How To Navigate Nagging Jealousy In A Friendship

Jealousy is such a common and relatable issue that there are many songs about it, such as "Jealous" by Labrinth, which features the heartbreaking lyric "I'm jealous of the way you're happy without me." Moreover, some other songs involving themes of jealousy include the pop hits "Jealous" by Nick Jonas and "Baby, I'm Jealous" by Bebe Rexha featuring Dojo Cat, the latter of which features honest lyrics like "baby, I'm jealous of the pictures that you like. Baby, I'm jealous of the girls with lighter eyes."

While jealousy can happen in any form of relationship, the issue tends to occur frequently in friendships. For instance, envy was a recurring motif on the iconic series "Gossip Girl." The insecure Blair Waldorf would constantly get jealous of her beautiful, on-again-off-again best friend Serena van der Woodsen (via IMDb). In one episode, Waldorf got so envious that she ended up pushing her "best friend" into a fountain (via YouTube). But unlike what we often see on TV, not all friendships are toxic and need to end because jealousy is involved.

"Jealousy in friendships can crop up for a variety of reasons, but most of the time, it's because the jealous friend has low self-esteem, low self-confidence, or feels threatened somehow," Kathy Nickerson, a clinical psychologist and expert on relationships with a Ph.D., tells Shape. So, what should you do if jealousy occurs in a friendship?

What to do if you're jealous of a friend

Maybe your bestie earned a promotion while you're stuck at a job you don't enjoy. Or perhaps you think a friend always looks perfect without makeup when you feel like you have to spend hours getting ready every morning. Or, maybe your friend is hooking up with your ex, and you aren't 100% over them yet.

Regardless of why you're jealous of your friend, you shouldn't compare yourself to them, because doing so will only make you feel worse about yourself and can lead to an unhealthy dynamic. According to Sweety High, some ways to stop comparing yourself to friends include reminding yourself that you aren't competitors, appreciating what you have, and making an effort to love yourself.

Furthermore, if you genuinely want to learn how your friend is so successful in any area, whether that's how they landed such a great job or always have such flawless skin, why not just ask? When asking your friend for advice, you should have a friendly attitude and be sure to thank them (via CNBC).

Also, remember that no one's life is perfect, and most people get insecure. Even some of the most successful celebrities we can think of have admitted to feeling insecure, including Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Karlie Kloss, Ryan Reynolds, and Jessica Alba, per HuffPost. Thus, while your friend's life or looks may seem perfect, they probably have insecurities, too.

What to do if your friend is the jealous one

If you think that one of your friends might be jealous of you, there are some indications that you should look out for, such as an overly competitive attitude, pessimism, lack or absence of excitement for your accomplishments, and gossiping about you. In this situation, you should try to be patient with your friend and make an effort to understand how they feel. "Focus on exploring how you can best support your friend during this time... If your friend is jealous, you can kindly ask about it," Shawnessa Devonish, a licensed clinical professional counselor, tells Shape.

Plus, you should remind your envious friend about everything they have going for them, such as their sense of humor, beautiful smile, determined work ethic, or killer outfits. These compliments can go a long way and help your friend feel better about themself while reminding them that you care about them. But if you genuinely believe your friend is taking their jealousy out on you to the point where your friendship isn't healthy, initiate a conversation about it and take some time away if you need to.