Ever encountered friends to whom your good news isn’t worth a celebration at all? Or somebody who one-ups you? You give them a house tour & receive backhanded compliments in return? Well, you might have a bunch of jealous friends! And we know that you don’t know what to do yet!
Most research on jealousy focuses more on romantic partners. But what about jealousy between two friends?
Like romantic relationships, friendships are an integral part of our daily lives. Friendships, too, add to our happiness & help our health. This only goes to say that maintaining healthy friendships is a must.
But not all friendships are healthy, of course! You definitely must have encountered a jealous friend & not known how to deal with them.
You don’t have to get rid of this friend in every case. There are a few things you may have to pay attention to.
How to Deal with Jealous Friends
The first step to getting anything done is acknowledging the need for it. To acknowledge that one of our friends may be jealous, we need to be able to spot the signs of a jealous friend!
Signs of a Jealous Friend
Jealousy remains hidden in the unheard. Jealous friends even manage to make a ‘congratulations’ feel dull & deflating.
Here are a few signs of a jealous friend:
1. Your achievements excite you. But your friend gives you backhanded compliments.
2. Your friend might not enjoy having a conversation with you for very long. They might try to change the topic while you’re still interested in a particular topic.
3. Your friend doesn’t offer support to you when needed.
4. Your friend always falls for the urge to one-up you. They might never let you enjoy being above them at anything.
5. Your friend is passive-aggressive with you. You may not know where it is coming from!
6. Your friend meets other friends but avoids you often.
7. Your friend draws a comparison between the two of you every time they are feeling low. They try to play the victim by counting your blessings.
8. You share a strong friendship with a third person. Your friend does not appreciate it.
Well, what can you do about it?
Turns out, a lot is in your hands, & you can exercise a few simple boundaries & take a few measures! Your goal is to either save the friendship or to get rid of the friend, depending on the kind of person they are.
Falling into the trap of your jealous friend’s insecurities may lead to you feeling small. You may feel the urge to criticize them back. You may even feel compelled to apologize for who you are.
You may feel undeserving of your achievements. Your jealous friend might put you down. And you might doubt yourself. You might feel humiliated, even!
There is a fine line between a jealous friend & a competitive one. Jealousy is destructive, while competition is not.
Moreover, not every little sign of jealousy in your friend needs to result in cutting ties with them. You can still be friends by responding correctly to their jealousy.
A friend who won’t budge from their jealous behavior is a friend you must cut ties with.
Your friend will either take the constructive criticism or stick to their jealousy. Either way, here is a list of tips that will help you figure out the next step:
Ways to Deal with a Jealous Friend
1. Be Honest To Them About Your Concerns
Honesty, as we know, is crucial to trust. It encourages a healthy relationship. Letting your friend know that you notice signs of a jealous friend in them is necessary.
It helps bring clarity to the situation. Your friend might be able to explain to you if the case is unlike what it looks like.
In any case, letting them know how things are from your perspective is essential. It might help you gain perspective. Be a listener to help yourself.
Talk to your friend. Be compassionate in your honesty. Think of how you present your assumption of them being jealous. Let it be as constructive & empathetic as possible for you. This will create a safe space for them to take part in a healthy conversation.
This is the first step towards the solution!
2. Do Not Be Confrontational
Your friend might feel the urge to defend themselves. They might do so in any way they can. Their defensive attitude might not be in your favor but do not hit back in this situation.
The best way to deal with a jealous friend’s defensive approach is to remain calm. Stay focused on the main goal, which is to ensure a healthy friendship.
Insecurity is the root of jealousy. Your friend’s insecurity does define anything about you. Do not react, but respond, to their defensiveness.
Here are a few ways to avoid being confrontational to your jealous friend:
· Develop the ability to take feedback. Do not fall for the urge to counter-criticize.
· Do not take things personally. Look at the problem from an ‘us v/s problem’ perspective. Neither of you has to win in this conversation because it is not a debate.
· Don’t disregard your friend’s views or feedback on your opinions. Let them feel heard.
3. Take Some Time Apart
If your conversation doesn’t go as planned or is going out of hand, take some time apart. Allow your friend to gather their thoughts, cool down, & return with a much calmer attitude.
Use this time to think more clearly about yourself. Calm yourself down & focus on your end goal.
This will help you & your friend to gain perspective &, perhaps, better focus on each other. Time helps heal.
4. Do Not Beat Around The Bush
Not sticking to the issue & wandering anywhere around will worsen things. Keep in mind the target of your conversation. It is to discuss your concerns about their supposed jealousy.
You might even find it very difficult to start such a conversation at all. It will take some amount of determination & courage to take this plunge.
But if your friendship is important to you, you must take it. Determine when would be the best time to start such a conversation. And get to the point, nicely!
5. Consider Their Point Of View
Jealousy can cause a distance between the two of you. You & your friend might not like this conversation.
Both of you might try to disregard it altogether. Think about how important it is for you to share a healthy bond. And allow this conversation to go through its full course!
You must not shut down their side of the story during this conversation. Allow their perspective to come out in the open, & re-evaluate the presumed jealousy.
It is important to put yourself in their shoes before taking any further steps. Listening to them will throw light upon which area of the issue needs more attention.
6. Give It Some Time
After having this conversation, it isn’t fair to expect immediate improvement. Your friend may need some time to get rid of their insecurity.
They may need some space before they can let go of their jealous attitude toward you. This isn’t possible while emotions are running high. Let them take their time to step up. You can use this time to rethink as well.
Do not remain bound by your previous perception of your friend as jealous & jealous alone. Be open-minded & allow yourself to see the change in your friend. Allow yourself to see more than the flaws.
7. Attend To Your Friend
Like one tends to a child, a jealous friend may need similar attention. Treat them with compassion. Accept your friend as a flawed human being on their path to growth.
Let them know you are sticking around as they choose the road to security. Help them see the good in them. Remind them of the positive aspects of your friendship.
Encourage them to feel complete & confident in who they are by accepting them. Give genuine compliments. Similarly, give genuine advice as well. Allow them to receive from you what’s best for them.
In case your jealous friend does not seem to budge from their insecurity, you may have to take a step back. Meaning: You may have to cut ties with this friend, respectfully.
A toxic friendship need not have space in your life. You need not struggle to keep this friendship intact. You must acknowledge that your friend is blocking the path to a healthy relationship.
It is better to have no friend at all than a friend committed to deteriorating the quality of your life.
All in all…
A jealous friend is, essentially, an insecure person. And insecurity can transform with a little help into security. The way to a healthy friendship is to help your friend change things for the better. Let your friendship be a priority throughout.