Jealousy in Friendships: 11 Best Ways To Deal With It

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

How can we deal with jealousy in friendships?

We all feel jealousy in our lives, and it is a completely normal feeling to experience in friendships. You might feel jealous of your friends or they might feel jealous of you. You can deal with jealousy by validating feelings, establishing boundaries, and reframing your friendships.

Let’s explore why jealousy is completely normal in friendships and the best ways to deal with it.

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

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my disclosure)
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 Abandonment

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 – Jealousy in Friendships

11 Best Ways To Deal With Jealousy In Friendships

Whether you are jealous of your friends or your friends are jealous of you, there are things you can do to deal with jealousy in friendship.

Here are the 11 best ways to respond.

1. Communicate Your Feelings

One of the most effective ways to deal with jealousy in friendships is by being honest about your feelings.

Open up to your friend and let them know that you’re feeling envious.

For example, if your friend recently got a promotion and you’re feeling left behind, share your thoughts with them. This will help in creating a supportive atmosphere and encourage a healthy discussion about your emotions.

After sharing your feelings, be open to listening to your friend’s perspective.

They may have insights or experiences that can help you better understand the situation. For instance, they might tell you about the challenges they faced to achieve that promotion, which can help you see things from a different angle.

Listening to their side and validating their feelings can also foster empathy and strengthen the bond between the two of you.

2. Practice Radical Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to combat jealousy.

Focus on the positive aspects of your life and acknowledge your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. By doing this, you’ll feel more content and less envious of others.

For example, instead of dwelling on your friend’s recent vacation, think about the fun times you’ve had with them and the memories you’ve created together.

To maintain a grateful mindset, consider keeping a gratitude journal.

Write down a few things you’re thankful for each day, such as your supportive family, your job, or your health. This practice will help shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have, ultimately reducing feelings of jealousy.

3. Reflect On Your Own Goals

Take some time to reflect on your own goals and aspirations.

Are you jealous because your friend’s achievements align with your own desires? If so, use this as an opportunity to reassess your objectives and create a plan to work towards them.

For example, if you’re envious of your friend’s successful career, consider setting milestones for your own professional growth.

Instead of dwelling on your jealousy, channel that energy into self-improvement.

Develop new skills, pursue personal interests, and set realistic goals for yourself. By focusing on your own growth, you’ll feel more accomplished and less envious of others.

4. Celebrate Your Friend’s Success

One of the best ways to combat jealousy is by celebrating your friend’s success.

Be genuinely happy for them and show your support by offering congratulations or sharing in their excitement. This can help to create a positive atmosphere in your friendship and help you overcome feelings of envy.

Instead of feeling threatened by your friend’s success, use it as motivation to learn and grow.

Ask them about their journey, any challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

Their experiences can inspire you to pursue your own goals and work towards personal growth.

5. Identify The Root Cause

Understanding the root cause of your jealousy can help you address and overcome it.

Reflect on your insecurities and determine if they’re contributing to your envious feelings. For example, if you’re insecure about your own job performance, your friend’s promotion might trigger feelings of jealousy.

Recognizing this can help you work on improving your self-esteem.

If your jealousy stems from unresolved issues in your friendship, it’s important to address these concerns.

For example, if you feel like your friend has been neglecting your friendship in favor of their new success, have a conversation about your feelings and discuss how to maintain a balanced relationship.

By tackling these issues head-on, you can create a healthier and more supportive friendship.

6. Avoid Comparison

Comparing yourself to others can fuel feelings of jealousy.

It’s essential to remember that everyone’s journey is unique and that comparing your life to someone else’s is unfair to both of you.

Instead of focusing on what your friend has that you don’t, remind yourself of your own achievements and strengths.

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

By practicing mindfulness, you can recognize when you’re engaging in comparison and redirect your focus to more constructive thoughts.

7. Surround Yourself With Positive Influences

It’s crucial to have a support system of friends who encourage and uplift you.

Surround yourself with positive individuals who celebrate your successes and help you navigate through difficult times. Having a strong network of supportive friends can help to minimize feelings of jealousy and promote a healthier mindset.

If certain people or situations trigger feelings of jealousy, consider limiting your exposure to them.

For example, if social media tends to provoke envy, try to reduce the time you spend browsing your feeds or unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate.

8. Practice Empathy

Practicing empathy can help you better understand your friend’s experiences and achievements.

Imagine how you would feel if you were in their position and had worked hard to accomplish something meaningful. By doing this, you’ll be more inclined to appreciate their success rather than feeling envious.

Remember that your friend’s accomplishments likely didn’t come without struggles or challenges.

Acknowledging the hard work and sacrifices they made to achieve their goals can help you feel more connected and supportive of their success.

9. Set and Hold Boundaries

Identifying your jealousy triggers can help you set healthy boundaries in your friendships.

For example, if discussing your friend’s romantic relationships makes you feel envious, kindly let them know that you prefer not to dwell on that topic.

Establishing clear boundaries can prevent resentment from building up and promote a more supportive relationship.

One of your boundaries can be taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally.

Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and prioritize your mental well-being.

10. Foster Your Own Sense of Identity

To reduce feelings of jealousy, it’s essential to foster your own sense of identity by cultivating your interests and passions.

Engage in activities that make you happy and help you grow as an individual.

Working on building your self-confidence can help mitigate feelings of jealousy. Recognize your strengths and achievements, and don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes.

Use affirmations, prayer, meditation, and visualization to bolster your self-confidence.

11. Shift Your Perspective

When feelings of jealousy arise, try to shift your perspective and look for the silver lining.

Focus on the positive aspects of the situation and consider how your friend’s success can benefit both of you. For example, if your friend gets a job in a field you’re both interested in, their experience and connections could open up new opportunities for you as well.

It’s important to remember that life is full of imperfections and setbacks.

Instead of allowing jealousy to consume you, embrace the fact that everyone faces challenges and that no one’s life is perfect.

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.

What to read next: