“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” – William Penn
Nothing feels worse than achieving a goal or becoming successful in an endeavor and discovering that the people around you don’t feel proud or positive about it – but rather, they feel jealous. A person’s jealous feelings can cause them to act unkindly towards us, especially in the face of our own achievements or success.
Psychologist Steven Stosny says that jealousy “makes you think the same thing over and over and the more you do that, the less reality-testing you do. Emotions all have an illusion of certainty, and jealousy makes you certain of your perception of the world.”
Everyone has felt this unpleasant emotion at least once in their lives, and most likely much more than that. It seems much harder to deal with when other people feel jealous towards us, though. After all, we can control how we feel, but we can’t control other people’s emotions. Recognizing the signs that someone is jealous of you can be the first step to fixing it.
HERE ARE EIGHT SIGNS SOMEONE’S JEALOUS OF YOU
1. FALSE PRAISE
When someone is jealous of you, they’re often the first to give you a compliment that sounds sincere, or seems to be dripping with passive aggression. However, you’ll find that these people will be rolling their eyes the minute you leave the room.
They would rather pretend they’re not jealous than address the issue. One way to turn it back around is to give them sincere compliments when something good happens to them. It may help them see that you’re a genuine person, and help curb their jealousy.
Clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., says, “Short of becoming indiscriminately wary of others’ praise or flattery, it’s only prudent to consider whether they might have a hidden agenda in praising you. That way you can minimize the possibility that their seemingly trustworthy compliments aren’t really some sort of two-faced con.”
2. DOWNPLAY YOUR SUCCESS
No matter what you achieve or how hard you worked to do so, jealous people will always try to make it seem like it was a fluke, or that you didn’t work as hard as you did to achieve your success. The reasons that they come up with may be rude or condescending.
“People who will envy you the most are the ones who are in need the most of what you possess,” says M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.
Rising to their bait will only make them more likely to talk poorly. Stay humble but firm in your achievements. If you brag, they may be more likely to stay jealous of you.
3. FLAUNTING THEIR SUCCESS
Someone who is jealous of you may be more inclined to flaunt their success more than it’s really worth flaunting. They may be more inclined to flaunt their own achievements while you’re celebrating your own. These are the type of people to get engaged at a wedding.
But why do they flaunt their success in the first place?
Because chances are, they’re not as successful as you are. Author Bob Bly states, “There are always people who are filled with negative thoughts — not only about others whom they envy (you) but also about themselves and their perceived failure to having achieved their goals (which are often to own their own business or be richer than they are).”
While it may be frustrating, getting upset is only going to make them feel more justified in their behavior. Instead, offer them sincere praise in their achievements. Leading by example is a good way to alter someone’s behavior.
4. THEY’RE IMITATING YOU
Someone who is jealous of you alternatively wants to be better than you, and also be just like you. They may imitate the way you talk or the way you dress in order to feel better about themselves. Instead of allowing this to upset you, try to encourage them to go their own way. When they’re doing their own thing, give them positive reinforcement. Show them that they don’t have to be you to be great, and that they can be their own person.
5. THEY’RE COMPETITIVE
Jealous people tend to be highly competitive, because they always want to be the one reaping the success or as clinical psychologist Melanie Greenberg says, they are “either insecure or arrogant and want to prove superiority.”
While it can be tempting to take them down a peg, refuse to make the competition unhealthy, or even refuse to participate. If they try to argue with you about a job promotion, just simply tell them: “It isn’t a competition.” Refusing to play into their game will make them less likely to try and continue to one up you.
6. CELEBRATING YOUR FAILURES
Someone who is jealous is going to privately feel very good about when you make mistakes, or get reprimanded or corrected at work or school. While they may never show it, they’re often secretly enjoying your failures. Handle your mistakes with grace! You can always remind them that making mistakes are part of life and learning. If you’re not upset, they’re not getting the enjoyment out of it that they thought they would.
7. THEY GOSSIP BEHIND YOUR BACK
Jealous people will always find a way to talk about you behind your back. It’s not fun, and the things they say can be malicious and hurtful. The best way to deal with someone who does this may be just to confront them directly.
As author James Clear mentions, “… negativity from other people is like a wall. And if you focus on it, then you’ll run right into it. You’ll get blocked by negative emotions, anger, and self-doubt. Your mind will go where your attention is focused. Criticism and negativity don’t prevent you from reaching the finish line, but they can certainly distract you from it.”
Since jealous people don’t tend to be outwardly confrontational, talking to them seriously about what they’re doing may be enough to get them to rethink their behavior, or to get it to stop entirely.
8. THEY HATE YOU
If there’s someone you know who hates you for no conceivable reason, they may just be jealous. This one is hard to deal with, because we often don’t like to be hated for no reason. You may feel the urge to show this person that you’re entirely likeable. But, there may be nothing to do about it. If you can’t charm them into liking you, it may just be best to cut them out of your life. You don’t need that negativity, and they’re most likely working themselves up hating you for no reason. The best way to fix it is to let it go.
Dealing with someone else’s jealousy can be a tricky situation. You may feel the desire to just tell them off. But, dealing with a jealous person in a non-confrontational and positive manner is ultimately better for both you and the other person. They may feel a lot of self-esteem issues that they need to work through, and getting upset with them won’t fix or deal with their jealous tendencies. Knowing the signs of a jealous person will make it easier to fix and handle in a positive and productive manner.