How To Deal With Jealous Friends

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Everyone will find a friend who experiences jealousy over you at some point or the other. It may not be toxic at first but can quickly become so. They start to treat you differently and the friendship suffers. If this is something you can relate to, then in this article I’m going to share my thoughts on how to deal with jealous friends. 

This article will focus on trying to preserve the friendship without stooping to their level. However, at a certain point, if nothing works and your jealous friends continue to add negativity to your life, it might be time to consider distancing yourself from them.

Unlike family, you actually get to choose the kind of friends you want to allow in your life. If a jealous friend starts to make you feel bad about yourself, then it might be time to reconsider the friendship.

With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to deal with jealous friends.

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1. Avoid sharing too much information about your wins with them

When your friends are jealous to the point of it affecting the friendship or your life, you can either distance yourself from them altogether or stop sharing your wins with them.

I would say that the latter is a good idea to implement at first.

It isn’t such a great idea to just cut off jealous friends without trying to control the situation and exploring an option that may save the friendship.

Essentially, by not coming across as boastful, you can minimize the amount of jealousy your friends’ experience.

This will help you to focus on other areas of the friendships that are positive, fun and healthy.

Pick and choose what you share with jealous friends.

Because it seems like some friends will be happy for you in success for as long as you aren’t doing any better than them.

You can’t allow yourself to be held back because of someone’s inability to control their jealousy.

So, if you’re not willing to distance yourself from these jealous friends, the next best thing to do would be to filter what you share with them.

2. Be reassuring of their worth and value

Depending on the reason for jealousy, you could offer reassurance of their worth and value to make them feel better.

In other instances, it would be better not to give them pep talks because it’s unnecessary and feeds their jealousy.

For instance, if your friend is jealous of your physicality, this would be a typical case of when it would actually be a good idea to compliment them.

By doing this, every time they feel jealous about how you look, the reassurance of their own worth and value will overwrite that emotion because you made them feel good about themselves.

In time, they’ll feel less insecure and stop comparing themselves to you.

However, when their jealousy stems from status, wealth or other non-personal causes, it may not be such a good idea to offer reassurance.

Instead of making them feel any better, it actually reinforces their jealousy and creates a negative pattern.

By not acknowledging or reassuring them, you are forcing them to look intrinsically. 

By doing so, they’ll have no choice but to acknowledge that their jealousy stems from an inner dissatisfaction rather than envy over you. 

Once they reach this realization, they won’t have any excuse for projecting that jealousy onto you. 

3. Don’t react to their jealousy

Jealous friends will have the habit of channeling that emotion negatively. And they’ll direct it at you in hopes of getting a rise out of you or cutting you down to size.

I’ve made the mistake of reacting to harsh remarks and jealous behavior by calling it out.

The problem is that most people won’t admit to feeling jealous because it would hurt their ego. 

So, instead, you end up gas lighting you to the point of making you appear to be a messed up friend.

To avoid all of this and to rid them of any power they have over you when their jealousy strikes, simply do not react or acknowledge it or them.

Ignore their jealous remarks. Don’t get emotional or upset. Let it slide off you like water off a duck’s back. 

When they notice how useless it is to express their jealousy to you, they’ll just contain it and let you be. 

4. Offer them help in times of need

Jealousy often stems from a desire to have what one lacks and another possesses.

Obviously, you shouldn’t have to buy someone’s true friendship. But, if someone is inherently a jealous person due to insecurity, envy and a lack of self-esteem, it’s pretty hard to expect them to just fix that part of themselves.

An effective way of winning them over and turning their jealousy off is by offering them help.

By doing this, you’re essentially sharing what you have with them. If it’s something that they don’t have and feel jealous over it, enjoying the fruits of it could counteract their jealousy.

Because it’s no longer something out of the reach and you are the person offering something helpful to them, it’s only natural to expect them to form a better opinion of you.

Granted, it’s not the best solution to this issue but it does work.

5. Distance yourself from them

Lastly, you might have to consider the option of distancing yourself from your jealous friends.

I’m a very sentimental person and I struggle to let go of people.

But, after years of battling to nurture an old friendship that was plagued by toxicity and jealousy, I finally decided to let it go.

And if I’m being brutally honest, it was one of the best things I could have done.

Not having to feel judged, critiqued and belittled for no reason other than jealousy is truly freeing.

I was able to finally let go of the friendship because I spent a significant amount of time and effort trying to make it work.

So, if you’re someone like me, then I urge you to try using the tips mentioned above on how to deal with jealous friends.

If they fail to change the dynamic, then this is your last resort. 

You don’t have to break friendships but you can definitely distance yourself.

Perhaps, in doing so, your jealous friends may realize how foolish and immature it was for them to allow their jealousy to affect the friendship.

And the opportunity to rekindle those friendships may become a possibility thereafter.

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Signs of a jealous friend

It can be hard to identify a jealous friend at times which is why it’s important that you familiarize the following signs of a jealous friend.

When comparing these signs to a friendship I had with someone who was jealous, I can vouch for them because he displayed all of these behaviors.

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1. They’re always downplaying your achievements

Irrespective of how hard you worked for something or how important it is to you, a jealous friend will find a way to undermine your achievement.

They may take a subtle dig at your taste, the quality, the significance or the value of what you attained.

What you’ll notice is that others will marvel at your achievement while your jealous friends try to brush it off as nothing special.

That’s one of the telltale signs of a jealous friend.

2. They make nasty or uncalled for remarks to diminish your worth

Some jealous friends will go a step too far and try to be insulting.

They’re remarks aren’t just undermining but rude and nasty.

The reason why they’re overstepping and being so harshly jealous is that they actually don’t care about how you feel or they don’t necessarily respect you enough to even hold back. 

3. They’ll seem insecure

You’ll notice that they can’t bring themselves to compliment you or to acknowledge your win.

Unlike everyone else, they brush it off as quickly as they can or they try to be demeaning.

You’ll sense insecurity from them and that is because they actually feel threatened by you and your accomplishments.

4. They are very competitive

Another one of the popular signs of a jealous friend is competitiveness. 

Competition is healthy as long as it’s done with intention by both parties.

However, a jealous friend will often be in a one sided competition with you.

Even if that means attaining something or doing something that they don’t care about, they’ll do so just to upstage you.

This is simply due to their competitive nature that stems from jealousy. 

5. They treat you differently to other friends

Remember I spoke about distancing myself from a jealous friend? Well, in that situation, I noticed that this particular friend didn’t display the same toxic behavior with other mutual friends.

He wasn’t insulting, competitive, rude or demeaning to our other friends.

He would give them props and credit for an accomplishment. He would not act weird if they shared their victory with us.

And yet, this was not how he behaved with me. 

I realized that the difference in behavior simply stemmed from the fact that he didn’t view those friends as competition. 

He wasn’t jealous of them and so he behaved differently.

Upon speaking to my mutual friends, without implying that he’s jealous, I simply explained his behavior and they all came to the conclusion that he is jealous of me and always has been. 

So, if you can relate to this experience, you’re most likely dealing with a jealous friend as well. 

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6. They gossip about you 

Something a lot of jealous friends have in common is this desire to gossip about you to others.

Usually, they’re gossiping or backbiting about something that paints you in a bad light.

The only reason why they would do this to you, other than being chronic gossipers, is that they’re jealous of you and thrive in casting a bad light on you to others behind your back.

7. They try to focus on your flaws to make you feel insecure

A good friend is someone who is supportive and kind. They gain happiness and joy from helping you to become a better person as you do the same for them.

A jealous friend will actually look for any sly opportunity to make you feel bad about yourself.

It stems from insecurity. They aren’t comfortable or proud of themselves. 

And so, to bring you down to their level, they will find ways to make you feel insecure.

Usually, their opinion that makes you feel insecure will usually not match the opinion you get from other friends who are not jealous.

That’s one of the telltale signs of a jealous friend.

8. They try to beat you or steal the limelight

Ever notice how your friend diverts any positive attention you get?

Or do you find that whenever you’re in a good space and basking in positivity, they randomly remind you of something that they know is a sensitive topic or will upset you?

If this continuously happens, it’s not a mistake. 

When you start to feel like they’re doing it on purpose, it’s usually a gut instinct screaming at you to be careful of this friend.

Why?

Because they’re harming your peace of mind.

And I can guarantee you that this is one of the signs of a jealous friend. 

9. They are not supportive of things that are good for you

Given that those same jealous friends hate to see you thrive or do better than they are, it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that they’re going to try to subtly guide you wrong.

They can’t help themselves because they have allowed their jealousy to tarnish they’re better judgment.

Instead of trying to address their internal issues, they opt to tarnish the target of their jealousy.

So, instead of advising you to do things that will be good for you, they encourage choices and decisions that may hurt you in the long run.  

10. They’re fake

Last but certainly not least, that patronizing tone and disingenuous congratulations they direct at you is a telltale sign of a jealous friend.

You can tell by their demeanor, choice of words and tone of voice that they are just going with the flow of wishing you well when they don’t mean it.

They don’t want you to know how they truly feel.

And so, they congratulate or compliment you without any meaning behind their words.

You often can sense when someone is being fake so don’t ignore those feelings. 

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Why do friends become jealous?

Before I can make any decision on how to deal with a friendship problem, I like to explore the reasons why someone is behaving in a specific manner.

This gives me enough information to decide on how I want to approach the situation.

For this reason, I implore you to quickly read through the main reason why friends become jealous. 

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1. Lack of self worth

Everyone experiences jealousy to some degree but what separates those who become affected and influenced by this emotion is security.

When we speak of security, we are referencing a sense of self-worth.

Those who are secure about their self-worth and who don’t derive such worth from external sources are often able to control their jealousy.

Those who are insecure tend to project it onto others through jealousy by trying to make their friends feel insecure.

In doing so, they feel as if they’re not alone in their insecurity. In a weird way, this is just a sad way of finding comfort in themselves. 

Their jealousy is by no means a fault of yours and as such, it can only be remedied by them. 

2. A negative outset on life

I’ve noticed that people who tend to have a chip on their shoulder and who look at life as if it’s unfair to tend to experience jealousy at a more toxic level.

They look at the good fortune of others as an unfair advantage and a sign of their own bad luck.

They use this way of thinking as means of affirming their own biased assumptions of the world. 

Seeing their friends gain rewards and success goes against their negative outset on life and so this causes immense jealousy. 

It’s a lot easier for some people to just be consumed by jealousy than to challenge their own preconceived and biased notions. 

In this case, if they don’t have something, they feel jealous that you do and subconsciously wish that you didn’t either.

3. They’re highly competitive 

Competitive friends are always comparing themselves against others. It’s in their nature to race against others as a means of affirming their own self-worth.

Unfortunately, comparing ourselves to others is a quick, effective and easy way of stealing joy from our lives.

So, when your friend tries to compete with you only to fall short, this affects their self worth and this, in turn, creates more jealousy which is targeted at you. 

4. Envy and desire

Perhaps your friend has passionately dreamt about achieving and attaining something for a long time.

And, when seeing you get the very same thing, it stimulates envy and triggers their desire in a negative way.

This causes them to experience a sense of jealousy that is not necessarily personal. 

They just envy you and wish to be in your position rather than hoping that you weren’t. 

In conclusion

I hope that this article provided you with enough practical advice on how to deal with jealous friends.

It can be annoying and frustrating but don’t stoop down to their level if they take petty shots at you.

At the end of the day, you can’t force someone to be a good friend to you. Unless they’re willing to change for the better, it’s just not going to happen.

The best thing you can do is focus on yourself and surround yourself with friends who genuinely care about your well-being and celebrate your wins.

If you have any thoughts or questions about jealous friends, feel free to head over to the comment section below and let me know.

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