Let’s be honest; we have all felt the green-eyed monster within us before.
Jealousy is a normal human emotion, which, in a mild form, can help us become aware of our weaknesses.
However, when excessive and uncontrolled, envy can break down relationships and cause intense emotional distress.
Often, we get a sense that someone is jealous of us, but as many of the signs are subtle, it can be hard to know for sure.
So, if you feel that a friend or loved one is secretly envious of you, read on to discover the 10 most common behaviors that jealous people display.
1) Not congratulating you on your successes
While successes can be personal, we naturally want to share them with our loved ones.
But what if someone close to you doesn’t seem happy about your achievements?
The answer is simple…
They are jealous.
When you win, your true friends will also feel like they have won, and they will offer you sincere congratulations and express how proud they are.
Envious people, on the other hand, get triggered when you win.
Your success makes them feel inadequate and highlights their downfalls. This is because envious people are incredibly insecure and constantly comparing themselves to others.
So, when you share good news with them, their default reaction is to compare themselves to you. And as this 2017 study found, if they feel you are better off than them, a feeling of envy arises.
As a result, your achievement makes them feel bad about themselves, so they find it impossible to congratulate you and be happy for you.
Instead, they may do this…
2) Belittling you
Because your achievements highlight their failures, a jealous person may try to downplay your success.
They will do this by looking for and pointing out flaws. Or, if they cannot find any, they will bring up one of your past failures.
Envious people are masters at casting a pessimistic cloud over the greatest win.
When you first announce your achievement, their response will likely start with something like…
“Oh, but what about…” before adding whatever negative points they can find.
3) Avoiding you when you win, and expressing joy when you lose
As jealous people take personal offense to your achievements, sometimes they may react by becoming hostile and not talking to you for a while.
However, you will get a completely different reaction if you share a failure or problem with them.
Research has found that envious people love to celebrate others’ failures.
Mina Cikara, a social psychologist from Harvard University, studied the brain activity (via MRI scans) of 18 hardcore baseball fans to see what happened when they watched their rival team lose.
Mina found that seeing their rivals lose activated the ventral striatum (a small part of the brain), stimulating feelings of pleasure.
This explains why, when you tell a jealous person about a personal failure, they will be right there trying to get all the juicy details.
So, if you notice a friend seems in an unusually good mood after you tell them about your failure and damn right annoyed when you share a success, they are jealous!
4) Always judging and criticizing your decisions
With an envious person in your life, it can feel like no matter what you do, they disapprove.
Jealous people want you to fail as this will make them feel better about themselves.
So if they see you doing something good, they will judge and criticize you. Their hope is that you will question your decision and change your mind.
Alongside criticizing you, they will probably do the following…
5) Purposely giving bad advice
Green-eyed monsters can be pretty good at making you believe they are on your side. One way they do this is by giving you “advice.”
However, unlike someone who generally cares for you and has your best interests at heart, a jealous person’s advice is ill-advised and designed to sabotage your efforts.
They commonly do this by telling you something is a bad idea and discouraging you from doing it.
Do you know why?
Because deep down, they know they are not confident/skilled/brave enough to do it themselves.
So they don’t want you to either.
6) Competing by showing off what they have
Have you ever told a friend something positive about your life to have them immediately redirect the conversation to themself?
This is a common sign of an envious person.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you tell your friend you just got a promotion. They will not acknowledge this news at all and, instead, shift the focus onto themselves by showing off.
This person is likely jealous of your determination, work ethic, ambition, or discipline, qualities they lack.
So, to make themselves feel better, they will try to compete with you and steal the glory.
As in this example, they are jealous of your qualities; they may try to show off their possessions instead, such as “Look at this new expensive watch my partner brought me.”
7) Copying you
If someone happens to buy the exact same car or dress that you just brought, know that this is likely NOT a coincidence.
In a 2007 report published in the Psychological Bulletin, researchers Richard Smith and Sung Hee Kim found that jealousy occurs due to “desiring an attribute enjoyed by another person.”
As jealous people want what you have, they believe the easiest way to attain it is to imitate you.
So, whatever they see you getting attention from, they will try to mimic your actions to steal the limelight.
You may think they are just complimenting your sense of style or that it is a harmful form of relationship mirroring.
But, if they display other behaviors on this list, that is likely NOT the case.
8) Talking about you behind your back
Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke, two sociology professors from Northeastern University, eavesdropped on students’ conversations to find out how much people gossiped.
Their findings were pretty shocking…
Over 60% of adult conversations (both male and female) involve gossiping about people who are not present!
Sarah R. Wert and Peter Salovey from Yale University explored this finding further to uncover what makes so many people gossip.
Wert and Salovey found that people resort to gossiping when they experience feelings of:
They also found that people need to express envy indirectly, making jealousy a prime instigator of negative gossip.
So, considering gossiping is a classic sign of envy, this research shows there are many jealous people around!
9) Making sarcastic and offensive jokes
Sometimes, jealous people cannot bite their tongue and will become downright spiteful.
This may manifest in sarcasm or offensive jokes around your flaws, which they sneakily slip into conversations.
The purpose of this behavior is to embarrass you. In this instance, the jealous person knows they cannot compete with you, so they resort to humiliation instead.
Here’s another behavior envious people may resort to…
10) Blaming you for their downfalls
Jealous people are so frustrated that they do not have the qualities, success, or possessions you do and believe it is entirely your fault.
Yep, that’s right.
They can become so deluded and blame you for their weaknesses and failures.
If you notice a “friend” doing this, cut ties immediately. Jealousy is like a slow poison that grows and grows, leading to resentment.
If someone is at the point of blaming you for their downfalls, they have been jealous of you for a long time!
Jealous people can really bring you down. They can instantly cast a cloud over your latest achievement, cause you to question your actions, and make you feel bad about the things you have.
As we move through our lives, we should seek to surround ourselves only with supportive people who celebrate our wins and help us move closer to our goals.
If you encounter a jealous person in your circle, know this is not on you. People become envious due to their own insecurity.
The only way to deal with a jealous person is to protect yourself. If you cannot cut them out altogether, be sure to set firm boundaries so they can no longer bring you down!