They call jealousy the “green monster” for a reason.
It’s not a pleasant feeling and it can eat you up inside and take over your life.
But even if you’re not jealous, feelings of envy toward you from someone else can also cause intense drama and toxic situations.
The thing is that some people are very skilled at hiding their jealousy. They mask and disguise it far below the surface, only to have it bubble up later on in awful ways.
Here’s how to tell if someone is secretly jealous of you.
15 signs someone secretly envies you
1) They leech off your time and energy
One of the worst signs someone secretly envies you is that they constantly parasite off your energy and time.
No matter how much you help them, they just seem to want to take and take.
In some situations, it’s not just that they’re a needy person.
It’s that they’re jealous of your stability, resources and life.
They want more than a piece of it: they want all of it.
“A jealous friend is like an energy vampire, who sucks your energy, and feasts on your mental peace.
“A jealous friend gets annoyed at literally everything, and they get passive-aggressive if you don’t give them enough attention.”
2) They talk sh*t behind your back
Nobody likes somebody who talks sh*t behind their back.
But when someone secretly envies you they have a nasty habit of doing exactly that.
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Whether it’s spurious rumors about your relationships, dirt about your job or personal habits or even something they just make up out of whole cloth, it’s bad news.
You go about your business only to later find out that somebody you know has been spreading baseless gossip behind your back.
It’s natural to get angry, but the more you react the more they will use that to see “look at that crazy guy.”
This person is best to avoid if at all possible.
3) Your mistakes make them happy
The jealous individual may try to hide this, but if you look closely you’ll see it.
When you faceplant or fail in some way their first reaction is a little smirk that they quickly cover over.
No matter how you look at it, this is nasty business.
Even if this person is just a random acquaintance, it’s pretty disturbing to know there’s a person out there who silently cheers when you get beat down.
“Even if it’s one mistake that you made a long time ago, or you’ve just faced a loss, your jealous friend will be the first one to tell you, ‘I told you so.’
“They might feel happy and satisfied when you experience failure.”
4) They neg you
A “neg” is a backhanded compliment. It’s like telling you that your new shoes look nice “if that’s your style.”
What the hell is that supposed to mean, right?
One of the top signs someone secretly envies you is that they constantly neg you.
They will compliment you in underhanded ways that have an edge of sarcasm or mockery in them.
At first you may think to yourself, how nice.
Then something about the comment nags at you and later you realize that they were putting you down disguised as a compliment.
5) They copy what you do
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
That may be true, at least if the imitator is your kids or a close friend.
But it can also be a pretty disturbing form of jealousy.
Your every move becomes some kind of user manual for this jealous individual to copy you.
“Someone who is jealous of you may also try to take after you and imitate everything you do,” writes Times of India.
“They could go as far as walking, dressing, and talking the way you do. Even if you take it as a compliment at first, sooner or later it will start affecting you.”
Even if you find it sort of a compliment initially, eventually you may start to get the feeling they want to overtake you in your life.
6) They sabotage you with crappy advice
If this secretly jealous person is a friend or colleague, then you may turn to them for advice.
Even if it’s something as simple as what to say to your boss or where to go to dinner with your girlfriend, they can intentionally give you bad advice.
This is their way of undercutting you and trying to derail your life, even if it’s just in small ways.
Going to a bad restaurant or annoying your boss isn’t the end of the world, but it’s definitely not great either.
So this secretly jealous person will pretend to have your back while sabotaging you with bad advice.
7) They play up their own successes to the max
I think that being too modest can actually be its own form of aggression and weirdness.
But there’s no doubt that bragging is annoying and insecure.
One of the top things that secretly envious people will do around you is play up their own successes to the max.
When they do something right everyone in the world needs to know.
When you have a big win it’s a lot different: it’s no big deal and it’s already time to move on to the next subject.
“Most often, when jealous people achieve success in anything, they will try to make the whole world aware of it.
“They will openly flaunt their successes.
“Usually, people who behave this way are extremely envious of others’ achievements and are terribly insecure.”
8) They make fun of you, then say it was ‘just a joke’
This is similar to negging but is often more common in a group social situation.
The secretly jealous person will tear you down in joke form.
This could include something as simple as calling you short and guffawing about it, to making a dig about your job, partner or beliefs.
If you act hurt then you’re a prude. If you go along with it then you’re the butt of the joke and you feel like an ass.
The only answer is to basically not be in that situation.
If somebody is making you feel this way then there’s a good chance they’re a dick who’s jealous of you.
9) They lose interest in you, if you start succeeding too much
Another sign of a secretly jealous person is that they gravitate to you when you’re struggling.
They’re like drama addicts.
As soon as the drama or problem dries up, they peel away like a bad rash.
They’re the opposite of fairweather friends: they’re in it for the bad times when they can feel better than you, but as soon as you start hitting your stride, they hit the road.
“If they see that you’re fulfilling your goals, they will slink away.
“This is because your well-being only increases their jealousy and feelings of insecurity,” writes Mind Journal.
“They will dislike the spotlight being on you so they prefer to leave rather than feel insignificant.”
10) They belittle your interests and goals
Another of the most important signs someone secretly envies you is that they tear down your ambitions and hobbies.
If you like to swim they tell you about how much better volleyball is for your health.
If you want to become a lawyer, they tell you about how corrupt and low-down it is to work in the law.
There’s always something about what you want to do that’s just not good enough.
This constant toxic drain on your goals and intentions can really add up, and will make you want to spend as much time as possible away from this person.
11) They always need to be better than you in life
As I was mentioning earlier, extreme competitiveness is a top sign of someone who’s secretly jealous of you.
If you just got married in a beautiful tropical place, guess what?
They got married last year in an even more beautiful tropical place at a better hotel.
No matter what you’ve done, they’ve done it faster, stronger, better and earlier.
“If you tell them that you got your dream job, they will tell you that they got their dream job years before.
“This is because they are constantly trying to engage in one-upmanship and want to desperately prove to you that they are better than you.”
12) They try to show off their family and friends as better than yours
The competitiveness streak of the secretly jealous individual goes past the one-on-one level.
They also want the whole world to see how much cooler their family and friends are than yours.
If your mom is an amazing cook, their mom is actually a famous chef.
If your brother is training in the Navy SEALS, their brother is actually the head of an entire secret project with the government that they aren’t even at liberty to talk about.
They’re ahead of you, and your family and friends are lame in comparison to theirs.
Two options here: your family and friends are less interesting and snazzy, or they’re secretly jealous.
13) They assume you had an unfair advantage to get where you are
This is one of the most toxic signs someone secretly envies you:
They constantly imply that you only got where you are by bending the rules or having inside connections.
Your job, your partner, your physical health, hell anything: they will ask what special hookup you had to get it.
They won’t ever seem able to believe that hard work, dedication, foresight or good luck played a part.
“If you pay attention, you may notice that some of these questions have a subtext: Why you and not me?
“For example, someone may wonder out loud if you had a special advantage, such as a family connection or an existing friendship that helped you get where you are.”
14) They knockdown and insult your romantic success
Another of the top signs someone secretly envies you is that they knock down your romantic success.
They may claim you’re having good luck in love due to your money, looks, culture or some other reason.
They will want to know your “secret” and joke about how you must know something they don’t.
This is all a pretty insecure and backhanded way of just saying they wish they were you.
15) They’re clearly not on your side
At the end of the day, life is more complex than being on a “side.”
I totally get that, but on the other hand, there are all sorts of situations where you more or less need to know whether somebody is with you or not.
The secretly jealous person will duck out and be nowhere to be seen when push comes to shove.
The sad truth is that they were never really on your side, to begin with.
They’ll feast off your drama and problems but never actually solve them. They’ll say good job when you have a win, but you’ll be able to tell they don’t mean it.
“A sign that someone is being jealous of you might be that they allow a long silent moment before telling you that you have done great,” writes Maria Hakki.
“Their secret envy of your success causes that reaction.”
What do you do next?
It’s disappointing to find out that somebody is jealous of you.
Especially when you didn’t notice at first.
What you do next is up to you.
Try to dig up the roots of this jealousy and resolve whatever led to it.
Sometimes you can repair this bridge, other times you just need to burn it down.
If it’s somebody you work with or a family member then you will have to do what you can to live with this jealousy.
Stay calm, avoid the person if possible, and remember that the best reaction toward them is pity, since only a sad person who feels a deep emptiness inside is envious of others in an ongoing way.