3 useful tips to deal with a jealous friend more effectively

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Having a jealous friend, whether they’re jealous of your other friendships or envious of some aspect of your lifestyle, puts you in an extremely difficult position. On the one hand, friendships are so special, and confronting these issues can lead to conflict and a changing dynamic. On the other hand, ignoring jealous behavior can also damage this important relationship anyway.

If you’re trying to patch things up with a jealous buddy, we have all the information you need to help you determine your course of action. We’ve provided a handful of tips on identifying and addressing this thorny issue, all while keeping your friendship intact.

What causes jealousy?

First things first, a little bit of jealousy is normal and natural. When you want to spend time with someone, it can be frustrating when their attentions are elsewhere. In other scenarios, it can also be natural to feel mildly envious of a friend’s job, relationship, or home. At the end of the day, it all comes down to wanting something you don’t (or can’t) have.

This is also a form of insecurity. If someone lacks something in their lives, like the aforementioned job, relationship, or expensive house, this can damage their self-esteem. Often, the jealous party will act out because they fear losing standing in the relationship or make their lifestyle seem more enviable by downplaying others’.

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How and why does it show up in friendships?

If you think your friend may be jealous of you, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. Before taking any action, spend some time ensuring your friend is acting out of jealously or insecurity. This can be a tricky subject to tackle, and the last thing you want is to insinuate that they’re obsessed with you or dissatisfied with their life. There are a lot of other reasons that may explain your friend’s odd behaviors. Maybe they’re a naturally competitive person and the conversation should be around building a friendship that’s more celebratory. Perhaps they’re having trouble at work or in their personal relationships and are misdirecting their frustration at you.

In these instances, a person exhibiting jealous behaviors every so often isn’t the same as dealing with a jealous person. While it is still worth a conversation, especially if it’s harming the friendship, these are likely isolated circumstances.

With that said, there are some behaviors that may indicate that this jealously is an ongoing issue. One indicator is constant negativity. Think of this as the “hater” mindset: No matter what you do or accomplish, your friend’s first reaction is to downplay your achievement or one-up it with their own successes. This is one of the strongest indicators that jealousy is in the mix. If it feels like they are rooting for you to fail, you could be right.

Are any of these warning signs ringing a bell? If so, it may be time to take some action. This could include looking within yourself for the best course of action, or it could mean having an important conversation with this friend.

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How to deal with a jealous friend

Jealousy can be a difficult thing to resolve, especially when it’s someone close to you. As is the case with most things, no magic bullet exists, but there are tips and techniques to address the situation.

  • When confronting your friend, be honest and compassionate. Let your friend know how you’re feeling, but do so while coming from a constructive place. Make sure you can cite specific actions or instances that made you uncomfortable. This keeps the conversation constructive, as you’re discussing your frustrations with the person’s actions, not criticizing your friend as a person.
  • If your friend’s jealous thoughts and actions are creating problems, or they become defensive when confronted, resist the urge to fight back. Remember that you can’t singlehandedly control the behavior of others; you can only control yourself. In these instances, a well-placed joke can lighten the mood and allow for a looser, lighter conversation. Make sure this is at an inappropriate time though, or you consider invalidating your friend’s or your own feelings.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget to listen and be prepared to receive constructive feedback on your own actions. Perhaps you brag a lot or tend to talk over others. Maybe your friend’s standoffish or curt behavior is a response to your own actions. It may be hard to hear, but you will all be better for it. Approach the issue with an open mind and an open heart, and your relationship will be better for it.

Dealing with a jealous friend can be difficult, but in the long run, you’ll both be better for it. With these tips in mind, you can handle the situation easily.

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