How to Deal With a Jealous Friend (7 Things You Desperately Need to Know)
A friend ruined my date night with my wife!
Let me show you the picture I was in. One night, while me and my wife were dining in a restaurant, a friend dropped by our table. Little did I know that he came to sabotage our evening.
Before narrating what happened next, I better explain who this guy is, and why I bother to write about my relationship with him and this episode. I grew up with him. We did everything young boys would do in the neighborhood together. We’d continue being friends ’til we have grown out of our kids’ bodies and became much bigger, and began preoccupied with girls. While in college, we’d always catch up with each other’s developments. We were best friends, period.
Now, you’d understand why I was hurt that night. To shorten the story, he croaked—more to mock me than anything else—”it’s easy to write”! He uttered the words with such force and intensity, obviously designed to malign me, and short of saying “look, I can do what you’re doing, and do it without so much effort!” (Ok… let me blurt it out in plain language. He actually said it in jest! He’s aware that I’m a freelance writer.)
Ha! What a comment. Later I found out he’d never written an article; not a single one! Got the scene? If we analyze objectively, it’s not so much what he said, but how he said it. I felt insulted by his pretentious perception of my craft.
I’ll be blunt. It was clearer than a sunny day—he was envious of my little success as a writer. (Although, it would be unfair for me if I call it “little”, because I worked my ass-off to get to where I am).
That’s the story, so… what can we learn from this experience? Let me share you the lessons I have pocketed from this melodrama.
7 Ways to handle a jealous friend.
1. Acknowledge that you’re hurt
Acknowledging that you’re hurt is the first step to emotional healing. Admitting to yourself (and to someone close if that’s your style) that your friend has wounded your emotions is a crucial step to emotional restoration. It’s the first step to healing. Sometimes we deny the fact that our feelings were hurt. We do this just so we can go through the day without being distracted by the pain that we feel inside. We try hard to numb the pain, but, doing so aggravates the situation.
“In order to heal emotional pain, we need to invite it up into our conscious awareness. We need to care enough about ourselves to spend time with ourselves, looking within and truly BEING with ourselves. Doing this we find an infinite Source of emotional support and wellbeing that is always available to us from within.” ~ Well Being Allignment, Emotional Pain – To Heal It We Need To Acknowledge It – Well Being Allignment.com
***(Note to the editor: Can we embed this link to acknowledge the website? http://www.wellbeingalignment.com/emotional-pain.html. If it’s not possible that’s OK.)
2. You’re hurt but you realize you have leveled up.
Your friend can’t handle that you are doing much better than him. And in turn you can’t handle the truth that he is jealous of your success. It’s too painful; a friend who’s supposed to support you is, instead, unhappy with your success. However, this realization confirms that you have reached a point in your life where you’re in a higher level. It’s confirmed. Now, you don’t belong to the level you used to be with the friend. You belong to a different class, now. You’re in a loftier position; a better status. The truth is–you should be happy you have come this far. You should rejoice. You have struggled, but now, you’re successful. Be glad your friend is jealous! It only means one thing. You’re way better than what you used to be.
3. Tell yourself you should be happy, you have grown.
Accepting the reality that your friend can’t handle your success and being fine with it is a sign that you have grown. Growth is a desirable thing. All of us want to grow; to become better beings. And the truth that you have reached a certain point where someone who knows you in a deeper level is not happy with your success is proof that you have matured.
You have changed. You are better. You are no longer the same guy whom he can ridicule, or have fun with, because you are in a different level. Now, you are higher than him. It’s sad, he belongs to a lower class (he can’t accept the truth). Well, it’s true, that somehow, it’s hard to take what is going on: your friend who should be happy you are succeeding is, on the contrary, angry and jealous. You’re right, it’s an unhappy thought, but, you should accept it. It’s the truth. We have learned before—truth hurts. You have to take it as it is, and mature. Be happy with the event. It’s priceless! It confirms advancement.
4. Pity him
A mark of a true mature individual is the ability to sympathize with another. Realize that you should pity him. He is hurting inside. He thinks he is not doing well as you are. He is behind. He likes where you are. (But he can’t be there). He craves for your position, envious at your lot. He is miserable. So, be kind to him. He is just a little boy looking from afar, ogling and salivating over your sweet candy. Furthermore, I know it’s rather difficult to feel compassion for this kind of person, but, just the same, try to cultivate empathy for him. This way, your focus will be turned away from your hurt, and, towards his sad situation. Have sympathy. Cultivate compassion. It’s highly recommended.
5. If he is important to you, help him cope with his jealousy.
He envies your position and success. He is jealous of your achievements. Those are facts, now let’s examine what psychology says about these emotions. Envy and jealousy are complex experiences. It is also clear that they have a cognitive component. In another angle, envy and jealousy are just thoughts. The thing is… they can cause negative emotions. (That’s why when my friend approached me and my wife in the restaurant, he was obviously angry due to jealousy). Being aware of this, if you’re willing, help him to cognitively deconstruct it. (Even with the passage of time, it won’t dissipate just like that) so try to talk to him about this. Point out his strong points and his favorable skills he can use to further his growth. As he begins to open up, gently tell him—you were hurt by his actions, and if he will own up to his negative moves, you’re willing to continue to be his friend. If this doesn’t work, it’s time to leave him and…
6. Time to move on… look for a new circle of friends. (This one–the jealous guy can’t take your success, gracefully).
Moving on is always a joyful event. Yet, like a high school graduation, it can be unsettling. You’re sad because you’ll no longer be that young and carefree kid you used to be, but at the same time you’re excited. Soon you’ll walk in a new campus and meet new friends. It’s like turning a new page. You’re through with this one, now, you’re turning on to a new page. One that has new thrills, new characters, new events. Welcome the change. Embrace it with all sincerity. It’s a good proof you’re not stuck, or worse, digressing. If I were you, I’ll go buy myself an expensive lunch in a fancy restaurant. Celebrate. This moving on event is a reason to congratulate yourself.
You are taking on new challenges due to the fact that you’re in a new episode of your life. It’s also time to develop new friends; cultivate new relationships with people who are mature like you. Peers who can take your success gracefully. People who will rejoice when you progress in your career. Friends who will applaud when you’ll kill that interview for a promotion. The ones who will cheer when you, go, receive an award for turning in a good job. Go, find that new circle. You’ll inhale a new breath of fresh air. Click your new heels. Success is yours. You are moving on.
7. Take it all in stride.
It’s a given, and remains true: as your experiences transform you and your character expands, some people in your life will not be able to move alongside with you—and at times they might, and usually will intentionally resist your growth. Be careful when this happens. You might be negatively affected too much, and you may slide back down to their level. By all means evade this tendency. Hold on to where you are, and tightly grasp the reins of power you now hold. Stand your ground. Don’t loss the balance so you can continue to bloom.
As much as you want to assist your friend to find peace and happiness, and to release him from the vicious clutches of jealousy, the solution is only in their own hands. It’s their choice they are feeling that way. No amount of pushing, or cajoling will get them to where you are.
I know you don’t want to make your friends unhappy, so why allow yourself to be diminished and drained in the process as well? If you’ve followed the six steps above and the situation has not improved, or worse, turned more toxic, its best to accept the situation and resolve that letting go is the best way to go. Now, this is the hard part. To free yourself from the negative feelings, forgive him for hurting you, and lastly, set him free.
The space in your life created by doing this will open doors for new and fresh relationships that will nourish your soul. Your life journey will ease up and you’ll be much happier being surrounded by positive people who are just as committed to personal growth and character transformation as you are.