Jealousy in Friendships: 7 Reasons It’s Completely Normal

One of the hardest things to deal with is jealousy in friendships.

Is jealousy in friendships normal?

We all feel jealousy in our lives, and it’s a completely normal feeling to experience in friendships. You might feel jealous of your friends or best friend for many reasons. It is not necessarily the jealousy that is wrong, but how you deal with it that can be damaging.

Let’s explore seven reasons why jealousy is completely normal in friendships.

Is It Normal to be Jealous in Friendship? (w/ 7 Good Reasons)

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Two girls with colored sunglasses—Jealousy in friendships
Image by author via Canva—Jealousy in Friendships

We spend so much time together that we build these super-strong connections. Close friendships are beautiful and wonderful, but that does not mean that they are always perfect.

People often get jealous of others who are close to them. Some jealously is completely normal and predictable.

Often this jealousy is initially about your friend’s seemingly better life (more social connections, more lovers), but it can deteriorate into competition over each other’s time and resources.

There are seven good reasons why you might be jealous of your friends or even your best friend:

  1. You know more about their lives
  2. You compare yourself to your friends
  3. You fear abandonment
  4. You want more attention
  5. You feel competitive
  6. You feel insecure
  7. You don’t want change

You Know More About Their Lives

Jealousy in friendships may occur because you spend so much time around them that you know more about their lives. This jealousy is a simple matter of proximity. We naturally know more details about the people with whom we spend the most time.

What matters is how we respond to those details. Do we feel envious or jealous—there’s a huge difference.

Envy is wanting what someone else has but also wanting your friend to have it, too. If your friend buys a million-dollar house with Alexa-controlled faucets, you celebrate with them. You also would love to buy a big house with the lastest technology.

Jealousy is when you don’t want your friend to have the big house but you want one for yourself. Jealousy is a selfish emotion. Left unmanaged, jealousy can cause you to put your friends down or be angry at them.

Unfortunately, jealousy in friendships can develop into a negative chasm between you and your friends, especially if the feeling becomes too frequent or intense. You should not let jealousy get the best of you or make you start acting differently toward them. If you don’t nip it in the bud, jealousy may also cause problems with other, mutual friendships.

In this way, jealousy is an emotional black hole that can fester into alienation and isolation.

You Compare Yourself to Them

When you compare yourself to your friends, you might feel jealousy.

You could be seeing pictures of what they are doing and feel like you don’t measure up in some way or another. Jealousy in friendships can also focus on things that seem silly, too—status updates or posts on social media where your friend seems happier than you.

If we’re honest with ourselves, jealousy comes when we think there is something better out there for us that we want and just haven’t found yet. Instead of worrying about what your friends are doing or how they are living their lives—concentrate on making a difference in your own day-to-day life to build the happiness you deserve!

You Fear Abadonment

It’s possible that jealousy in friendships has a lot to do with fear of abandonment.

Your friend might be doing something that makes you feel like he or she doesn’t see you as important, and so this causes jealousy. For example, if your friend always wants to hang out with someone else instead of hanging out with you.

Perhaps they recently developed a new friendship or romantic relationship and you feel threatened.

You might worry that the new relationship will replace you. While fear of abandonment is a normal feeling, try not to let it control you. If you focus on your fear, the fear will often magnify in your mind. Instead, focus on gratitude for your friend AND for their new relationship.

When your friend gives their time and attention to someone else, it doesn’t lessen their friendship for you. It expands friendship and love in the world.

You Want More Attention

Sometimes jealousy occurs when one friend gets something another doesn’t, such as attention from an attractive new partner or from colleagues at work.

It is very human and normal to want attention. Some people enjoy being the center of attention because they feel validated or desired when other people focus on them.

When you’re feeling lonely or sad, it can be a real boost to have someone give you their time and energy. If this is your primary reason for jealousy, I recommend seeking self-validation through exploring passions and hobbies that make you feel happy rather than depending on others for validation.

In the long run, this is a much more sustainable way to be happy.

You Feel Competitive

You may also feel jealous become of inner competitiveness. This could result in creating situations where you feel like you need to outshine your friends socially or physically. For instance, through plastic surgery, specific diets, excessive drinking, relationships, or achievements.

However, there is a dark side to competitiveness-based jealousy.

Your efforts to “one-up” your friends are likely to further feed your inner crisis from deep-rooted insecurities.

Instead of succumbing to competitiveness, the cure is to acknowledge your feelings but don’t let them control your behavior. Replace competition with celebrating your friend’s every success and milestone.

You Feel Insecure

Jealousy can stem from insecurity about yourself or your life choices.

Everyone’s insecure about something. These insecurities can manifest themselves as jealousy for our friends, who may be better looking, more successful, make more money, or possess qualities that we don’t possess.

Unfortunately, insecurities can project themselves onto others, resulting in resentments that erode friendships. It’s a nasty cycle of painful emotions that can pull you down instead of lifting you up toward your potential.

To transcend insecurity, it’s helpful to express it, embrace it, and allow yourself to experience the feeling. This is what, ultimately, worked for me.

You Don’t Want Change

Jealousy in relationships may also be rooted in our normal dislike of change.

Many people tend to stay at a certain comfort level of living. Most people—men and women—don’t seek change. That’s one reason why people stay at the same jobs for years, don’t move across the country (or world), and establish routines.

So, when our friends introduce any kind of change into our lives, it can lead to jealousy. In essence, we feel jealous of the status quo. After all, we may believe that everything is going smoothly right now. However, we can adjust easily once we realize that change is an inevitable part of life and that our friends are not intentionally disrupting our lives.

Over time, acceptance of change can also reduce our jealousy in friendships.

Check out this insightful video about 10 Signs Your Friend is Jealous Of You:

Video by Karolyne Roberts via YouTube

Extreme Jealousy In Friendships

For many years, light jealousy has been considered a sign of caring. It could be interpreted as wanting to keep the person who is envied in our sights and not wanting them to drift away. However, this isn’t always the case for all relationships.

Excessive jealousy is not normal.

Intense feelings of jealousy can erode your peace of mind and your friendship. Extreme jealousy can also cause physical pain and mental anguish. I’ve been there, and I wouldn’t wish those feelings on anyone.

It would be a tragedy if unmanaged emotions destroyed a deep connection between two friends.

One action I’ve taken several times in my life is to seek out help and support from trained professionals, such as counselors, coaches, and therapists. You may want to find support for yourself, too.

Final Thoughts on Jealousy in Friendships

While some jealousy is normal in any relationship, it is seldom attractive. Jealousy might be a sign of underlying insecurity that you could benefit from exploring and transcending.

The first step may well be committing yourself to personal healing so that you can reach your highest potential mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

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Focus on transforming yourself to transcend jealousy in friendships

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