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I’m Happy For My Friends, So Why Am I So Angry? 

I’m Happy For My Friends, So Why Am I So Angry?

I sometimes find myself extremely angry for no apparent reason and I think it’s starting to affect my friendships. I have two best friends who I’ve known since elementary school, but lately, I find myself just really irritated and angry at them.

During one argument, one of them suggested that I was jealous because I keep delaying finishing up with college, while they’re both in great jobs, with nice cars, apartments, and relationships. I don’t think I’m jealous of them, because I’m happy for them. I just don’t know why I tend to be more annoyed with them these days.

Unsure, Atlanta, Georgia

Hello Ms. Unsure! It sounds like there have been a few things you may not be examining for yourself. While it sounds like you’re happy for your friends and their accomplishments, it also sounds as though there is something they stir up in you.

I wouldn’t quite call it jealousy, but perhaps to them, they are seeing as though you want what they have. However, there are a few things I’d like you to examine for yourself.

  • Are you getting angry in general situations out of nowhere?
  • Are you angry when around or speaking with these two best friends?
  • Are there times when your anger is not present?
  • How long has your anger been an issue?
  • Is it possible that you are unhappy or unfulfilled in your life so seeing others excel highlights that, causing a sense of irritability?

Anger As A Secondary Emotion

You mentioned that you have delayed finishing college and I’m curious as to why?

  • What is the fear of completing?
  • Are you uncertain of what you want for your future?
  • Do you fear not being able to attain a level of fulfilment having completed college?
  • Are there any other goals you see for yourself? Or have you only been focused on school so completing that would reveal different kinds of fears for you in the working world?

I ask these questions as I think it may be helpful to examine. Sometimes, because we’re humans, we find ourselves responding to others out of anger but mostly at a secondary level.

Anger may be the most comfortable emotion, but is it really the root for you?

Dr. Rue | 3.22.19

Anger as a secondary emotion can be broken down in different primary emotions including, but not limited to: fear, frustration, despair, or hurt. So, if you are honest with yourself, which one of these primary emotions has your anger been masking and why?

Why Am I So Angry? Addressing What’s Missing

It may be helpful to examine further as it sounds like you’ve displaced your anger onto others who aren’t the true culprits of the frustration. My advice, start taking a deeper dive into your own self and goals. You talk about how good your friends are doing with ‘great jobs, cars, apartments, and relationships.’

I’m wondering, have you asked yourself what’s missing in yours? Are these things you’ve wanted for yourself and struggle with obtaining? Fear may be a big factor and that’s okay, but you have to understand what it activates for you. Take the jump, your best investment is in yourself. Don’t delay things out of fear. Fear has the propensity to make us buckle but if you’re able to face it, it can be used to shape and magnify the life you want for yourself.

Stay positive queen! Oh, try not to pull away from your friends if they are good for you! It’s okay to need support too!


Ask Dr. Rue is a weekly, anonymous advice column where your most vulnerable mental health + emotional wellness concerns are addressed. Do you have a question to ask or a situation to present, and wondering what Dr. Rue might have to say? Ask Dr. Rue here

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