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16 Subtle Signs of a Jealous Friend You May Not Always Recognize

You may recognize a jealous partner, but what about friends? Here’s how to notice the signs of a jealous friend, especially when they’re not obvious.

Signs of a Jealous Friend

This article was an interesting one for me to write. On the one hand, I identified a couple of my friends who are jealous of me. They were exhibiting the signs of a jealous friend.

On the other hand, I also realized I was the jealous one in some of my relationships. If someone did better than me or received a promotion or gift that I always wanted, I became a jealous friend. And it’s a hard thing to accept.

Though I’m not the same person I was when I was 20, it’s important to acknowledge past behavior. Because honestly, who wants to be jealous of their friends?

[Read: These types of toxic friends will make you miserable and drag you down]

The 16 most obvious yet subtle signs of a jealous friend

If you think you are or have a jealous friend, it must stop. This isn’t a healthy relationship for either of you. First of all, the jealous person should work on uncovering their internal issues and focus on growing as a person.

Secondly, the non-jealous person needs to create relationships with people who are ready for an authentic and genuine relationship. It’s time to focus on yourselves. You don’t need the extra drama in your lives. There’s enough drama in the world as it is.

A good friend isn’t a jealous one. Next time you recognize a few of these signs of a jealous friend in the people around you, try to stay away from them.

#1 They love giving you backhanded compliments. Ah, yes, the classic back-handed compliments. They can never just say, “you look beautiful” or “I love those jeans on you.” Instead, the sentence doesn’t end there. They’ll say, “that color looks great on you, but it also makes you look cheap,” or “you would look great in those jeans if it wasn’t for your big ass.” See what I mean? [Read: The backhanded compliment – how to ignore it or give back in kind] 

#2 They don’t want to talk about your success. You’re on a lucky streak right now, and that’s great. Of course, you’re enjoying your success and want to share it with your friends. But, when you share it, your friend doesn’t support or congratulate you. Instead, they switch the conversation and focus on the times when you failed. One of the clearest signs of a jealous friend is the pattern where they don’t want to hold you up; they need to bring you down.

#3 They’re insecure. When it comes to insecurities, you’re noticing more and more that your friend is full of them. And this makes sense. Behind every jealous person is a boatload of insecurities that haven’t been dealt with. Instead of working on themselves, they gain their self-esteem by pushing the people around them down. [Read: Why your codependent friendship is more unhealthy than you think]

#4 They crack mean jokes. When it comes to jokes, there is always a bit of truth in them, even when they’re funny. But then there are some jokes that aren’t funny at all. Instead, they’re insulting and degrading. This isn’t because your friend is a failed comedian, these jokes are said to purposely bring you down.

#5 They boast about their success. They will do everything to make sure you don’t enjoy your success, but when it comes to them and their success, you better be ready to party. That’s the sad part about having a jealous friend; the relationship is completely one-sided. You must give them your all, but you get nothing in return. 

#6 They feel life is unfair towards them. Of course, we all have moments when we think the world is against us and that nothing is fair. We all have moments of self-pity.

But when it comes to your friend, everything is unfair to them. Maybe you received a promotion, and instead of being happy for you, your friend is complaining about why they didn’t get a promotion when they work just as hard as you. [Read: 15 steps to stop caring about someone who hurt you and heal yourself]

#7 They don’t like when you give them advice. When it comes to advice, it’s a tough one. We can accept advice from people we admire, but ones we’re jealous of… that’s a whole different story.

Friends should be there to help you out when you need advice and vice versa. But, when you try to help your friend, they become angry and insult you. Hearing advice from you is the worst thing for them.

#8 They never encourage you. Maybe you’re scared to ask for a promotion or try on that dress you’ve been eyeing at Zara. This is where your friend comes to give you the push you need to get going. But instead of pushing you forward, your friend discourages you from growing as a person. [Read: 13 signs a fake friend can fake but they just can’t hide]

#9 They’ve talked behind your back. Jealous friends aren’t only exhibiting these signs to you; they’re also making sure everyone else around you knows your dirty laundry. Jealous friends love to put their friend down behind their back, making everyone else see how much better they are. 

#10 Everything is drama. When you’re around them, the only thing that’s constant is the drama. Chaos is always surrounding them, either they’re fighting with someone else or causing drama of their own. It never seems to end. One of the signs of a jealous friend is their need for drama, because drama is crucial for toxic people. They constantly seek ways to either look helpless or grandiose. [Read: How to ignore someone and cut out the stressful drama]

#11 They want to outdo you on everything. But especially when it comes to interests you already have. If you enjoy running, they’ll try to outrun you. If you like to read, well, get ready, because they’re going to make sure they know all the classics. Because your friend is jealous, they’re focused on beating you at your own game.

#12 They don’t support you. What’s the point of having friends if you aren’t going to support one another? This is a subtle sign of a jealous friend. If your friend was truly a friend, they would not hesitate to support you and would expect the same from you. If they’re not there for you, they’re not a real friend.

#13 They’re obsessed with status. When it comes to status, they’re obsessed with it. They must have the best clothes, hang out at the hottest places, and make sure they’re seen with people of “status.” But people who seek that are very jealous and insecure about themselves. This is only going to hurt them in the end. [Read: 15 signs of fake friends you can spot from a mile away]

#14 They copy everything you do. It’s a little creepy, right? Even though your friend wants to push you down, they also want to mimic you. They’re jealous of you, remember? So, they will try to steal parts of your identity, parts that they always wanted to have. 

#15 It’s heavy to be around them. When you hang out with your friends, it’s not necessarily enjoyable. You feel heaviness and pressure when you’re with them. But when you part ways, you feel a lot better, and that’s telling you something. Your friend is sucking the positive vibes right out of you. [Read: 17 bad, toxic friends you need to unfriend from your life]

#16 They’re jealous of your other friends. When you’re around your other friends, they become very jealous. They criticize the other people who hang out with you, and they try to make sure you stay close to them. They’re scared of losing you, as you’re someone they compete with to make themselves feel whole.

[Read: How to stop negative people from dragging you down]

Jealousy in a friendship is never a good thing. Keep an eye on these signs of a jealous friend, and remember that if you want real and genuine relationships, then you need to identify which ones are which.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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