How to Handle Jealousy From Friends and Family

The ones you consider to be close aren’t immune to the feelings that jealousy brings about. We compete with our friends, and even members of our family, on the many metrics of performance that riddle our lives. Two recent graduates will measure themselves up against one another whilst attempting to find their first job. Two brothers will stay out late at the local park in their attempts to figure out who the better basketball player is. Where there is competition, you’re bound to find feelings of jealousy and envy. In reading this article, think back to the times when you’ve felt feelings of jealousy coming from those who you call close. You may have acted kindly toward them, and remained a loyal friend. However, your respective successes may have proved to be enough in triggering feelings of unworthiness and envy

Jealousy from friends and family places us in a delicate position. Above all, there is a relationship to maintain. Guiding their feelings down to a common, unemotional understanding and camaraderie, involves performing a series of correct actions on your end. Jealousy creeps in when we see others, who were once on our level of success in any particular domain, climbing up the steps of modern survival and prosperity faster than we are. Jealousy is birthed by way of many triggers, seemingly including the marriage of similaritycompetition, and a lack of perceived fairness. The advice below is predicated on these notions. This article makes the assumption that you do not seek to propagate feelings of jealousy in close friends and family. Though you may find a twisted pleasure from making those around you jealous of your success, the results of that venture are seldom favorable.  


Recognizing and Responding 


We get jealous of those who we view as our competition. You can feel jealous of a colleague receiving praise from your mutual manager, or a millionaire driving his luxury sports car down the street on your way home from work. It’s true that the colleague and the millionaire share differing levels of success. Your feeling of jealousy in that case, would be based on the notion of realistically seeing yourself in their shoes, with reality painfully dictating otherwise. This is why your family and friends are prime suspects in being jealous of your accomplishments – as they are typically in a similar social, professional, and economic bracket as you are. They perceive themselves being similar to you. Any perceived lapse in fairness is thereby at risk of morphing into jealousy. The accomplishments you attain should be turned into motivation for them before jealousy can creep into their minds. They should feel that your accomplishments are attainable and not as romantic as they appear to be.

Noticing jealousy from close friends and family involves knowing common triggers for its birth. Develop a sense of feeling people out for envious or jealous traits. First, familiarize yourself with the common scenarios in which jealousy develops, as mentioned above (perceived similarities, perceived lack of fairness). Watch out for those who seek to be in your shoes as they find themselves wearing the shoes you’ve already thrown away.


Below, is a sample of general patterns and examples that people exhibit when they’re jealous of your accomplishments:

  • Their encouragement does not match the average level of encouragement from others
  • As new people begin to come into your life due to your success, jealous ones begin to fade into the shadows
  • General behavior of downplaying your good actions and ideas (subtle, verbal jabs, one upping comments, excuses for your successes, etc.)
  • Seeing that you’re clever in one area, they’ll attempt to prove your lack of intellect in other areas (not taking your input seriously) 
  • Favorable or not, your successes become a consistent topic of conversation 

Especially when dealing with close friends and relatives, jealousy can put strains on the relationships which are worth much more than the pride of being victorious in a certain pursuit. Jealous people can be erratic, and can cause damage by way of many acts. When you feel jealousy manifest from your close friends and relatives, work to dissipate it. Prior to beginning though, prime yourself with a general outlook of the situation at hand. Don’t attempt to blame anyone for being jealous, and don’t make judgments on their intention merely based on their jealousy of your achievements. Your goals here, should be to preserve a good relationship whilst dissipating the feelings of jealousy which plague it. 

The first step to dealing with jealousy from your friends and family is to not react to any statements, remarks, looks, emotions, or blatant ill-willed acts. Treat the actions which stem out of their jealous ways as you would with a child misbehaving. Ignore their bashful attempts at pulling you back down to their level of competition by recognizing their efforts to do so immediately. Take a minute to establish motivations for the edgy behavior of those you suspect to be operating with jealousy. We wary of reacting and encouraging the growth of ill will. Act as a sponge first, and collect uninterrupted evidence. 

Do not call out another person’s jealousy. You should not let it be known that you are aware of their jealous emotions and the actions which are motivated by those emotions. Once you recognize that someone’s actions may be rooted in jealousy towards some of your accomplishments, move on to downplay those accomplishments in any way you can.


Downplaying Accomplishments


Your various accomplishments are typically what will give birth to jealousy in friends and family. Accomplishments however, can be defined by a wide variety of metrics. Friends may get jealous of a new position that you landed, serving to propel you ahead of them on the corporate ladder. A sibling may perceive your new car to be a reminder of them not doing well financially. Your own mother can perceive you spending more time with your mother in law to be offensive. Jealousy and new additions go hand in hand. The things, people, and skills you add to your life will rustle feathers and muddy waters. As a preventative measure, try to keep your accomplishments, growths, successes, and victories under wraps as much as possible. Don’t appear overly prideful of how your life is shaping out to be. Operate from a place of constant self improvement and consistent growth. In doing so, you’ll remain hungry for more, thereby never finding yourself overly satisfied with what you attain. 

When friends and family find out about accomplishments – and they often will – ensure that you downplay all of the ones which may reinforce, or give birth to, feelings of jealousy within them. Mention that your wins look better than they actually feel, and make others believe that you are not in any way happier than you were before. It’s critical to voice some of the darker truths of your successes. Mention how lucky you got along the way, as luck is more difficult to feel jealous toward than proven skill. Mention how much help you’ve received on the way, and that you’re not the sole controller of how well your life’s been going. 

Feelings of jealousy stem from people not having what they want, and the approach of downplaying your accomplishments aims to dismiss those things as sought-after winnings. Aim to make the jealous people in your life want what you have a little less. Mention the negatives, and make them think twice about wanting the things which you worked hard to achieve.

This is not a fool-proof method, and there are times when people want to achieve the same accomplishments as you did even more, once you share information with them. Examples of this are people who become interested in acquiring a real estate broker’s license after you sell your client’s house, or those who register a domain for a blog once you show them all the visitors yours gets. 


Making Your Wins Seem Attainable


When jealous people inquire about how you attained what you have, remember to make your accomplishments seem attainable to them. Be open and honest in what you did to achieve the things they desire to achieve as well, and be genuinely helpful in advising them of achieving the same. Be confident enough in your own skill set by teaching others how to fish for themselves. Perhaps the most effective way of curbing jealousy, especially in close friends and family, is to be open in regards to how you’ve attained what they so desire. 

Seek to answer all the questions that they have for you. Selfishness in the midst of handling jealousy from others will result in exacerbating their ill feelings toward you. If they ask overly personal questions, practice the art of deflecting those questions by countering with even more intriguing questions to explore.

A simple example of this is answering the question of, “How much money did you make last month?”

Deflecting such a question can involve saying, “I’m not going to tell you, but I can tell you the things I did in the process of earning my income.” By doing so, you make your wins seem attainable to all without exposing any overly sensitive information to those who ask. 

By making your accomplishments seem attainable, you’ll serve to deflect others’ willingness to compete with you toward useful measure rather than jealousy. They’ll begin to think of your accomplishments to be disassociated with you, rather than you being the sole owner of what you’ve achieved. They’ll begin to realize that accomplishments are out there for all to achieve, if they know how to do it. They’ll be less motivated by jealousy, and more by intrigue. Motivation grows the more attainable we believe our goals to be, and seeing someone else tell us that we are on the right path raises that level of motivation while eliminating the jealousy which is propagated by sour ignorance.

Book Recommendation:

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Did the ideas/methods in this article work for you?

Spread the love
Scroll to top