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25 Secret Signs of a Jealous Friend & How to Deal With Their Envy

It’s easy to think that friends can’t be jealous of one another, but it’s a common problem. Learn the signs of a jealous friend and side-step a major drama. 

signs of a jealous friend

Whether your lab partner does better at a test than you, or your best friend got engaged first, jealousy tends to rear its ugly head in almost every social situation. We are human and competition is what makes the world go round. You may have felt jealous of numerous people on innumerable occasions, but have you ever been on the opposite end of the spectrum whereby friends were jealous of you? That’s why it’s important to know the signs of a jealous friend.

We falsely assume that jealousy is just a relationship issue, but friendships are a hotbed for green-eyed monster activity.

The good news is that you can deal with jealousy between friends as long as you know what the issue really is. But, that can often be a tough call to make. [Read: These types of toxic friends will make you miserable and drag you down]

Jealous friends and the confusing negativity

I have a friend who always turns things into a competition. From our college days all the way up to more than a decade later, she still behaves as though every little thing is a race to be won.

And her competitive streak and jealous nature made it hard for me to share things with her without getting defensive.

When I went on a beach vacation that lasted four days, she booked herself for one that lasted a week. I did better on an essay than she did, she demanded the professor reread her paper. When I got certified as an advanced scuba diver, she took it upon herself to get certified too, only in less time. I lost weight after months of being a gym rat and dieting, she shrugged it off as something anyone could easily do!

While it’s easy to look at a jealous friend and think that they’re somehow flattering you, it can be enough to ruin your friendship over time. [Read: How to deal with negative people and stop them sapping your energy]

Jealousy and the friends who can’t be happy for you

Jealousy can break even the strongest of friendships and if you do not acknowledge the slimy green ball in the room, you stand to lose that friendship. Undeniably, it is not easy to address and get over a friend’s jealousy because it is usually veiled under layers and layers of hostility and denial.

Some friends may even turn the tables on you and blame you for bragging too much and rubbing your successes in their faces.

Sadly, there are people in this world who simply want to bring you down just because your life seems better than theirs. Whether it is being snarky with their comments or downplaying your accomplishments, we all have that one friend who simply cannot be happy for us.

People say that you should be flattered when people get jealous of you, but is that really the case? What can you do to improve the situation if you know that a good friend has something against you simply because you are more successful? [Read: 20 signs of a toxic friend to instantly recognize the rotten ones]

Jealousy causes hurt and confusion

You may have gotten a promotion at work, lost 20 pounds, gotten published, or gotten engaged. Your first instinct is to share the good news with the people you love, most notably your family and friends. However, what happens when their reactions are not at all what you expected?

Instead of feeling overjoyed for you, your friend downplays your achievement and brushes it off as something anyone could have accomplished. This will probably leave you feeling hurt and confused as to why they are acting this way. That is jealousy for you. [Read: The complete guide to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

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. [Read: Bad friends – 25 types of friends you must unfriend from your life]

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 we 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

This is one of the major signs of a jealous friend and it’s at the heart of what causes jealousy in the first place. 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 toward 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 it 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. Everything becomes a competition.

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. [Read: 13 traits of toxic people that can hurt and emotionally damage you]

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 and it’s one of the key signs of a jealous friend. [Read: 16 characteristics of a narcissistic friend that gives them away instantly]

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

This is another of the strong signs of a jealous friend – how you feel when you’re with them. When you hang out with your friends, it’s supposed to be enjoyable. But with this friend, you feel heaviness and pressure when you’re together.

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: What is an energy vampire? 19 ways to stop them in your life instantly]

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: 20 non-clingy ways to stop being a possessive friend and give space]

How to deal with a jealous friend

You’ve noticed the signs of a jealous friend, so what are you supposed to do about it? Here are some things that you can do to delicately address the situation without getting that particular friend defensive and angry.

1. Do not ignore it

Ignoring it will only make things worse. Just like a wound that is left to fester until amputation is needed, jealousy and friendship behave in a similar manner. If you leave it and let the displeasure and jealousy grow, you will only make the rift between the two of you larger.

Not just that, you will start feeling resentful towards that person and unconsciously root for them to fail. Depending on how close you are to this friend, you need to determine if you should just let it slide or confront it head-on.

You know your friend better than anyone else, so when the time comes, man up and make a smart executive decision to not ignore it. Although it is advisable to hash it out if you are good friends, this is something that only you can decide. 

2. Communicate honestly, yet gently

Oprah, Dr. Phil, Tyra, and pretty much every talk show and self-help guru out there will tell you that honest communication will fix everything. Take the time to speak to your friend about how they feel.

Be honest yet gentle. You have to remember that they are holding onto resentment and the only way for them to let it go is for you to hold their hand and gently pry their fingers open.

Do not feel downtrodden if you are greeted with vehement shouts of denial. This is normal and to be expected.

Never start the conversation with something as blunt as, “I know you are jealous of me.” Instead, open up with, “I have noticed that things have changed between us and that you seem distant.”

Proffer help, then gently make it clear that the divide between the two of you is widening and that something has to change.

You basically have to walk them through it by letting them know how much their friendship means to you and that supporting each other through the bad times and good is part and parcel of an amazing relationship. [Read: How to talk to people in a charming way, no matter who they are]

3. Walk a mile in their shoes

Jealousy is a very negative emotion that gives off seriously bad vibes. It is inevitable that your friend will unconsciously lash out or create a gaping distance between the two of you. Before getting upset or defensive, try to put yourself in their shoes. Not just that, walk a mile in them.

Think about how you would like to be confronted if you were them. Decide on your next course of action by seeing things through their eyes and from their point of view.

Maybe you really are rubbing your success in your friend’s face. Maybe you brag too much without even realizing it. At the end of the day, try to experience what the jealous person is feeling and you will know what to do next. [Read: How to develop empathy and master the art of growing a real heart]

4. Determine the reason why

Another important thing that you have to do is to determine the “why” Why is your friend jealous? And, why does this person feel this way now? Why does this person always have to turn things into a competition? Or, why does this person feel the need to watch you fail?

Most of the time, people have their reasons for feeling jealous. Whether it is your girlfriend being jealous at you for spending time with another group of friends, or a colleague being jealous that you got promoted above them, there has to be a reason for everything.

By understanding the “why,” you will then be able to make an informed decision on how to address the situation. [Read: 18 honest reasons why you don’t have friends that care about you]

5. Give them time

After your honest conversation with this jealous friend, step back and let it all sink in. This person probably needs more time than you do before they can begin to let go of their inexplicable jealousy. What they need is space and you should give it to them.

Do not push them into making a decision about changing the way they view you. When they have thought things through, they will come to their senses and hopefully be able to reforge broken bonds with you.

6. Give your friend some attention

Like a child, soothing a jealous person takes plenty of time, attention and compliments. You basically have to shower them with positivity for them to be able to get rid of that pent up negativity. There is no doubt that jealousy has its roots firmly implanted in insecurity and low self-confidence.

If you can lift your friend up, you have a better chance at vanquishing the jealousy than if you choose to do nothing at all. Always be genuine with your compliments and advice.

Your jealous friend has a personal vendetta against you and will find fault in everything that you set out to do, even when you are complimenting them. They will nitpick and douse you in cold water every time you feel that you are making progress. Just remember to be very patient and sincere. [Read: How to be a friend – The real art of true and meaningful friendships]

7. Do what you can to make them feel better

If the two of you are truly friends, you will be able to find common ground from which to launch the repairs of your friendship.

At the end of the day, as much as your jealous friend holds a grudge against you, there is a very good chance that they care very deeply for you, hence the reason why they see the need to act out like children.

You should do what you can to make them feel better without compromising yourself. Do not feel bad for your success because of this person. You should always be proud of what you have accomplished and do all you can to lift others up with you.

If your friend continues to make you feel bad no matter how hard you try to lift them up, you may need to evaluate your friendship. [Read: Bad friends and deciding when you need to end a friendship]

8. Decide if you want to keep the friendship

There is only so much that a person can take when it comes to dealing with a negative and jealous friend. You have to decide when the friendship becomes too toxic for you to continue fighting for.

If you have tried every play in the book to make your friend feel better but to no avail, you may need to start thinking about taking drastic measures.

Start thinking about whether you even need this sort of drama in your life. Everyone should choose to be happy, whether it is for themselves or for others, and if your friend cannot do this for you, maybe you just need a new friend. [Read: Negative Nancy – 17 traits and ways to deal with their attitude]

9. Spend time with other friends too

You will be surprised at how good life can be when you surround yourself with positive spirits who are just as happy to see you succeed as they see themselves.

Don’t allow your jealous friend to stop you from spending time with your other friends. While you are being gentle with them and trying to get to the bottom of the issue, don’t feel like you have to stick by their side and never leave. We’re all allowed more than one friend! [Read: How to make new friends as an adult – 15 ways to do it right]

What if the friendship can’t be saved?

At the end of the day, even the biggest saint has felt those embarrassing fissures of satisfaction when a friend fails at something. Do not fault your jealous friend for being human.

Instead, be patient, kind and hopeful that the two of you will be able to sort out your differences sooner rather than later. If you are unable to, then it is too bad but at the end of the day, it is up to you to determine what sort of people you want to keep in your life.

If, after having a conversation and helping your friend through the problem, they still show signs of jealousy, maybe it’s time to call it quits. Walking away from a friend is painful. But, staying in a friendship that only causes pain and negativity is just as bad.

[Read: Are you really losing a friend or are the two of you just drifting away?]

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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Anonymous Kitty
The Anonymous Kitty is a naughty secret. She’s the voice of inappropriate thoughts, awkward confessions and racy minds… or she’s probably just too embarra...