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, confronting these issues can lead to conflict and a changing dynamic. On the other hand, ignoring jealous behavior can also damage the relationship.
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, it 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’.
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 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.
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.
- Be honest and compassionate. Gently help your friend understand that your life may not be as perfect as it seems from their viewpoint. Share your struggles in a non-competitive way. Provide a listening ear when they talk about their own issues and don’t minimize them.
- Do not become confrontational. Remember that you can’t singlehandedly control the behavior of others; you can only control yourself. If your friend becomes defensive, resist the urge to push back. Instead, try to understand the source of the envy. Insecurity is often the source of jealousy. If you can help mitigate the insecurity, you can help your friend feel better about themselves.
- Create some breathing room. If the jealousy makes it uncomfortable to be around each other, it may be time to take a little break. Spending some time apart can help put things in perspective and may allow your friend to remember that the bond the two of you share is more important than their envy.
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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