We’d all like to think our friends will be happy for us when we reach a major milestone, celebrate a big achievement, or enjoy some good luck.
Unfortunately, some people are envious of their friends.
They cannot put aside their own feelings of inadequacy and celebrate someone else’s success.
If you’re on the receiving end of someone’s envy, you might soon find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
Your friend’s jealousy might tarnish your happiness.
You might be able to have a direct conversation about the problem, but this may lead to further resentment.
Your friend might also be too embarrassed to admit that they feel inferior.
So, how should you handle a jealous friend?
Here are 5 strategies to try:
1. Make sure you give them a realistic insight into your life:
If someone feels jealous of you, they probably assume that your life is perfect and that you are happy all the time.
Gently reminding your friend that you still face problems and challenges can help them feel less jealous.
For example, suppose your friend is jealous because you have recently become engaged and she is still waiting on a proposal from her boyfriend.
To give her a realistic view of your life, you could slip in a few hints about how much time and effort it takes to plan a wedding, the problems you are having with your in-laws, and so on.
2. Be sure to identify and praise your friend’s achievements and strengths:
Jealous friends are usually insecure.
They often feel inferior to others, are not confident in their own abilities, and might be unsure where they are headed in life.
People with good self-esteem are not threatened by anyone else, because they believe in their own talents and vision.
You can remind them of their worth by giving sincere compliments and telling your friend how much you admire them.
For example, if they are a full-time parent who seems jealous of your career, it may help to tell them how much you admire their commitment to their children.
3. Involve them in your successes:
Make it clear to your friend that you value them by asking for their advice and telling them how much you value their support.
If they feel they have played a role in your success, it may reduce their envy.
For example, if your friend is jealous of the fact you have bought a new home, ask them to give you their opinion on décor and furniture.
If their emotional and practical support has helped you reach a milestone such as a new job, make a point of thanking them for all their help over the years.
4. Ask them about their dreams for the future, and offer help if you can:
Let your friend know that their life is just as important as your own, even if they are less conventionally successful.
Ask them how their work or family life is going, and whether they are working on any special goals or projects.
If you have the resources to spare, offer to help them follow their dreams.
For instance, if your friend wants to take a night class every week to help them retrain in a new career, you could offer to babysit their children or at least help them find affordable childcare.
When someone feels they are taking steps to improve their own future, they are empowered and less likely to feel jealous.
5. If all else fails, give them some space:
Unfortunately, some cases of resentment and jealousy only heal with time.
If you sense that your friend’s envy is making either of you uncomfortable and none of the other strategies on this list have helped, it might be time for a friendship break.
Taking time apart will give your friend the opportunity to realize that their love for you is stronger than their envy – or at least, it should be!
If they never come to terms with your successes, they aren’t the kind of friend you need in your life.
Supporting your friends through the ups and downs of life is a skill that requires maturity.
However, some people never reach this stage of emotional development.
Remember, it isn’t your job to magically cure your friend’s jealousy.
All you can do is understand their position and tried to make them feel better.
Whether they want to meet you halfway is their decision.
The good news is that, in most cases, people realize that they would rather work through their envy than lose a friend.