentre where we kept up with sales, releases, distribution, and money. But it was a nice atmosphere with good workmates. When I learned that the Personnel Director was leaving, I contacted a friend of mine from University whom I knew would be good in the job. She was.

She was always someone I was a bit jealous of because she had such a outgoing personality. She was witty, sexy, the guys liked her. I wasn’t any of those things, but I was intelligent, kind, and slow to anger. I held in a lot of my feelings, and wouldn’t have know how to express them appropriately if I could have come up with that kind of courage at the time. Aging teaches you a lot.

But I was jealous. She was a big hit at CBS, she earned more money and had a more senior position than I, and she was, as I suspected, perfect for the job. Then I realized I was feeling negative about her. I probably didn’t treat her as well as the friend I once had. All of a sudden she was encroaching on my territory (by my invitation) and I was, I realized then or later, just plain jealous. She popular and in a visible situation, and I was a behind the scenes worker.

I left CBS after a few years to return with my English husband to the United States. (I was born in Ohio.) He had decided that he’d like to try life across the pond, and both of us were tired of London — yes, if you’re not really well-off that happens eventually. I left my friend behind to continue climbing a ladder to even greater eventual success, and our friendship was never the same. It has taken years of trying to atone for my behavior, and jealous actions. (To be truthful, I don’t know how unpleasant I was, but I know I felt differently about her… and me.)

I regret all that now. My instincts were correct: she was great for the position, and she had and has qualities I don’t possess. I’ll never be the same as her; we are different, and that’s one of the things that made our friendship interesting and strong. Too bad I didn’t recognize that at the time, and that I have spent many of my truly adult years regretting my behavior and thoughts.

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