When someone is jealous of you, it can be difficult to see the red flags.
In a perfect world, we’d all be cheering each other on. We could celebrate other people’s successes without feeling like it was taking anything away from our own.
But this world is far from perfect, and the green-eyed monster of envy can creep in when we least expect it. It can turn family members and even friends into bitter enemies.
Scientists now have evidence that suggests that we can be genetically hardwired to experience jealousy — but that only accounts for a third of people who report jealousy.
The rest may not have a genetic predisposition, but environmental factors may play a role.
On one hand, the experience of jealousy or envy can be an early warning system alerting us to a problem in a romantic partnership when infidelity is involved. On the other hand, jealousy is often irrational.
19 Signs Someone is Jealous of You, According to a Former Therapist
Most of us have experienced jealousy or had the experience of other people feeling jealous of us. It’s uncomfortable no matter which side of the equation you find yourself on. Here are 19 signs someone is jealous of you — and what you can do about it.
Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.
1. They Make Comparisons Between You
Someone who is jealous will make frequent comparisons between you. They may compare your looks, your achievements, or even your social media followers.
They’re always assessing differences for perceived successes or failures.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to foster those comparisons for them to exist. You don’t have to do anything for someone to feel the need to compare themselves with you.
It’s not about what you’re doing at all. It’s simply how envious behavior works.
2. They Undermine Your Successes
A person who is jealous of you will do whatever it takes to undermine your success. They’ll downplay every accomplishment and suggest that it’s not as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be.
While they are free to humble brag on every occasion, they act as though you’re not entitled to share your successes with the same enthusiasm. They may even suggest that your success wasn’t achieved fairly.
You likely learn over time that they aren’t the person you should ever share your successes with because they will never celebrate them.
They’ll only make you feel bad about them. You might try to share with them a few times before finally accepting that they simply won’t ever show up in your cheering section with anything resembling genuine enthusiasm.
3. They Can’t Celebrate Your Achievements
A person who is jealous of you cannot celebrate your achievements. They simply aren’t capable of it. Your successes serve as a reminder of their perceived failures.
You’ll notice that they won’t like your posts where you share a success you’ve had, or they’ll change the subject if you try to bring it up.
They aren’t able to cheer you on because they are too busy suffering by comparison.
In truth, they want the success you have. In a twisted sense, they feel like your achievement is the reason they can’t succeed.
It doesn’t make sense, but it’s emotional, not logical. They admire your success, but they just aren’t secure enough in themselves to admire you for it.
4. They Gossip About You to Others
Jealousy and gossip are interconnected. A person who is jealous of you will likely follow your every move and then gossip about you to others.
They see you as the competition, even an enemy, and they’ll likely have negative things to say about you to others. In their minds, this puts them in a better position and serves to bring you down.
Of course, most gossip is mean-spirited. In the words of Schitt’s Creek’s Moira Rose: “Gossip is the devil’s telephone. Best to just hang up.”
Yet, envious people can’t seem to help but talk about the object of their jealousy.
5. They Try to Be More Like You
Interestingly enough, one of the signs someone is jealous of you is they may also try to be more like you.
If they’re jealous of how you look, they might try to cultivate the same style. If they’re jealous of your work, they might emulate it.
Because they spend so much time studying your every move, they’re more likely to replicate some of them. They might gossip about you and treat you like the enemy, but deep down, they want to be just like you.
If the jealousy is about a romantic relationship they’re in, they may see you as the more desirable option.
They might suspect that their relationship isn’t as secure as they hope, and their admiration of you might translate into jealousy that their partner shares that admiration.
It doesn’t have to have any root in reality for them to see you as an adversary.
6. They Seem to Enjoy Your Failures
Another trait you’ll notice with jealous individuals is that they actually seem to take pleasure in your failure. If you screw up, they’re watching with glee.
It’s not an attractive trait, and it may even cause them guilt and shame at some level, but they are genuinely happy when you mess up. It makes them feel better about themselves — and about their own missteps.
They might relish your failures and talk about them endlessly rather than trying to make you feel better about them.
7. They’re Always Competing with You
Not only are they constantly comparing your lives, but they are also in some kind of competition with you at all times. They’ll compete at every level — with work, with relationships, and even with perceived attractiveness.
They need to feel like they’re winning, and for whatever reason, they’ve decided you’re the one to beat. Even if you don’t want to compete with them, they are forever keeping score and won’t hesitate to let you know it.
8. They See Your Successes as Simple Luck
When you do well, they see it as luck. They don’t feel like you’ve earned your success. They don’t assume it has anything to do with talent or hard work.
Instead, they assume it must be nepotism, privilege, or pure luck. Unfortunately, they don’t just think it. They’ll also imply as much.
They want to believe that your success is some type of luck or proof of life’s unfairness. They can’t handle the fact that perhaps you’ve earned what you have.
As a side note, there is real privilege that exists. White privilege is one example. With jealousy, there doesn’t have to be a real example of privilege for someone to assume it exists.
It’s not about reality. Rather, it’s about deep insecurity and an innate sense of unfairness when other people succeed.
9. They’re Critical of Everything You Do
One of the signs someone is jealous of you is they become critical of everything you do. It’s all being judged and compared. Your mistakes are highlighted. Your achievements are undermined.
They are watching what you do and assuming they could do it all better if they were given the chance.
Criticism and contempt are two features you’ll see in relationships with jealousy at the root. These traits destroy relationships, but they really aren’t interested in preserving a relationship with you anyway.
Envy is insidious, and even if they start out with good intentions, the jealousy they feel will creep into every facet of the relationship. Most relationships simply don’t survive it.
10. Every Conversation Involves One-upmanship
When you talk to them, you’ll notice that every conversation involves one-upmanship. If you’re going on a date, their date is hotter.
If you were invited to a party, the party they’re going to is far better. If you get a promotion at work, it’s not as good as the raise they just got.
It doesn’t matter what subject you choose; a jealous person will find a way to tell you just how they’ve done it better.
11. They Try to Set You Up for Failure
Be wary of the jealous person who pretends to be your friend. They’ll often set you up for failure.
They’ll either highlight your mistakes to make you look bad in front of others or will intentionally give you bad advice. They want to see you fail. It strokes their ego and makes them feel better by comparison.
12. They’re Fake When They Compliment You
They might pretend to be a friend, but they aren’t really. They might offer you compliments at times, but you know they don’t mean them.
Any kindness that comes your way is forced or given out reluctantly. You can sense it even if neither of you talk about the elephant in the room.
13. They Try to Keep You Close
What’s fascinating about jealous people is that they’ll often try to keep the object of their jealousy close. They want to be able to keep tabs on you.
They want to rub in your failures and brag about their successes, and they can only do that if they keep you somewhere in their circle — however far on the outer edges you actually are.
They need you to see and admire their successes, and they need to see you fail. It’s the relationship we might call a frenemy because they aren’t really looking out for your best interests.
14. They Always Have Excuses for Why They Don’t Measure Up
There’s always a reason why they aren’t living up to their potential. They have so many excuses. That the world is unfair is only one of them. You’re actually one of the excuses.
They see your success as taking something away from them, and it’s one more reason they don’t do as much as they feel they could.
In reality, all these excuses allow them to feel as if outside forces are to be blamed for their lack of success.
They don’t have to take responsibility for their shortcomings. In fact, they can comfort themselves that they would be wildly successful if only other people weren’t standing in their way.
15. They’re Perpetually Insecure
The thing about envious people is that they are perpetually insecure. At their core, they don’t feel good about themselves. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that they tend to be self-deprecating.
Any bravado they have doesn’t ring true. Their jealousy is just one more sign of their deep insecurity.
People who are insecure rely on external validation for their self-worth. They need admiration and accolades to feel good about themselves.
Without that, they feel worthless. Insecurity can be a result of imposter syndrome, but it can also be indicative of an unhealthy and unsafe environment.
For instance, unstable relationships could lead to higher levels of insecurity and jealousy. Jobs that lack a true sense of security could foster employee insecurity and create a competitive atmosphere.
16. They Brag About Their Successes
For someone who doesn’t feel good about themselves, you’d think the person who is jealous of you would have a little more humility. That’s not true though.
They brag about their successes more than anyone else. It might come across as a humble brag, but there’s nothing humble about it.
They need others to admire them, and your admiration is what they want most of all. They likely assume that their successes hurt you in the same way yours hurt them — even if that’s not true.
17. They Get Irritable and Defensive When People Admire You
When people are admiring of you, they get irritable and defensive. They hate it. They don’t want to hear people speak well of you. It serves as further proof they aren’t good enough. They’ll likely try to change the subject or else find a way to put you down and dismiss your achievements.
Secretly, they agree with the admiration. They just can’t get around their own fragile egos to admit it. Instead, they’re more likely to engage in back-handed compliments or attempt to undermine your success.
18. They Ignore You When Your Life is Going Well
When you’re successful, you might discover that the jealous person is nowhere to be found. They don’t want to hear about your achievements.
They don’t want to witness your happiness. In fact, they’ll probably stay away until they see a hint of unhappiness in your social media. Then, they’ll likely show back up to gloat and highlight their own joyful lives.
Keep in mind that most of envy has to do with perception and illusion. It’s not grounded in reality. Yet, it influences every aspect of their relationship with you, which is why you won’t see or hear from them when things are going your way.
19. They Give You Bad News Under False Pretenses
Another sign someone is jealous of you is that, under the cover of being a good friend, they’ll be the first to tell you when someone has said something bad about you.
They’ll go out of their way to poke holes in your self-esteem. Instead of keeping gossip to themselves, they want you to know when others perceive you the way that they secretly do.
They want to be the one to deliver the news and watch your reaction, but don’t be surprised if they do under the false pretense of being honest or being a good friend.
3 Tips to Deal with Envy from Others
Jealousy might make you angry and hurt your feelings, but there are a few tips you might want to keep in mind if you find yourself dealing with it.
These tips can be applied to family members, friendships, romantic relationships, and even with work colleagues.
Don’t Take It Personally
It will absolutely feel personal because they are trying to make it personal. Just don’t take it personally.
It’s a tough thing to do, but if you take a step back and look at the situation, you’ll see that everything they’re doing is out of insecurity.
In truth, they admire you but aren’t secure enough to admit it. Instead of getting defensive and angry, try to find your empathy. Be kind even in the face of their envy.
Avoid Falling into the Trap
Your best bet is to find the patterns and then do what you can to avoid falling into their traps. Don’t take their bad advice. Don’t allow them to bait you into a pissing contest.
Once you see what they’re doing and why, it can be easier to stop participating.
You know that you aren’t in competition with them. You can understand how terrible insecurity feels. Once you embrace that perspective, you can choose to meet their machinations with ease.
You won’t be drawn into a battle with a fake nemesis. You might not even see them that way anymore.
Be Supportive Anyway
Jealousy is ugly. You don’t have to be. Even though they celebrate your every failure, be the person who genuinely supports them on their path to success.
This might be challenging when you know that they’d love nothing more than to see you screw up but be the kinder person instead.
If you compliment them, do so genuinely. If you hype them up, do it out of a sincere desire to see them succeed.
You know that making them feel good takes nothing from you, and it might even show them that you’re a friend, not an enemy.
Being green with envy isn’t a cute look on anyone. It’s damaging to relationships, and it prevents the jealous from connecting with people at a deeper level. When everyone else is competition, no one is truly a friend. It’s a sad way to live.
Jealousy doesn’t just spring up out of nowhere. It can occur due to trauma, insecurity, and even socioeconomic status. Even if we’re genetically predisposed to experiencing envy, we don’t have to allow it to become a defining feature.
Instead, people who struggle with jealousy can learn to cultivate stronger self-worth and teach themselves to genuinely champion the success of others.
They can learn to openly discuss their feelings and work through envy as it presents rather than allowing the green-eyed monster to destroy their life and relationships.