Jealousy is defined as an emotion of resentment or hostility toward a rival, someone enjoying success or advantage. It is quite often associated with the romantic realm, but also extends to matters of wealth, friendship and business.
However one defines jealousy, it is an unwanted feeling to experience, or to have someone experience against you. Jealousy is toxic and can make life a living hell.
Here are some signs to consider, when wondering if there is a jealous person in your life:
THEY GIVE FALSE PRAISE OR INSINCERE COMPLIMENTS. Ironically, those quick to give praise or those who pile on the praise when you’re successful may be the same people who are using that praise to hide their jealous feelings. Though they lead with praise, they may be inclined to mock or disdain you when your back is turned. Accept the praise and return it, if for no other reason than to demonstrate graciousness.
THEY IMITATE OR INTENSELY COPY YOU. Since jealousy is sometimes a sign that a person is so insecure as to lack a sense of self, they may attach to what other people gain or value. Whether it be a copycat haircut, buying imitations of your stuff, or even mimicking the way you speak, this type of imitation can be disconcerting. The line between admiration and jealousy is thin indeed. It can help to make sure you communicate that you like this person as they are.
THEY DOWNPLAY YOUR SUCCESS. We should all be happy when our friends or family succeed in life. But a jealous person will often refer to your windfall as “lucky” or be rude of condescending at your excitement. Often they will flaunt their own success in response while secretly being filled with negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. Stay humble yet confident in your success. Remember, real friends lift you up even more, while jealous friends will never help you attain your goals.
THEY ARE COMPETITIVE. Being competitive at inappropriate times is a sure sign of jealousy. One-upmanship is about stealing glory, and it is something often seen in the workplace or in school settings. This occurs because jealous people see your accomplishments as a threat to their own self-worth. This kind of competitiveness can be totally destructive to a relationship. You don’t have to participate in the back and forth of competition.
THEY DON’T NEED YOU WHEN THEY ARE DOING WELL. Sometimes when someone tends to be jealous of you, they will disappear when you experience success, or may disappear when they do. They don’t show up for positive support because it makes them supremely uncomfortable with themselves. Ever been ghosted by a friend? This may be the reason why.
THEY WANT TO SPEND TOO MUCH TIME WITH YOU. On the flip side of ghosting, a jealous friend may want to monopolize your time, uneasy with the idea of someone experiencing something significant without them. If you don’t include them in plans and they find out, they will often react unreasonable. These “needy” friends have a difficult time understanding boundaries, but it helps to be honest and kind regarding your need for space.
THEY GOSSIP ABOUT YOU. It is likely that you’ve experienced this before–someone saying something bad about you behind your back. This is typical jealous behavior. It can be pretty hurtful, if not downright humiliating, especially when coming from someone you consider a friend. Often times it is an attempt to sabotage your other friendships or relationships—they want you for themselves.
Once you’ve spotted the signs of jealousy, it is also important to recognize the causes. Sometimes low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence cause people to doubt their worth and feel insecure in their relationships. Someone may also be fearful of rejection and loss. Boundaries are the key to avoiding and limiting the affect a jealous person can have on your life. Don’t engage in their negativity, just enourage them to be happy with themselves. Their behavior is not really a reflection of your life, but a reflection of their own lack of security and self-esteem. Modelling good behavior and being polite yet firm are always the best tactics to take with a jealous person.