When You Can Only Feel Half-Happy For Someone


Feeling half happy for someone is one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world. It’s nausea caused by excitement. It’s a headache from thinking a mile a minute. It’s a tenseness you get in anticipation of the news someone is going to tell you, a quick release of energy, followed by a stiffness that follows upon hanging up the phone. It’s the dramatic fall from an adrenaline high which, at the bottom, is confusing, and awkward.

Your eyes squint, and your brow furrows, and your whole body feels heavy as you sink into your couch and ask, “What the hell just happened?”

Being half happy for someone is the emotional version of tug-o-war. You know that this new job is an amazing opportunity for her, but you also know that it’s going to suck when she packs up her apartment, and moves to San Francisco indefinitely. You know that his engagement is a huge milestone, something he’s been working towards for a while, but you also know that the woman he is going to marry has repeatedly cheated on him, that he deserves so much better, and yet, he is settling for less.

Every move is calculated, when you’re only half happy for someone. You have to wait a few days before returning phone calls. You keep refreshing Facebook statuses, watching everyone else say their peace, before deciding to leave your own sentiments (or to leave anything at all). You’re afraid to talk to them, because you know your words might feel forced, and your emotions rehearsed.

It’s easier to just avoid people, when you’re half happy for them, but it’s also hard to stay away.

The television shows, magazines, and websites, all say you should be honest with these people who you only feel half happy for. If what a friend is doing upsets you, you should let them know. Maybe they will change as a result of your words, and things will get better. Maybe they will become angry with you, and things will get worse.

But it is better to be up-front and honest with people, because in doing so, you’re letting your friend know how much you care about them.

Except that you know you can never reveal your true feelings to the person you are half happy for. If you do, you risk hurting them, or losing them completely. You also know that nothing you say or do, will make them change their mind.

Others will tell you that this person wasn’t meant to be in your life forever. You should let them go, move on with your life – if they don’t value your opinion, they weren’t true friends to begin with. They will come back to you if they are important enough.

It becomes trickier when you are half happy for your best friend of eleven years, or your sister, or your significant other. People who you want only the best for, and would be devastated to lose in the process.

So you stay silent. You know that standing by, and faking your emotions towards a situation, you risk hurting yourself. But having that person in your life somehow justifies any pain you secretly hide.

When you’re half happy for someone, it’s more about trying to validate your own feelings, than the feelings of someone else. It’s about wondering if you’re secretly jealous of that person’s promotion, or if you are more motivated by their achievement, to do better yourself. It’s about feeling inadequate when your ex marries someone else, but knowing you weren’t right for each other anyway.

The only way to get over feeling half happy for someone is to recognize the things that make you completely happy in your life. Focusing on that helps you overcome whatever emptiness feeling half happy for someone causes. It’s realizing that not everyone’s problem is your problem. It’s recognizing that sometimes, feeling sorry for someone is the only thing you can control.

It’s understanding that it is possible to feel happy, and sad, at the same time – and that your emotions don’t always have to be so divisive, in order to seek closure, and clarity.