Every two months, I see my friends from university. Last time, my guy pal brought his new girlfriend, who is smart, funny and lovely — and I’m totally jealous of her. Not because I’m after my pal, but because her life seems so awesome. I’ve started creeping her Instagram obsessively. What’s this about?
Surely people in the Middle Ages had a name for this condition: admiration and platonic desire undercut by dread and jealousy that conspire to turn you into a flat-out creep. When we covet the life of another woman, it means we’re living our life only as it compares with hers. Smart, Funny and Lovely would never eat sad salmon for dinner, we sigh — or if she did, she would have caught it herself and cooked it over an open fire she built for beach-dwelling orphans. We fail to measure up. Instagram might as well be called Instaloser, since every single person on it seems to be sitting in a cabana but you.
First step: Free yourself from this self-imposed pressure and forsake these bad social media habits. Second step: Remind yourself that Instagram is a keenly curated, soft-focus version of life — the version that doesn’t include losing your keys or getting food in your teeth or feeling envy over someone else’s cabana.
When you’re in the throes of a noxious enchantment, it’s often because your own life feels stagnant. Of course you’re susceptible to artfully filtered photos of big-city skylines and gal-pal outings when you’ve been dining on takeout in your track suit and sleeping under a blanket made of tabloids. Divert your attention away from her and back to you by trying something new — join a choir, take a parkour class, learn to butcher an entire pig. Bonus: These activities will look baller on Instagram.
More damage control from Claudia Dey:
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Claudia Dey is a novelist, columnist and Governor General’s Award–nominated playwright. She is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier.
Submit your questions to Dear Claudia at chatelaine.com/askclaudia