How to Deal With Jealous People

Some of us have dealt with jealousy at some point or another. We may have encountered jealous people at work, in our circle of friends, or a past relationship.

So, is it possible to maintain a healthy relationship with them or just avoid them entirely?

To determine how to handle them best, we asked experts how to deal with jealous people.

Here are their insights:

Emily Griffin, MA, LCPC, LPC, RPT

Emily Griffin

Mental Health Therapist, Clarity Through Counseling

Be kind to them — show that you are caring and trustworthy

Someone who is jealous of you may not realize this is the emotion that they are experiencing. We tend to have both primary and secondary emotions in most situations.

  • Primary emotions are our core emotions, usually vulnerable emotions we do not like to show others, such as sadness, shame, or guilt.
  • Secondary emotions are more “socially acceptable,” like anger and happiness.

Jealousy, a primary emotion, can present itself as anger (secondary emotion), annoyance, or even someone being distant.

If you suspect that someone’s coldness could be due to jealousy, kindness is a great tool. This can show the person that you are caring and trustworthy and hopefully will allow them to put their guard down or realize that they are projecting their feelings onto you.

You can make a point to always include them in emails or in conversations, and your persistence could have a helpful benefit for them to learn about themselves. This can also help ensure that you do not react in a way that could fuel their anger.

You can compliment them on things that you genuinely like, find interesting, or admire about them to boost their self-esteem.

Related: How to Improve Your Self-Esteem – The Ultimate Guide

Set boundaries: With people and with yourself

You may need to set boundaries with people who show their jealousy as anger towards you.

This may look like saying something verbally to them, such as, “I do not appreciate being talked to like that.” Or this could look like a non-verbal boundary like not engaging in conversation or leaving the room if you sense hostility. You get to decide what to do to create emotional safety for yourself and ensure a comfortable environment.

You may also need to set boundaries with yourself.

This could look like deciding that any comments the person makes to you or about you, you will not contemplate about it or take it to heart. This can be difficult, as sometimes a jealous person’s comments can be very negative.

This means that you will have to identify if you are thinking about this comment repeatedly and use thought distracting techniques to reframe your thoughts to another topic.

A reframe could look like: “Chris likes to try to make me second guess myself. I am not going to allow that. I am focusing on taking a walk with my dog.”

You may need to repeat the last sentence over and over again in order for your thoughts to stop looping back to the negative comment. This helps you not lose yourself in the jealous person’s emotions and focus on your own values and fulfillment.

You can use empathy with the person who is jealous

Empathy is one of the most important mental health skills we can have. You can use empathy with the jealous person and with yourself. This empathy can be verbalized to the person.

For example, if they are extra critical, you could say, “You aren’t excited about my idea to get more customers because you feel like there is a better way. That’s fair. What do you have in mind?”

If they tell you they are jealous, you could respond by saying, “It’s frustrating to see someone doing things they love, and you want to do that too. What’s something you have always wanted to try?” This shows that you get their feelings and are interested in who they are.

You can also practice empathy internally by understanding why someone is feeling and acting the way they are by taking into account their life experiences and abilities. This could mean taking different perspectives on why the person is jealous of you or treats you unkindly.

They may be jealous because they have low self-esteem or have always been compared to others growing up, so they tend to do the same into adulthood. This comes from a sense of insecurity. Imagining that place of insecurity can be helpful in not reacting angrily toward the person.

Remind yourself: You cannot control others

Know that you cannot control others’ behaviors or emotions. You cannot make someone stop feeling jealous. That is an internal job for that person to work on and hopefully be able to establish their own sense of worth.

Remind yourself that you cannot control others and can only control what you do and say.

Jealousy towards you means that what you are doing is creative, interesting, or meaningful. Remind yourself that you want to focus on those things that are meaningful to you and that you are proud of prioritizing yourself and the things you do.

Barry Granek, LMHC

Barry Granek

Licensed Psychotherapist, Psychology Today

Become more comfortable with jealousy

Jealousy is a natural emotion. Like all emotions, jealousy has a purpose and cannot be eradicated, nor should it. The emotion of jealousy signals to us what we want and what gives us pleasure.

Its healthiest version immobilizes us to pursue our goals and can alert us to pursue things essential to our survival.

Blaming someone for feeling jealous is not automatically necessary. It is true that we are responsible for learning how to manage our emotions constructively and avoid harming others.

Jealousy, when misapplied, can lead to anything from internal strife to conflict in relationships. Yet when cultivated correctly, it can be an unparalleled opportunity to deepen one’s awareness of what they want and who they care about.

Being the subject of jealousy can elicit a variety of emotions and responses. When unaddressed, it can:

  • Tear relationships apart
  • Create resentments
  • Prevent loved ones from seeing each other’s point of view

As a therapist, I observe that sometimes the hardest part of my patients being subject to jealousy is their own associations with the emotion.

To manage jealousy more effectively, begin by asking yourself, “What is underneath the jealousy?” If you were the subject of jealousy and the experience was traumatic, one may mistakenly detect a threat by associating the current situation with a previous one.

Even when the past event seems inconsequential, if not dealt with appropriately, the emotions can build over time and eventually lead to traumatic stress symptoms (have you ever wondered, “Why am I so anxious? Nothing bad is happening”).

Address your emotions and feelings

Begin by asking yourself what is bothering you. Notice and observe your feelings. How exactly does this jealousy affect you? Are you in any danger? Consider what emotions were allowed in your childhood home and what emotions were shut down.

If, as a child, you were not encouraged to feel all emotions and, even more so, learned that certain emotions are not okay, perceiving jealousy can generate anxiety.

You may want the jealousy to stop, and in some cases feel an impulse to try to stop through action. Reevaluate whether jealousy is hurting anyone. If there is no threat or risk of danger, you can reframe jealousy as a compliment on your hard work, accomplishment, and obtaining something desirable.

Once you are honest with yourself and what is contributing to your own feelings and why, you can begin by taking active steps to resolve your situation in a way that meets your own needs.

Confront the jealousy by communicating openly

One step is to confront the jealousy by communicating openly. Talk about it and have an honest conversation. Ensure that both parties have a chance to explain their point of view and do not blame one another for your feelings.

Through discussion, you can come up with a compromise.

While ignoring is a common way to deal with difficult emotions, the feelings have a way of continuing to pop up without dealing with them properly. Instead of allowing jealousy to affect you, you can be proactive and develop resolutions, for example, by helping the other person with themselves or their projects.

Acknowledge that you understand their feelings and that you’re available to help

If the person is putting the jealousy to its intended use, then accept and even embrace it by helping them achieve their goals. You can acknowledge that you understand their feelings and that you are available to help them with their ambitions.

You may be surprised to learn that there are feelings underneath the jealousy:

  • Humiliation
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Inadequacy

In therapy, we bring these to the forefront of attention, which takes the sting out and fosters self-acceptance. This may lead to further dialog, which is an opportunity to learn about the origin.

Knowing when to disengage is important

There is a point when engaging with a jealous person can become hurtful. Knowing when to disengage is important. Jealousy can be harmful if not addressed.

Start by assessing if you detect an actual threat, signs the person may cause distress or even cause injury. Remember that emotional harm is still harm.

After processing your feelings, communicating openly, and setting clear boundaries, you still find that the jealousy remains unaddressed, and a resolution is not promising; that is a sign to begin disengaging.

Keep distance to create emotional and physical safety

Focus your energy instead of having self-compassion and appreciation for what you have. In the end, jealousy is their issue; we can only control ourselves.

Remind yourself that it is okay that they feel upset and that it is not your responsibility to solve it for them. It is okay to keep distance to create emotional and physical safety.

Danine Dean, Psy. D.

Danine Dean

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Turn that jealousy into self-growth

We have all had moments where we admire and internally envy parts of other people, appearances, abilities, personalities, or other attributes. And most of us have had jealousy aimed or directed at us without warning.

Neither of these experiences feels good, and most times, jealousy internally or aimed at us can provide opportunities for self-growth.

Turn that jealousy into self-growth. If you find yourself in a situation where someone appears envious, jealous, or overly competitive, here are a few things to remind yourself.

  1. Take a deep breath and try not to react.
  2. Assess if this is something worth addressing head-on or confronting.
  3. Remind yourself that your self-confidence is something that you admire about yourself and should not be altered because of outside opinions.
  4. Delete or block people that insist on letting you know that your confidence impacts them.
  5. Remind yourself that jealousy is just the surface emotion. There are probably other emotions that are underneath it.
  6. Hold space and empathy for people with less self-awareness and difficulty taking a look at themselves.
  7. A reminder that jealousy can happen to anyone and that you have also, at some point, experienced similar feelings.
  8. Focus on relationships that encourage you to be your best self.

Remember, jealousy aimed at you may cause you to feel some discomfort.

Also, remember that someone else’s feelings are not your responsibility. Stay positive, try not to take others’ opinions and feelings to heart, and learn to protect your mental energy.

Angela Karanja

Angela Karanja

Adolescent Psychologist | Founder, Raising Remarkable Teenagers Movement

Help them examine the reasons and emotions that underlie their jealousy

Jealousy is a complicated emotion, and jealous people can exhibit a range of negative behaviors ranging from suspicion to hatred. These feelings are aroused when they think or feel threatened, whether real or imagined.

Jealousy can destroy relationships while no one can control how other thinks, feels, and behaves.

That’s why it’s essential to know how to deal with jealous people and make an effort to do so—and this is not to take it away from them, but mainly to help them process and understand how these feelings can be harmful to themselves, and also to their relationships.

The effort you make to deal with jealous people depends on their importance in your life.

One of the most important aspects to understand is that jealousy stems from unfounded fear and threat, low self-esteem, and scarcity mentality (i.e., feelings of inadequacy and inequality). From this point, you now know you have no control or charge over how the other person feels and or behaves, and it is not your fault that they feel that way.

While we can’t control how they feel and behave, we can have sensitive conversations that inspire change.

So, initially identify how important the person is to you.

For example, if your relationship with your family members and friends matters:

  1. Bring this jealousy issue to their awareness.
  2. Help them examine the reasons and emotions that underlie their jealousy. Support them to self-evaluate and reflect.
  3. Reassure them that they are enough, worthy, and belong, making you not a threat.

With a willingness on their part to self-evaluate, and your encouragement and reassurance, there’s likely to be an increase in self-awareness, esteem, and efficacy that can inspire them to rise to a point where they feel enough and adequate.

Therefore, they don’t have to compete, compare, or worry and relinquish their jealousy. However, this must be done so that the other person understands that it’s their responsibility to manage their emotions, change them, and grow.

Stopping their jealousy should not be dependent on you having to change anything for them to stop feeling those negative feelings (otherwise, this would be control and manipulation)—their feelings are theirs to manage and change. It’s not the responsibility of others to take these feelings away.

Now, if the jealous person is not an important part of your circle, I’d say:

  • Just continue with your life and send them silent good vibes.
  • Focus on what you like doing and doing it to your best, and continue to be you as you add value to humanity.
  • Give no thought to them.

Otherwise, they’ll drag you into their negative field of energy, and when you begin to worry about what they think about you, this derails your focus from living the life you want, enriching your life, and fulfilling your life’s mission.

Don’t let their comments or criticisms get to you

Jealous people will always find something to criticize you for. Whether it’s the way you dress, your job, your relationship status, or anything else, they will find a way to bring you down. If you let their words get to you, it will only make things worse.

The best thing you can do is ignore them and focus on the positive things in your life. It’s important to show them that you don’t care about what they think and that their opinion doesn’t bother you.

The more they see that their attempts to bring you down are fruitless, the more likely they will give up and leave you alone.

Jealous people thrive on attention. The more you give them, the more power they have over you. It’s important to stay strong and maintain your composure around them because their negativity can be contagious.

Avoid talking about your accomplishments in front of them

Jealous people will try to downplay your accomplishments and make you feel bad about yourself. They will try to make you feel like you’re not good enough and don’t deserve what you have.

One way to deal with this is to avoid talking about your successes or what makes you happy around them. If they can’t find anything to criticize you for, they will eventually get bored and move on.

You can celebrate your achievements with supportive people who will make you feel good about yourself. Talk to your friends and family about what makes you proud, and let them know how much you appreciate them.

Try to be understanding and sympathetic to their feelings

Jealous people are usually insecure and have low self-esteem. They feel like they’re not good enough and need to put others down to make themselves feel better. Sometimes, it’s not even about you at all.

Related: Why Are People Insecure?

They may have problems in their own lives they’re not dealing with, and they take out their anger and frustration on you.

Try to be understanding and sympathetic. It will be easier to deal with them if you can understand where their jealousy is coming from. Try not to take their comments personally and remember that they are just trying to make themselves feel better.

By understanding their insecurity, you can show them some compassion and maybe even help them work through their issues. When they see that you’re not their enemy, they may start to soften up their attitude towards you.

Don’t engage in gossip

One of the things that jealous people love to do is spread gossip. They love to hear juicy secrets and talk about other people behind their backs. They love to spread rumors and ruin relationships. Many times, they don’t even know the person they’re talking about, and they’re just looking for a way to cause drama.

Related: Why Do People Talk Behind Your Back?

If you don’t want to be associated with this type of behavior, don’t engage in gossip. It’s important to stay away from negative conversations. If you’re talking to someone who starts to gossip, be honest and let them know that you don’t want to participate.

You may even want to walk away from the conversation.

Another thing you can try is to change the subject. If you can get the person to talk about something else, they may eventually lose interest in gossiping. Being positive and upbeat is the best way to deflect negative conversations.

There are different types of jealousy, and each one needs to be handled differently.

Not all jealous people are created equal. Some people may be more passive and just want to be included in your life, while others may be more aggressive and try to sabotage your relationships. In some cases, you will find yourself dealing with a manipulative person who uses emotional blackmail to get what they want.

Each type of jealousy needs to be handled differently.

  • If you’re dealing with a passive person, you may need to include them more in your life.
  • If you’re dealing with an aggressive person, you may need to set boundaries and protect yourself from them.
  • If you’re dealing with a manipulative person, you may need to be very careful about what you say and do around them.
  • If you’re close friends, it may be harder to set boundaries.

Additionally, your reaction will depend on your relationship with the person. However, if you don’t have a close relationship with them, it may be easier to ignore their behavior.

No matter what type of jealous person you’re dealing with and your relationship with them, the most important thing is to stay positive. Don’t let their negativity affect your mood or outlook on life.

Related: What are the Benefits of Positive Thinking?

Nicole Kleiman-Reck, MA, LMHC

 Nicole Kleiman-Reck

Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Relationship Specialist, Choosing Therapy

Allow them to have their own perspective without personalizing it

One of the best ways to deal with jealous people is to remember that they are separate from you. Having a strong sense of self can be instrumental when dealing with jealous people. This is because people with high self-esteem are not as easily influenced by others.

It’s also important to know that there is often a hidden longing underneath jealousy. Remembering this can help to lessen the anger that jealousy can cause. You cannot control anyone but yourself, so allowing them to have their own perspective without personalizing it is key.

Curiosity is a crucial component to deal with jealousy effectively.

Ask questions to get a clearer understanding of their perspective. Yes, jealousy can be difficult to deal with but know that you are 50% of the role in any of your relationships. This means you have a lot of power within.

Instead of reacting or getting defensive, ask questions to find out more about how someone may be viewing you. Any repeated behavior is being reinforced, so by not reinforcing or reacting to jealousy, you are well on your way to lessening the stress that jealousy can cause.

Acceptance and change are important components when dealing with any relationship conflict, and this applies to your interactions with jealous people. You can change your response and how you approach a person when jealousy is an issue.

You need to accept that they may or may not change. Then, you can either avoid or alter your relationship with a jealous person (another thing that is in your control).

Looking at the big picture is vital when dealing with a jealous person.

  1. Remember your values
  2. Remember what you want to stand for, and be that person

Then, the jealousy will soon become just an afterthought.

Marisa Peer

Marissa Peer

Creator, Rapid Transformational Therapy | Author, Tell Yourself A Better Lie

If you are not bothered by the jealousy it’s best to ignore it

Nowadays, you can be the victim of jealousy in most aspects of your life because of social media. The trolls and the haters are in the background on nearly all the social media platforms, waiting to hurt with mean and cruel comments.

It can be easier to deal with online jealousy than with someone who has a problem with you in the real world. You can easily block the offender without having to engage with them directly.

When it comes to a friend, work colleague, or even a family member, tackling the problem is harder and will require full use of your diplomatic skills.

Jealousy can manifest itself in all sorts of ways.

  • The friend who is always gossiping about you behind your back or putting you down, yet showers you with flattery in person.
  • The friend who always finds the weak spot in everything you suggest, or wear or do. If you suggest staying in, they’ll call you boring and insist on going out. If you go out and are social, they may call you an attention seeker.
  • The person who is cold towards you but then copies everything you do—from choosing the same hairstyle and clothes to watching the same shows and turning up at the same places you go to.
  • The friend who passive-aggressively never likes your social media posts.
  • The person who ‘black cats’ you – if you’ve taken some great shots of penguins at your local zoo, they will have been to Antarctica to film them in their native habitat.

What is jealousy?

Jealousy is a combination of negative emotions, including insecurity, anger, anxiety, and fear. In its most benign form, it is a biological response we have inherited from our caveman days to ensure survival. In men, its primary function is to ensure their DNA is passed on, while for women, it is to ensure their needs are met.

It can be completely natural in some circumstances—if you saw your partner with someone else, you would instantly feel jealous. In extreme cases, underlying mental health disorders can lead to pathological jealousy.

We’re talking about the middle ground here—someone you’re dealing with who seems to have developed long-term feelings of jealousy towards you, affecting your life quality.

If a friend or colleague is jealous, this is usually a symptom of low self-worth.

For example, they perceive you as a threat to their success, career path, or being more popular than they are. If a partner displays unwarranted jealousy, this is down to low self-esteem and fear that you will find someone better than them. Perhaps they were betrayed in the past and now expect every partner they have to do the same.

Related: How to Deal With Coworkers Who Don’t Like You

How to deal with jealous people

If you are not bothered by the jealous behavior, it’s best to ignore it. Sometimes admitting you are upset is just what a spiteful person hopes to achieve.

However, if it is dragging you down or getting in the way of your relationship with that person, then tackle it head-on.

Look at yourself

Before you accuse someone of being jealous, take stock of your own behavior and make sure that you haven’t done something that could have upset them.

Could they have misconstrued something you said? Are they simply going through a bad time and are preoccupied?

Acknowledge the person’s jealousy

Arrange to speak face-to-face with the person and away from other people. Without getting angry, ask them why they seem so mad at you without using the J word.

If they deny this, provide one or two examples. If they are genuine, they will give some answer even if it does not fully explain their behavior.

If they still deny it and dismiss your examples using phrases like “I never said that” or “You’re being oversensitive,” you might be better off drawing a line under the conversation. This sort of behavior is known as gaslighting, and you will probably do better not having this person in your life.

Examine the jealousy

If they acknowledge their behavior, albeit grudgingly, gently examine where this jealousy is coming from.

What emotions and feelings are behind it? What is the perceived threat? Tread softly but try to get them to tease out the comparisons they make between the two of you and why they fear they don’t measure up.

Point out all the good things about them and the things that are not so great in your life. Social media can even give people a distorted view of someone else’s life.

Related: How Social Media Affects Relationships

Encourage the other person to talk but equally state your case

Talk about your own feelings. Let them know how their behavior makes you feel but do this using sentences that start with “I feel” rather than “You make” as this will put them on the defensive.

Make sure they know you value their friendship but not at any cost. Encourage the other person to talk but equally state your case—both of you need to have a voice in the conversation and an agreed way ahead about how you will behave towards each other.

Make sure you have a verbal contract, so there is no ambiguity around this in the future.

A little kindness goes a long way

When faced with fear, people are not always in control of their reactions and how they come across. Realize that the jealousy stems from a wound, and a little kindness goes a long way to encourage healing.

Identify the source of their jealousy

Although it might be difficult, try to help them identify the source of their jealousy. It may be something they have chosen to bury deep in their subconscious, and you happen to push their buttons.

Encourage them to seek external help with an approach such as Rapid Transformational Therapy.

Moving forward

Now that you have agreed on a way forward, you have created solid boundaries. If you find yourself still on the receiving end of this person’s hostility and they are ignoring boundaries, it’s a sign that this can’t be a healthy friendship.

Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Doesn’t Respect Boundaries

You can seek some help moving away from the situation—deal with any hurt immediately, and don’t carry it with you as unwanted emotional baggage.

Dr. Julie Friedman

Julie Friedman

Clinical Health Psychologist | Executive Clinical Director, Skyway Behavioral Health

The best way to deal with jealousy is to avoid such people

Being the ground rule for every negative feeling and emotion in the world, every time you spot any negative person around you, make sure to be away from them. Irrespective of whether they are your acquaintances or friends.

You need to eliminate them from your life as sheer jealousy can gradually impact your life in a massive way.

If you cannot dodge their presence, you need to confront them head-on about this feeling and discuss with them these feelings they are spreading around you. This can give you a better insight into the next steps you need to take to eliminate it from your life.

Jean Tien

Jean Tien

Intuitive Coach and Creator, The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Method™

Offer your support but be mindful of your intention

Jealousy is never about the other person. Often, when individuals see others doing “better” than how they perceive their lives, there are hidden beliefs that the jealous individual is holding onto that keep the individual jealous and competing against others.

Usually, those beliefs that lead to jealousy are fear-based beliefs that the individual will never achieve the same greatness that others have already achieved. The fact that others have already achieved these goals proves that the jealous individual is not worthy.

When dealing with jealous individuals, you must remember these things:

  1. It is not your responsibility to cure their jealousy. The responsibility falls on the “perpetrator” – the jealous individual.
  2. It is not your job to shrink your achievements so that they feel more comfortable around you. This is true of personal and professional relationships.
  3. It is also important to remember that everyone is going through something as we’re all dealing with our own limiting beliefs in one form or another.

Have compassion when you see jealousy being targeted at you and offer your support but be mindful of your intention when you approach the individual. Most of the time, whatever the other person thinks he wants isn’t likely what he wants in the first place. You are not better than them.

This means that, if Employee A is jealous because he didn’t get the promotion that Employee B received, then the promotion he feels he should have gotten instead of B may be confirming A’s insecurities—that he’s not worthy of a promotion or that he has to work harder than everyone else to get noticed.

If Employee A passed for the same promotion many times over, his jealousy might stem from feeling insecure about his position within the company. Employee A may not even have wanted the promotion but it’s what the promotion represents to him that matters most.

This is true of personal relationships, as well. When the husband becomes jealous that his wife is spending too much time with the children or co-workers, he may feel as if he doesn’t matter to her anymore. He feels insecure about his position in the family and with his wife.

Being “second fiddle” to the children may bring up childhood trauma where he played second fiddle to his siblings or to his parents’ jobs. Being pushed aside again by someone he thought was supposed to cherish him “until death” dredges up these past emotions he felt resolved when he aged.

It’s not the wife’s responsibility to cure his insecurities, but she can:

  • Support him by re-prioritizing her schedule to accommodate him,
  • Reinforce her feelings for him, or
  • Do whatever else he may need to address his jealousy.

Angering and fueling jealousy will not support others. Instead, it will create more disharmony for all parties involved.

Alexa Davis

Alexa Davis

B.A Degree in Psychology | Founder, Ambitiously Alexa

You should use empathy, logic, and reason

Using these three key elements together will keep you level-headed and will assist in handling the jealous person with respect and assertiveness.

For example, if the jealous person confronts you, first, respond with an acknowledgment of their feelings (i.e., “I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, and I can understand where you’re coming from.”)

Then, explain logically and rationally that you are on different paths. If they are jealous of, say, an achievement of yours, remind them that we are all at different places in life and that your achievements are unique to you.

You don’t owe them an in-depth explanation of anything, just a gentle reminder that everyone’s accomplishments will differ and that it is okay to be in a different place in life.

You aren’t responsible for catering to their feelings beyond being respectful.

You must set clear-cut boundaries

If this jealous person seems to be keeping an eye on your every move, make it a point to create distance between you two. You don’t deserve to feel like you’re walking on eggshells, hoping not to tick them off.

You may need to explain to them that you don’t wish to discuss the subject they feel jealous about. If this is someone in your personal life, it is perfectly acceptable to distance yourself if the situation arises.

Things can get a little tricky for jealousy in the workplace, though. If there is a jealous coworker you’re talking about, you may need to confront the situation head-on and see how you can best remedy the tension.

For example, you may ask them, “We seem to have trouble working together. What can we do to make our relationship at work better?”

By opening up a discussion like that, you have the opportunity to set boundaries in one way or another. Making the jealous offender aware of the problem is the first step in finding a solution.

Christopher Kokoski

Christopher Kokoski

Relationship Expert, Relationship Fire

We’ve all encountered jealousy at some point or another. Whether it’s a colleague who doesn’t want you to get the promotion, an insecure partner, or a friend who is always competition-minded, dealing with jealous people can be a challenge.

The important thing to remember is that jealousy is often about the other person’s insecurities and fears, not about you.

Related: What Causes Insecurity and Jealousy in a Relationship?

Here are some tips for dealing with jealous people:

Validate their feelings; let them feel heard

Don’t try to downplay or dismiss their jealousy. Instead, validate their feelings and let them know that you understand why they might feel that way. Acknowledging their feelings will help to diffuse the situation and make them feel heard.

Repeat back what they say in their own words. Then, you can say something like, “I understand that you feel X when I Y.

For example, “I understand that you feel jealous when I talk so much about my other friends. When I do that, you feel like you’re not as important to me.”

Reassure them that you value your relationship

Once you’ve acknowledged their feelings, let them know that you still care about them and value your relationship. Reassure them that they are important to you and that you’re not going anywhere.

It’s important to reassure them since they might feel like they’re not important to you anymore or that you don’t care about them. Let them know that’s not the case and that you still value your relationship.

Diffuse jealousy by avoiding comparisons

One of the best ways to diffuse jealousy is to avoid comparisons entirely. Instead of talking about how much better your life is than your friend’s, focus on the positive aspects of your own life.

This will help you to feel more content and prevent you from feeling envious of your friend’s good fortune.

Another way to avoid comparisons is to refrain from talking about the things that you have that are better than your friends or colleagues.

Don’t go against yourself

Other people’s jealousy is not your problem. Don’t take on more than your fair share of responsibility. Listen, validate, reassure, and avoid comparisons. You can even change little things that don’t significantly affect you.

Lauren Debiec, M.A.

Lauren Debiac

Addictions Therapist, The Ohana Luxury Drug Rehab

Don’t put yourself down to make them happy

How you deal with jealous people depends on who the person is. If it’s a co-worker or friend, make sure you resist the temptation to downplay your own achievements or put yourself down to make them feel better.

You might think that this will help your friend be less jealous, but it won’t help. The problem is with your friend’s internal thoughts, not your achievements.

  • Talk it out

If it’s with a romantic partner, talk to them about your feelings. Try to understand how they are feeling and where the jealousy is coming from.

Related: Why Do We Get Jealous in Relationships?

  • Set needed boundaries

Also, set boundaries. Setting boundaries is a healthy thing in a relationship. Let them know that you will not change your behavior because they feel jealous. Be open to couple’s therapy.

  • Go to therapy

If your partner is jealous to the point where they are monitoring your behavior or infringing on your freedom, it could mean that the relationship is not healthy. This is definitely the time to talk to a therapist.

Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Relationship expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

Ask them directly what triggers their actions

It is no secret that each one of us has dealt with a factor of jealousy in our lives. Whether it is being jealous of ourselves or having people envy us. But over time, one needs just to learn how to deal with them because you can run into jealous individuals at any point in life.

First of all, understand that jealousy is usually rooted in insecurity.

Each situation is unique and needs to be handled accordingly. So initially, one should try to avoid this situation at all costs. If you can’t avoid them, then delete them or what they say.

If even that feels useless, just tackle it head-on and ask them directly what triggers their actions. Try to be the bigger person, disarm them with positivity, and constantly remind yourself that they are the problem, not you.

Stewart J. Guss

Stewart J. Guss

Founder, Stewart J Guss Injury Accident Lawyers

Jealous people are like trolls: Don’t feed them

Jealous people are like trolls: Don’t feed them. The more active and adamant you are about what makes you great, the more they’ll want to tear you down. If you come in contact with a jealous person, try to find out what drove them to contact you.

It may be best to limit their access to your social media feeds or move them off your email thread, so they’re unaware in the future. While this does put the onus on you to react to their behavior, it’s often the simpler path.

Jealousy is something a person can overcome, but only if they do so on their own. For the rest of us, mitigating their feelings so we can focus on ourselves is a good bet.

Arianna Kaminski

Arianna Kaminski

Poet and Podcaster | Author, Earthly Thoughts

Take control of the situation

When someone is jealous, they often try to show that they have some kind of power over you. By taking control of the situation and showing that their negative words do not harm you, you are showing them that you are standing tall.

They can direct comments at you, but you will keep your composure. This shows that you have respect for yourself.

Accept what is happening to decide what’s the next best action to take

It can be hard to accept that a friend is trying to sabotage your work because they are jealous. But in order to move on from this, it is important to accept what is happening so you can decide what are the best actions to take next.

Sometimes some temporary distance is enough to dissolve the conflict, other times permanent distance may be the solution.

Michelle Devani

Michelle Devani

Founder, LoveDevani

Nobody is exempt from the cruelty of jealous people. Their actions are neither kind nor loving; they seek to direct hatred and toxicity towards you. It hurts more when people you perceive as friends are jealous of you.

Related: Why Do I Attract Jealous Friends?

Jealousy is rooted in insecurity. Here’s how to deal with it:

Do not take it personally

Nothing you do will satisfy a jealous person. Despite your best intentions, they are focused on spreading hatred and negativity. It has nothing to do with you; the problem lies with them.

Do not let them affect you or damage your self-confidence.

Address the issue directly

If ignoring the person is not an option, avoid approaching them when you are angry or stressed out. Talk to them calmly and rationally, and prepare what you have to say.

Choose a kinder approach and express your desire to build a positive and supportive relationship.

Give them no reason to be in denial

Jealous people are usually in denial. My idea of dealing with them is to give them no reason to do so. If you care about this type of person, you will not let them be jealous of other people. But another thing you can do is to explain to them things that they are envious of.

To do this, you can :

  • Voluntarily approach them
  • Tell them the reasons not to be jealous

Valerie Weyland

Valerie Weyland

Reiki Master | Founder, Brown Girl Bloom

We must be mindful that their actions are being reflective of their inner state

It’s common knowledge that comparison can be the thief of joy, and when we are living in a state of comparing ourselves to others, it’s inevitable that it will spark a sense of scarcity and unworthiness.

Why? We are all uniquely made with our own gifts; therefore, our journey through life and what we create will be unique to us and can never be replicated entirely.

Additionally, jealousy is often a mirror of the unhappiness one has within themselves but simply projected towards a person that is an image of something that feels unattainable. When interacting with jealous people, we must be mindful of people’s actions being reflective of their inner state.

Here are a few tips to help navigate that process:

  1. Pause and breathe
    • Take the time to slow down and reflect on the emotions that are being triggered by this experience.
    • Also, allow yourself the grace to present rather than be reactive from an unbalanced state of being.
  2. Ask yourself
    • Am I placing my sense of value and worthiness in this person’s hands by allowing them to disrupt my inner well-being or sense of self?
    • If so, where might this stem from?
    • What subconscious belief is rooted within my identity that allows my emotions and thoughts to be dictated by others?
  3. Reach a state of acceptance
    • Accept that you may not be able to change how this person feels about you, but you can always dictate the direction of your thoughts and energy.
  4. Release
    • Realize that it’s not your journey to tend to another person’s perception of you.
    • Let go, send them love and direct your energy towards experiences and people that fill your cup with peace and joy.

Fred Hoffman

Fred Hoffman

Founder and CEO, Life Insurance Guideline

Jealousy is a common emotion that we all feel at one point or another. It’s normal to feel jealous when someone has something that you want. But, when that jealousy turns into envy and obsession, it can become dangerous.

If you’re dealing with a jealous person, the best thing to do is to stay positive and ignore them. Don’t let their negativity bring you down.

Stay strong and keep your head up high

I believe in staying positive always. No matter what someone throws your way, stay strong and keep your head up high. Jealous people are insecure and need attention.

It is common to feel tempted to take revenge but it’s not a solution. But, responding to negativity with more negativity is not the answer.

Moreover, if you’re a sensitive person, you might even feel bad or think you’ve done something wrong. The truth is, you haven’t done anything wrong. You’re just being targeted because the other person is jealous of you.

The best way to deal with jealous people is to ignore them. Show them that you’re above their petty jealousy and that it doesn’t bother you. Don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve gotten to you.

It is always better to skip, and it is common for positive people to feel guilty later if they react negatively. Try your best to avoid getting upset. Surround yourself with positive people who will build you up, not tear you down.

And finally, always stay true to yourself. Don’t let anyone change who you are.

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone; you always have the option to back out

If you are receiving negative comments, don’t take them to heart. It is easy to get defensive and react, but that will only worsen the situation. Instead, try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Maybe they’re having a bad day or going through something difficult in their own lives.

Related: What to Say When Someone Is Having a Bad Day?

When someone feels jealous and makes a mean or harmful remark, it can be seen as a challenge. But you always have the option to back out.

  • You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
  • Just smile and walk away.
  • Don’t let the comments get to you.

Smiling after someone insults you is more difficult than it appears, but you can at least go silent and leave.

Related: What to Do and What to Say When Someone Insults You

Finally, whatever the reason, try to be understanding. But don’t let someone else’s negativity bring you down. You know who you are, and you’re a good person. So, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Daniel G. Leone

Daniel Leone

Personal Injury Lawyer, NJ Law Results

Step in and help them

Personally, I have a lot of sympathy for jealous people. After all, I have been jealous of other people before—who hasn’t?

However, when it becomes all-consuming to that person, I just want to step in and help them. I realize that they most likely won’t want my help, but to have a huge amount of jealousy plaguing them must mean that there is something very wrong going on in their lives.

If they don’t accept an offer of help, then there is nothing more I can do for them. I try to remove myself as much as I can from a jealous person’s narrative because it is too easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns.

David Reid

David Reid

Sales Director, VEM Tooling

Talk to them when you can be calm and reasonable

When it comes to coping with jealousy and resentment, each case is unique and must be treated as such. There are ways of dealing with a jealous individual that might help calm a jealous person or protect oneself from hostile remarks and gestures.

  • Assess the situation first

If you think about why someone feels jealous, you’ll be able to see what’s driving their actions, which will make it simpler to process the situation.

  • Cancel/Delete

People may now hide behind their computer screens and fling insults and barbs at people they know or don’t know, thanks to the popularity of social media. The delete key has a lot of power.

If someone makes a bad remark about you on your page or in a forum, erase it. Unfriend or block the person if their behavior continues.

  • Face it head-on

In some scenarios, the best course of action is to speak with them about what is going on. Talk to them when you can be calm, reasonable, and sure of what you want to say.

Prepare your thoughts before approaching the person so that you are aware of your talking topics and have considered their probable reactions. Talk to them with respect and sensitivity, as you would want them to talk to you.

Talia Short

Talia Short

Engineer Manager, Forex Furniture

The internet and social media have made it increasingly simple for people to conceal themselves behind their computer screens and point fingers and barbs at people they know or even strangers.

Most of these attacks originate from the individual’s envy, motivated by their own emotions of inadequacy or unhappiness with their own life.

There are techniques for dealing with a jealous individual that can disarm the jealous person or avoid being exposed to jealous statements and acts. Each situation is unique and must be addressed appropriately.

Remind yourself: The issue is with them, not with you

When you are being mistreated due to someone’s envy, take a step back and halt.

Make an effort not to take it personally. Remind yourself that the issue is not with you but with them. Their jealousy and underlying concerns are motivating them to behave in this manner.

Disarm them in a positive way

Being empathetic that someone’s jealousy is motivated by their own anxieties, self-doubt, and feelings of inadequacy can help you be more understanding and modify your response when someone acts jealous toward you.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

Don’t let jealous people define you

If, for example, you just bought yourself a new car, and someone makes a statement to you about how lucky you are that you can afford the new car, you might think that they are saying this out of jealousy.

Their jealousy of your success should not define you.

You have the right to treat yourself as you see fit. If they want to be jealous of you, that is something they need to learn to deal with. You should never feel the need to explain yourself for treating yourself well.

Take their jealousy as a form of flattery

When someone is jealous of you, you can take that as a form of flattery. Sometimes people are jealous in a good way.

“You just got a new job. I’m so happy for you but a little jealous,” or, “I wish I could afford those gorgeous new shoes you bought.”

Though admitting to the person’s jealousy, statements such as these can also mean the person is truly happy for you. Be flattered that they think that what you have is desirable.

Try to avoid those who you find to be overly jealous

You may find yourself socializing with people who are constantly trying to belittle you due to their jealousy.

These people might make statements like, “You should pay for dinner because you make so much more than me.” Unless you work with these people and can’t avoid them, remember that you don’t need to socialize with people who make you feel less-than.

Surround yourself with people who are happy for you and proud of your accomplishments.

Leslie Radka

Leslie Radka

Founder and Hiring Manager, Great People Search

Make them see they also have things in life they can be proud of

  • Remain true to yourself

Don’t throw negativity back at negativity. Instead of getting upset, force yourself to stay positive and remain true to yourself.

Realize that it’s not you that has issues – it’s the other person. Keep your head high and prove to yourself and everyone that you are not the horrible person they’re making you.

  • Show or feel empathy towards them

Jealousy comes from a person with insecurities, low self-esteem, and low self-worth. Once you understand this, you will start looking at the person who is jealous in a different light.

Instead of being bitter or annoyed, try to be empathetic towards them.

  • Give kindness in return

Instead of taking in all the limelight and talking about yourself, turn the focus to them and talk about something in their life that is positive. Let them see that they have things in life that they can be proud of, too. Jealous people often need more kindness than others.

Related: How to Tell Someone You’re Proud of Their Accomplishments

  • Don’t take negative comments personally

Don’t let the jealous person win by letting them ruin your day. You can still be confident in who you are, despite what jealous people say or despite them trying to make you feel guilty.

  • Let go of jealous people

If you have tried improving your relationships but realize that there is nothing more you can do about it and that it is sucking the life out of you, you might just have to walk away from them.

Sometimes, you have to remove toxic people from your life for your own physical and mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is jealousy, and how does it manifest in people?

Jealousy is a complex emotion that arises from feelings of insecurity, fear, and a perceived threat to something valuable. It can manifest in various ways, from mild envy to intense resentment and even aggression.

Jealous people may become possessive, controlling, and suspicious of their partners, friends, or colleagues. They may also experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

In extreme cases, jealousy can lead to destructive behavior such as stalking, harassment, or violence.

Is it normal to feel jealous in a romantic relationship?

Yes, it’s normal to feel jealousy in a romantic relationship occasionally. However, it’s important to differentiate between healthy jealousy and unhealthy jealousy. Healthy jealousy can be a sign of caring and commitment and may arise when the relationship is threatened.

On the other hand, unhealthy jealousy can lead to controlling or abusive behavior and can be a sign of insecurity or low self-esteem. If you find that your jealousy is putting a lot of strain on your relationship, it may be helpful to consult a therapist or counselor.

How can I overcome my own jealousy?

To overcome jealousy, you need self-awareness, empathy, and self-compassion. It’s important to identify the underlying reasons for your jealousy and to question the irrational or distorted beliefs that fuel it.

For example, you can question whether it’s right to compare yourself to others, to assume the worst-case scenario, or to assume that your worth depends on external factors. You can also cultivate gratitude, mindfulness, and self-care to increase your self-esteem and well-being.

Finally, it’s helpful to seek support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can offer you perspective, guidance, and encouragement.

How can I support a friend who is struggling with jealousy?

If you have a friend who is struggling with jealousy, the most important thing you can do is listen and support them.

Acknowledge their feelings and let them know you’re there for them. Try to offer perspective and help them reframe their thoughts positively.

Encourage them to focus on their own strengths and accomplishments, and remind them that everyone has their own path.

It’s also important to avoid enabling or feeding into their jealousy – don’t engage in gossip or negative talk about others, and don’t try to compete with them or make them feel inferior.

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