STAC- “What Do I Do if My Friend Got into the Play and I Didn’t?”

Claire Lawrence, Reporter

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“When me and my friend found out about the Lion King, we were both really excited, because we both love musical theater! But when we did, she actually made it on to the lead cast, and I didn’t even make it into the ensemble! I was devastated, to say the least. And now she’s so busy with rehearsals and stuff, I hardly ever see her anymore! I know she’s really happy she got the part, so I’ve been trying to act really happy for her, but it’s starting to get to me. How can I talk to her without coming across as aggressive or self-centered?”

Student response:

Oooh, that’s a hard situation. I have only 3 small things you can do, and none of them are clear solutions.

  1. When speaking to the friend, say only things you would wanna hear if you were her.  You don’t want to stop being friends with her over a play, even if it may seem like a big deal at the moment. Whenever the play ends and everything is back to normal, she should be able to see that you were being nice and that you care about her. Remember that these situations are common, and eventually, it will be you who makes an achievement that she doesn’t, and the tides will turn. It may not be in terms of musical theatre, but it will happen. When she realizes that you were good about these situations, she will hopefully comply as well.
  2. I’m not sure how involved you two are in theatre and all that, but know that your friend may make new theatre-like friends. Of course, she is most likely to finish up with the play and have more time with you, and things will go back to normal, but do remember that things may change between you two. That may not be a bad thing, just expect that.
  3. Lastly, know that this too shall pass. The play will eventually end and she will have more time again. When this happens, you will be able to connect again and be better friends.

I think we’ve all been here, and there’s no solution that will make everything go away. Just try to be kind and power through, and know that the play will end soon. Remember that there will be plenty of these situations in the future, so just try your best to keep going and not give up of your friendship.

Teacher Response:

This is a tough one because your feelings are entirely valid, and I would feel the same way were I in your position! I think anyone would be disappointed and feel a bit left out in this scenario. That said, I do think you need to consider what sort of resolution you are looking for in speaking to your friend about your feelings. When I think of discussing my problems and feelings with my friends, I think about what I hope to gain or give from that discussion. In this case, it seems like you really just want to express your sadness at not being chosen while watching your friend take the spotlight.

There really is nothing your friend can say to make you feel better about this, and it seems the only result would be to make her feel guilty about a great personal achievement. I think it’s important that you talk about your disappointment with a trusted source who is not involved (like a parent or reliable friend), but my tough love to you is to tell you to “suck it up” in the presence of your friend. You don’t have to “fake” being happy for her, but at the most, I would tell her that you can’t wait to see her in the musical and that you also miss her and are looking forward to when it’s over so that you can spend more time together. Being jealous is an entirely normal and acceptable feeling;  being genuinely happy and supportive of others is more of a skill than we’ve been led to believe, but I encourage you to remember that this is your friend’s time to shine and support her to the best of your ability.

It’s so easy to give in to the negative feelings we have when others around us are succeeding, but I have found that the older I get, the more I appreciate the people who support and cheer for those around them without anything to gain – those are the friends I want in my life and the people I want to be around. I promise you – there will be something that you excel at that will set you apart as well. And when that day comes, I hope your friends will all stand behind you and celebrate your achievements sincerely and with great enthusiasm.