8 Signs Of Jealous Friends And Simple Ways To Handle Them

If your buddy makes you feel bad about yourself, they may be dealing with some unresolved envy.

Reviewed by Dr. Chloe Carmichael, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael Dr. Chloe CarmichaelLicensed Clinical Psychologist facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , BSc Reshma Latif BSc linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
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One toxic factor that can ruin any friendship, no matter how long you have been friends, is jealousy. Jealous friends are often driven by insecurity, fear, animosity, or anger. Also, they are triggered by low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.

Society often compares friends based on their careers, which may inculcate this feeling of jealousy among the less successful. If the jealousy is expressed out in the open, it can be addressed by having a heartfelt conversation or by being more careful. The problem arises when someone acts jealous under the veil of friendship and holds an unresolved grudge for a long time. The consequences may impact the lives of both the parties mentally and deteriorate the friendship further.

Therefore, it is essential to identify the root cause and deal with the issue. So, how can you make out if your friend is jealous of you? Read on.

protip_icon Trivia
The word ‘jealousy’ comes from the French word ‘jalousie.’ The three types of jealousy are rational, family, and pathological.

8 Signs Of A Jealous Friend

Signs of a jealous friend
Image: IStock

Admiring others’ success is described as positive envy that helps us achieve something for ourselves, too. On the other hand, jealousy crops up when a toxic friend doesn’t appreciate your success or happiness and tries to ruin it.

For instance, you might be sharing a new achievement or providing a sneak peek into your upcoming travel, and your friend just shrugs off their shoulder. Such signs and indications can help you understand their intentions, and they might be jealous of you. Here are a few other behavior patterns that might give them up:

1. Greeting Good News With A Negative Approach

It might often happen that you have been successful in your professional field and wanted to share it with your closest friend. Instead of congratulating you, the friend might point out the possible negative outcomes of the achievement. They might even acknowledge and congratulate you in such a way that might sound false-hearted.

2. Everything Is About Them

An envious friend will never listen to you and your stories. Instead, they wait for you to complete a statement and cut in between with their story. In a perfect conversation, one might reply to the other, and empathy develops between the two. But in the case of a toxic friend, everything shall only revolve around them.

3. They Do Not Support You

Your jealous friend will never support you in your endeavor, whether it is a job, a relationship, or any other accomplishment. They may even hurt you with their sharp words and dishearten you about your achievement. Stop before you get drowned!

4. They Copy You Covertly

You may not notice, but your friend imitates you secretly. Competition arises when your best friend (so-called) copies you and mirrors your dressing style or perhaps mimics your speech.

5. They Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

One friend dismissing the other while quarreling
Image: Shutterstock

A begrudging friend can make you feel incompetent even if you have succeeded. No matter how you feel about your success, if your close friend disapproves of you, you will not enjoy it fully. A friend may also envy you and not showcase it in front of you. They instill negativity within you, making you feel bad about yourself.

6. They Struggle With Insecurity

Your friend becomes clingy and shows signs of possessiveness, especially when you make new friends. They start blaming your new friends for anything that goes wrong, criticizing you, and trying to isolate you from others. Toxic people tend to get insecure and feel that they are being replaced. They suffer from an inferiority complex, which triggers the feeling of jealousy.

7. They Often Lie To Gain Sympathy

Toxic and jealous friends always have a set story at the back of their minds. They may even cook up instant stories to escape a situation and lie to gain your sympathy. They are insecure creatures who are unsure of their egos as well.

8. They Might Try To Outdo You

A jealous friend may try to supersede you and outdo you whenever they can. You buy a car, and they will try to overtake you by buying an upgraded model of the same car.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Jealousy may lead to doubt, suspicion, and mistrust in relationships, especially between friends.

Jealousy can persist between friends and even develop over time. If you notice the above signs of jealousy in your friend, try to figure out the differences that may have come between you. Rather than painting your friend as a villain, focus on saving your friendship. Head to the next section for ways to address this issue.

Indra Raj Pathak, a writer, shares his experience with jealousy and how he coped with the impossible situation. He writes, “My colleagues would often try to sabotage each other, spread rumors, and take credit for each other’s work. They were constantly comparing themselves to me and trying to undermine my achievements…. In my presence, they always stood in front of me as my well-wishers. It was tough to handle and took a toll on my mental health.” To cope with this, Indraj decided to focus on himself, “Considering the hurdles, I stayed focused on my goals and worked hard. I learned to recognize the indications of jealousy and negativity and sought strategies to surround myself with cheerful and supportive individuals. I also attempted to applaud the accomplishments of others in order to avoid becoming swamped in the cycle of jealousy and competitiveness. Disregarding the jealousy and hatred that surrounded me, I realized my dreams and found true fulfillment (i).”

How To Deal With Jealous Friends

Best ways to deal with jealous friends
Image: IStock

Even if your friend’s behavior annoys you, you should ensure that your precious friendship is not destroyed due to silly reasons. The way you start the conversation makes an enormous difference in the status of your relationship with your friend. You can go through the following steps to deal with your jealous friend:

1. Respond Constructively

Friends with insecurity need constant support and compassion. It will help if you make every effort to settle the issue. Reduce your friend’s bad behavior and insecurity initially and respond in a constructive way where your intentions should be clear and specific.

2. Comfort Your Friends But Don’t Let Yourself Down

Both of you should take the initiative to enhance your relationship. You can share the news of your success but make sure not to hurt your friend or bring negativity into the discussion. Jealousy is unfair in friendship, and instead of blaming each other, you must comfort your friend and understand the nature of your relationship. It will not only boost your friend’s confidence but also improve the relationship.

3. Jealousy Should Be Healthy

Jealousy may be healthy in a few cases, but engaging in a fight and silent rivalry or avoiding each other can bring out toxicity. So, focus on establishing a healthy relationship with your friend and weed out any toxic jealousy.

Outgrowing friends is a part of life, often leading to feelings of jealousy due to various reasons. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology based on the experience of 42 participants concluded that people experience more jealousy when losing friends to a third person as compared to mutually growing distant. This encouraged ‘friend-guarding’ (winning the friend back) and could be termed as healthy jealousy. The following graph shows the intensity of emotions felt after losing a friend.

Emotions Felt After Losing A Friend: Alone Versus To A Third Party.

Source: Friendship jealousy: One tool for maintaining friendships in the face of third-party threats?

4. Identify Your Friend’s Achievements And Strengths

Two friends high-fiving each other
Image: Shutterstock

You can smoothen out the situation by balancing the scales. Praise your friend for their work and achievements as often as you expect appreciation from them. They should not feel intimidated by your achievements or have a fear of getting replaced by someone else in your life. It is applicable for new friends as well as a love interest.

5. Confront The Feelings

Talk to your friend and vent your feelings, as staying silent will only worsen the situation. You should also assure your friend that no one can ever replace them and their position is intact in your life.

That said, envy can sometimes prove to be a confidence booster and provide reinforcement to achieve better things. Unless jealousy is in the driving seat of your friendship, keep faith in your friend and let things take their course. You can practice gratitude and coping techniques to handle any incidents that disturb your mental peace. However, if nothing works and you still distrust them, do not shy away from isolating yourself from the green-eyed friend for your betterment.

Infographic: Jealous Friends

Check out the following infographic to understand why your friend behaves weirdly toward you. It highlights:

  • The reasons why your friend is jealous of you
  • How to solve this problem and make things right with your friend
  • How to spot the red flags in a friendship
  • The difference between good and toxic friends

These points will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your friends.

understanding jealousy in friendship (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Infographic: 5 Common Signs Of Jealous Friends

Having jealous friends can be emotionally draining and detrimental to your well-being. Recognizing the signs of jealousy is crucial in order to handle these situations effectively. The infographic below lists 5 common signs of jealous friends. Check it out for more information.

5 common signs of jealous friends(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Friends should always be encouraging and supportive. They should rejoice in your accomplishment as if it were their own, growing alongside you. However, unfortunately, jealous friends exist, and you need to know how to cope with them. The first step is to identify the signs of jealousy, such as making you feel bad about yourself or spinning negatives into good news. If your friend is openly jealous, you can help resolve those feelings with open and empathetic communication instead of hosting resentment. However, if it is in the form of harmful actions that threaten you, you may want to reconsider the continuity of the relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is jealousy normal in friendship?

Yes. Jealousy is common and normal in friendships and usually resolves by itself or through discussion. Excessive jealousy and obsession, however, can strain a relationship beyond a certain point.

How do you ignore a jealous person?

It is important not to take their actions personally. Keep doing what you are doing, stay focused on your goals, do not let negativity affect your confidence and self-esteem, and surround yourself with positive people.

Can jealousy affect a person?

Jealousy breeds mistrust, doubt, and suspicion, which can spiral out of control into some pretty strong feelings and negative actions. Anxiety, a sense of worthlessness, and even physical or verbal abuse are all possible outcomes of this.

Can therapy or counseling help me to navigate issues of jealousy in my friendships?

Counseling can assist with not only romantic relationships but also friendships and personal issues. If jealousy has taken over your friendships, it may no longer be just harmful to your relationship and even be destructive.

Can jealousy in friendships be a normal and healthy part of the relationship, or is it always a red flag?

It’s natural to be envious when your partner or friend spends a lot of time with other people. However, this is no excuse for allowing it to cloud your judgment. Someone who is always envious of your connections with others is more concerned with what they want than with your happiness.

Key Takeaways

  • Jealousy is a toxic factor that can ruin any friendship.
  • If you notice your friend being openly jealous of you, address it by having a heartfelt conversation with them.
  • If not, the consequences may impact both of you mentally and deteriorate your friendship further.
jealous friends

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team


Learn to identify signs of jealousy and envy in individuals, including friends. Gain insights into their behavior and protect your well-being. Watch the video and navigate relationships with confidence.

Personal Experience: Source

Dr. Chloe Carmichael

Dr. Chloe CarmichaelLicensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Chloe Carmichael is a licensed clinical psychologist with 10 years of experience. She specializes in stress management, relationship issues, self-esteem, and coaching. She earned her BA in Psychology from Columbia University and has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University. She has also served as adjunct faculty at the City University of New York and instructed undergraduate...read full bio

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