Jealousy is an inherent trait that every human being possesses. The big question everyone should ask themselves is whether they are having a jealous tendency or are they continuously overly jealous. It’s one thing to wish you could afford that new car your friend got, but it is another thing to mistreat someone because of FOMO (fear of missing out).
First things first, you need to be able to identify and understand jealousy at its core. Your friend may be jealous of you, if they:
- share insincere compliments or false praise.
When you receive good news, does your friend seem overly supportive and share insincere compliments? If you replied with a yes, then your friend is probably jealous and trying to devalue your hard work and achievements to themselves feel better. Being on the receiving end or cynical behavior can be harmful for your mental well-being.
- gossip about you.
Typically, when people are insecure with themselves, they attempt to tear down the people they care about the most. If your friend is gossiping to others about your life, they’re probably jealous and feeling uneasy about the choices they’ve made in their own life. Try to avoid perpetuating this behavior and do not engage in the volatile banter. In most cases, jealous people are not confident in their own right and they rely on ruining the reputation of other people to feel better about themselves. Remember, negativity only fuels gossip.
- imitate you.
Even though imitation can be the biggest form of flattery, it is still somewhat irritating. You may see that a friend copies your hairstyle, dressing, or decorating style. The best thing you can do is not pay attention to the copycat situation. Calling out a friend can create a big scene, but it is important to give yourself a break away from copycats so you can clear your mind. Choose to distance yourself a bit if you are feeling overwhelmed by a jealous friend who is mimicking you.
- feel the need to consistently flaunt their success.
When an individual’s voice speaks louder than their achievements, this generally indicates that a person is overcompensating and suffering from jealousy. A friend may be overly chatty if they feel like your achievements are bigger than theirs. It is important to appropriately acknowledge your friend’s accomplishments, but never devalue yourself and discredit the things you have accomplished. Jealous people are incredibly competitive and, generally speaking, they want to steal all of the glory because they think no one else deserves it.
Now that we are aware of how to identify a jealous friend, let’s dive into a course of action. Here’s how to deal with a jealous friend:
Communicate and have a discussion.
Be up front and ask your friend why they are jealous. Are you being chauvinistic or is your friend being unfair? Be honest with yourself and your friend. In some cases, jealous friends are unaware of their passive aggressive behavior and need their actions to be pointed out. Even though their actions may not be intentional, it is important to not ignore the situation. When communicating with a jealous friend, do it privately. Having an honest conversation in front of others can be embarrassing and create unnecessary drama.
Remember to take breathes and stay calm and patient. It is easy to become emotional when you are dealing with a jealous friend.
Have empathy not sympathy.
Sympathy is understanding someone else’s suffering and is usually dealt with in a distance. However, empathy means experiencing someone else’s feelings and it requires an emotional component of feeling what the other person is feeling. Ask yourself, is your friend going through a difficult season? Did they have a different upbringing? Being able to be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes will help you address the jealousy he/she is experiencing and maintain a healthy friendship.
You can kick off a conversation to address a jealous friend by using gentle openers such as, “I have noticed things have become a little distant” or “I feel like you are going through a challenging season, how can I help you feel better about everything”.
Determine why your friend is jealous.
Most people have reasons why they are feeling jealous or uneasy, but it may not be visible to outsiders. If you notice that your friend is exemplifying jealous tendencies towards you, determine what has brought on these feelings and behavior. Depending on the depth of their actions, you may be able to evaluate the recent events that occurred leading up to their jealous behavior.
Give them time.
Everyone is capable of being jealous – it is an emotion that every human being experiences at some point in life. Therefore, a friend spewing jealousy doesn’t make them a bad person. We are all guilty of getting caught up within our emotions and insecurities. Consider giving your friend space to work out their feelings and resolve their personal issues. If your friend doesn’t normally act in a jealous way, it is probably not necessary to bring up the issue. Sometimes these things can work themselves out – everyone just needs to be patient.
Go your separate ways.
If your friend is a repeat jealousy offender, then it might make sense to part ways. Spending time with people that aren’t positive, supportive or loving can be emotionally and physically draining. In fact, life is too short to deal with the constant drama that a consistently jealous friend can bring into your life. So, don’t participate. Be honest and express your issues with the jealous person. Explain how their actions are affecting you. By recognizing and addressing negativity, you can become more aware of the people that are actually worth your energy.
Dealing with a jealous friend ultimately requires patience, honesty, communication, and maturity. It is important to not dismiss anyone’s feelings when addressing jealous actions. Always try to maintain a level head and never assume the worst of someone. If you invest the time to resolve the issue, your friendship will inevitably become stronger.