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How to manage jealous friends

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Friends are supposed to support each other, make each other happy, share secrets, hopes and dreams and enjoy spending time together. When you’re happy in life, you want to share your contentment with your friends and you expect them to be pleased for you. If whenever you share good news with a friend they are dismissive and act distant or standoffish, however, it suggests they are jealous.

Jealousy is a natural emotion and can make a person feel angry, anxious and threatened. If it’s particularly bad, jealousy can start to control someone and effect their lives, even leading to depression. However, it can really hurt the person who is subject to the jealousy, especially if they can’t help what their friend is jealous about, for example a successful relationship. Instead of being obvious, sometimes jealousy from friends can be veiled under hostility towards you when you don’t know what you’ve done wrong.

There are several ways to manage jealous friends:

Talk to Them

It can be a difficult subject to broach, but allowing your friend to discuss with you why they might be jealous can get all the feelings out in the open. At first they might deny their jealousy, but giving them the opportunity to explain to you why they have become jealous is important and also means you can reassure them that they needn’t be.

Explain Their Behaviour is Hurtful

Even though they might feel the downtrodden party, a jealous friend needs to know that they are being hurtful and risking the relationship through their negative behaviour. A friend should praise you for succeeding and be happy for you, not give you a hard time about it.

Be Careful Not to Show Off

If you know your friend is envious of you and touchy when it comes to your material wealth, be careful not to seem to parade your possessions in front of them. You might have been showing off, or been perceived as doing so, when talking about your new car without realising. It may be that you could owe your friend an apology for being a bit boastful. [What does being egocentric mean?]

Recognise the Cause of Their Jealousy

Perhaps their jealousy towards you is a symptom of something else going on in their life, it can often stem from insecurity. Maybe they’re unhappy in their relationship or are struggling with their low wage being taken up by their rent. Your happiness may act as a constant reminder of their own unhappiness.

If this is the case, and instead of meaning to be unpleasant to you they are just unable to mask their disappointment in their own life, it may help to try a particularly sensitive approach and show empathy. [Why empathy is a top business skill]  If you feel they are a worthwhile friend, try and empower them and help build their self-esteem. They might benefit from seeing a councillor or therapist or seeking professional money advice. Help and positive attention can often diffuse jealousy.

Don’t Take Backhanded Compliments to Heart

If a friend is thoroughly jealous, they will be likely to really struggle with giving you credit where it’s due and feel inclined to counteract your positive with a negative. This might include offering backhanded compliments, for example congratulating you on your new job and saying that you probably got it because you knew someone who works at the company. Be happy for yourself and don’t let sourness from a jealous friend cast a shadow over your achievements and make you not want to share them with others. [How to realise your own self worth] 

One thing that can really come between friends is jealousy, and it may be that experiencing success helps you to find out who your real friends are. If the resentment can’t be overcome by the other person, it can destroy the relationship. If they don’t seem to be able to get past their jealousness ask yourself whether they’re really a true friend. If you could benefit from a reminder of your self worth then join now and meet some like minded people in our community and watch our empowering videos for some bite sized advice on building your confidence.

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This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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