10 signs someone is secretly jealous of you, according to psychologists

One of my mother’s favorite expressions was “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”  

This saying made sense in far too many situations and is the perfect go-to comment regarding jealous friends, family, or coworkers.

Sometimes, when a person finds success or happiness, they attract at least as much jealousy as admiration. 

However, fame and money aren’t required for people to be jealous of you. Even living a simple yet peaceful existence can strike envy in some people. 

Let’s face it. Jealousy is one thing the planet could do without (greed is another) but it’s deeply ingrained in the human psyche, and none of us are immune. The Green-Eyed Monster captures us all at one time or another. 

Here are a few signs psychologists say might suggest you’re the target of someone’s jealousy. 

1) False praise 

The very first thing jealous people tend to do is try to convince you that no, they are absolutely not jealous of you.  

Nope. No way! 

If they were jealous, why would they shower you with backhanded compliments and over-the-top fawning? Stop being so paranoid! 

So, when you get engaged or secure that promotion, your envious associates will give you lip service about how deliriously happy they are for you while they roll their eyes once you turn your back (so they can stab it.)

Psychologists claim that no other trait speaks to someone’s jealous insecurity more than handing out backhanded compliments

They figure because they’re not insulting you directly, you can’t call them on it.

Yes, some people really are that small-minded. They’ll even try to deliberately sabotage you with questionable advice. 

2) Deliberately bad advice

Since your haters certainly don’t want to help contribute to another trophy on your shelf,  they maliciously try to sabotage your efforts by offering you lousy advice. 

Green-Eyed Monster discourages you from even trying to reach your goals. These “friends” don’t want you to succeed. Quite the contrary.

Has a so-called friend ever tried to come up with a million different reasons why you shouldn’t even attempt to chase your dream, whatever that may be?

Want to ask that gorgeous classmate out? Why bother, they’ll probably say no anyway. Thinking of submitting your work to a writing competition? What’s the point, those contests are always fixed. 

A real friend will support your decisions and offer encouragement when you’re clouded with self-doubt. But an envious friend will play on your fears and doubts with the hope that you’ll become mired by fear, and quit. They’ll even download your last achievements to knock you off center. 

Don’t give them the satisfaction. Stay your course.

3) Downplaying your achievements 

Jealous people really hate it when the focus of their envy continues along their successful path.

As you continue to climb upward, Green Eyed Monster makes themselves feel better by downplaying your achievements and associating them with factors other than your skills. 

So, you’ll hear classic sour grapes comments like “She only got that promotion because she kisses up to management,” or “He got hired because he’s related to someone in the front office ” 

Jealous people will never, ever admit that you have achieved success solely on your own merits. In fact, they’d rather swallow their own tongues than do anything of the sort.

Giving you any sort of credit just isn’t happening. Did I mention never, ever?

4) As luck would have it

One of the biggest red flags signifying that someone is jealous of you is that they refuse to give you any credit for your own success. 

Deep down, these green-eyed monsters don’t believe you deserve any of the good things in your life.

Instead, they insist your successes in life are due to dumb luck, and nothing else. 

Now, the last thing a jealous person will do is admit that they’re jealous, so they’ll just blithely ignore all the scads of evidence that proves their theory incorrect. 

This is much easier on their insecurity than conceding you’re a smart, driven go-getter

5) Credit where it isn’t due 

If you have a jealous co-worker on your team at work, they may overestimate their own contributions to your team’s projects while minimizing or even glossing over yours altogether.

For example, if you got that coveted promotion, a jealous colleague might say something along the lines of: 

“You got that job because I helped you revamp your resume. I expect nothing less than grateful genuflecting and a gift certificate to Sephora. I’m waiting.”   

These coworkers are always looking for ways to claim at least part of your success rather than give you the credit you so richly deserve.

Green-Eyed Monster is well aware that you deserve it, which is why they are endlessly critical of you and everything you do. 

6) Hypercritical 

fake nice things people say to subtly control you 10 signs someone is secretly jealous of you, according to psychologists

Do you know anyone who seems to derive great pleasure from dissing you every chance they get? That person probably harbors jealousy towards you.

Shocker, right? 

Do you have a friend who is forever finding fault with your decisions? Whether it’s a personal or professional decision, this person will definitely voice an opinion and it will not be a supportive or positive one.  

Now, a good friend should warn you if they believe your proposed course of action has the potential to be a colossal train wreck. 

That’s one thing. 

But if they knee-jerk criticize your every move, psychology experts claim this is often an indication of jealousy, probably of the seething variety. 

We all have our moments of being hypercritical, either rightly or wrongly. But chronically jealous people devote themselves to highlighting your mistakes, usually in front of your boss or while giving your wedding toast. 

They may be rocking the same hairstyle as you while they tear you down because as much as they resent you, they still want to be you. 


7) Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery  

At the heart of it, people who are envious of you want what you have. Expect the jealous person who treats you with outright derision to imitate you in different ways with varying degrees of creepy vibes. 

If you’re known as the “pretty one” in your social circle and get a lot of attention, they’ll often co-opt some if not all of your signature look and think nothing of showing up sporting your haircut and the exact sweater you wore last weekend. 

It, they could go full-on frightening and start adopting your mannerisms as well. 


And even as they are molding every aspect of their non-personality on yours, they will still view as competition and a threat. 

8) You’re seen as competition 

If someone is jealous of you, it’s because they want to outdo you, but can’t. It’s the nature of an envious person’s nature to want to steal your glory.

After all, they deserve it so much more than you do. Just ask them. 

It’s all about outdoing you, no matter the situation. You fell down the stairs and needed 29 stitches? That’s nothing. Green-Eyed Monster fell out a third-story window, got a concussion, and needed 53 stitches. 

They’re even better at klutzing than you!    

A bit of friendly friendly competition can be a good thing, and inspire all those involved to achieve greater heights within a supportive framework. 

However, experts warn that friendships resembling a perpetual boxing match is likely to be fraught with toxicity.

Jealous people are very competitive with a strong need to assert their superiority. As a result, people prone to regular fits of jealousy also tend to revel in your roadblocks and challenges.

They want you to lose.   

9) Reveling in your failures

Now, your jealous colleagues may refrain from rubbing their hands with glee when you get a dressing down from the boss, but you can bet your bippy they really, really want to.

But they’ll be in a glorious mood instead and even offer you a pseudo-sympathetic back-pat as they bask in the joy your setback has brought them.

And, even as a jealous coworker is buzzing off your failure, they’re probably also searching you on the internet for any intel or tea to spill. 

Yep. That stalkerish vibe is creepy.

10) Stalkerish behavior 

Green Eyed Monster wants to know everything about you. Think of online trolls following people on social media just to leave mean comments on their pages. 

That’s what youre dealing with.  

They can become obsessed with you. Well, with hating you, anyway. 

These people want to know the ins and outs of your life so they can make snide comments or just feed their jealousy more. 

To them, it hurts so good. 

So, they may follow your online accounts or even ask mutual acquaintances for the scoop on you. They will always figure out a way to find out as much about you as possible. 

Insecure and jealous walk hand-in-hand

Psychologists will tell you that jealous people are more prone to insecurity. When you question your own worth, you tend to see anyone else’s success as an attack on you.

If you sense certain friends resent and envy everything you have accomplished, they are more than likely at war with their own insecurities.

So if a jealous person takes a stab at you, consider the source and feel pity for them, if for no other reason than they’ll hate that.  

Hey, I’m here to help. 

Picture of Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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