If your friend just bought a house, it’s hard not to feel a pang of jealousy over the fact that she either won the lottery, received a sizable inheritance, or was gifted cash for a down payment. And then there’s that fabulous backsplash and gorgeous front yard she keeps talking about.
But no matter how she amassed the pile of cash, your friend’s foray into homeownership can test a friendship, especially if you’re finding it hard to make rent.
“As trivial as it may sound, home buyer envy is very real, especially in a city like New York where buying a home can be much more expensive than in other cities,” says Michael Musco, a certified negotiation expert at Lee & Associates Residential in New York City. “In addition that envy has become even more prominent since the debut of shows like ‘Million Dollar Listing.”
If you want to curb that envy as your friend goes on and on about her new home’s curb appeal, here’s what the experts say to do to:
Acknowledge why you’re feeling this way.
When we aren’t living the way we want to live and then a friend suddenly does, it can be disconcerting. “The discomfort mainly comes from the disconnect between who we feel we are in the moment and our ideal selves,” says Aubrey Thorne, an interior designer in Los Angeles, California. So acknowledge that your feelings are probably less tied to your BFF and their new pad and more about how you feel about your own home. Separating your situation from your friend’s reality can help you both be a good friend and get excited about their new place.
Focus on the positive.
There are upsides to the fact that your friend is now a homeowner. “Just think: It’s unlikely that your home-owning friend will ghost you,” says Holden Lewis, a home expert at NerdWallet. “Instead, she’ll probably invite you over to show off the house, the yard, and the dog. This means you’ll get to hang out in a nice place, too!”
Makeover your own home.
If you’re still feeling blue, consider emulating what you love about your friend’s new house. “Don’t let the envy fester—that’s victim-y,” Thorne says. “Do something with those feelings.” She suggests channeling your feelings and putting them to use: Create a Pinterest board of your dream home, start a DIY project, or just rearrange your living room. “Get inspired to roll up your sleeves and turn that house envy into inspiration,” Thorne says. Limited on funds? Here are some creative ways to decorate for absolutely nothing.
If you realize saving up for a place of your own is not out of the picture, use your friend’s big step as a catalyst. Open a savings account, talk to a financial advisor, or start researching the market. Here are some creative ways to save up for a down payment, without really trying.
Don’t guilt yourself.
In the end, it’s okay to feel envious—at least at first. “Feel it, accept it, and don’t condemn yourself for feeling that way,” Lewis says. “Your envy will burn out eventually.” And once it does (it will), you’ll be open to comfort your friend when they need help, especially when the realities of homeownership appear. You might even find yourself excited to help them garden, paint, or even clean the gutters!