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Suzanne Power: Envy is the curse of female friendships

One of my favourite film noir actresses, Gene Tierney, said: "Jealousy makes a victim of both parties."

Miaow to that. I used to think of the green-eyed monster as a primarily female fixation, until one of my male friends said: "Why do you think men cut each other's throats in business? And don't forget we're the ones who start the wars." I agree with this to a certain extent. But I think men are by and large more blatant about their envies.

The worst thing about female jealousy is its covert nature. I don't know whether it's the centuries of repression, but indirect snipes are something I have never come to terms with. One thing I've learned lately, too lately, is the female speciality of dressing a barb up as a compliment. Maybe I've too naive, but when someone pisses me off I say so. I don't do the poo sandwich thing of saying something nice, saying something horrible then saying something nice again.

The best thing about being a woman is celebrating other women in my life. I don't feel the need to tear down. I want to build up the women I love. So when one of the starring female roles in my life was in tears with me a few months back I told her why I thought she was fabulous.

I was surprised when she told me: "I know you're far from perfect, but you're very understanding." I smelt a rat in the observation and I put on the Rentokil uniform. The basis of her opinion was a statement I had made about one of her ex's who was a philanderer. She was trying to excuse his latest fling, by blaming the woman at his office. I said he was no Goldilocks. I had him down for the wolf. As it turned out he left both of them for some young one in an arse warmer. But she's been harbouring a grudge against me, rather than him, ever since.

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We had a full and frank discussion and I came away from it seeing that, although she values my advice, she simply doesn't like me as much as l like her. Honesty earlier on might have saved the friendship, but I think now it's jeopardised.

"Ah come on," my sister pointed out when I told her about it. "Can't you see she's jealous of everything you are and have done?"

I never copped on because we have been through so much together. I have a chequered past but I ultimately end up on the white squares. She has had her fair share of tragedies, but she's decided the black moody corners are where she wants to remain. She has no children and I have. She hasn't had a man in her life for years after what her last guy put her through. If she wasn't a bit green eyed she wouldn't be human. But if she was a real friend she would say so and we'd get over it.

We haven't been hooking up as much since her ex fell off her line. If we were close we would make more time for each other. I'm still good for the hanky sessions, when she needs a good cry.

Fun left my old friend's list when she decided men are not to be trusted and friends with lives are to be envied.

She's one of the few who hasn't contacted me to say congratulations on my recent marriage.

Jealousy has made a victim of us both.


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