How To Cope When You're Jealous Of A Friend

Nobody likes to feel jealous, but it's an emotion that we all experience in our lives.

You can shake off jealousy when you're envious of a celebrity or somebody you don't know because you don't have to see them every day, but it's more challenging to cope with jealousy when you're envious of a friend. You see them all the time, so you can't avoid them.

You may also have guilt because you wish you didn't feel resentment towards your friend, but it's completely normal to be jealous of friends from time to time. Even the most confident person can be insecure when a friend has something they want. However, resenting a friend is not healthy for you or your friendship. Here are some steps you can take to cope with your jealousy to protect your friendship and help you get through it.

Shutterstock: Two friends talking

(via Shutterstock)

Acknowledge Your Feelings Without Judgement

We have two reactions to jealousy: avoidance and judgment. We ignore jealousy because we hope that it will go away if we avoid it. Unfortunately, the longer we try to hide from our feelings, the stronger they will become. We also judge ourselves for feeling envious. We think we're a terrible friend, which makes us feel worse.

The first step to managing your jealousy is to acknowledge it without judging yourself. Sit with your feelings and observe the emotion. You can even meditate or do some breathing exercises to help you focus. When jealousy arises, show yourself compassion instead of judgment. Tell yourself that you're allowed to feel this way and that it won't last forever. Repeat this exercise anytime you're with your friend and you start to feel jealous. Acknowledge it, show yourself compassion and remind yourself that eventually, this will pass.

Unsplash: Woman meditating and doing yoga peacefully

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Get Curious and Inspired

Once you've replaced judgment with compassion, you can allow yourself to be curious. The critical question is, "What is triggering my jealousy?" It's essential to identify the source of your jealousy and allow it to inspire you rather than upset you.

If you're jealous that your friend is doing better than you in school, you can use it as inspiration to dedicate more time to school and improve your grades. If you're jealous of how confident they are, you can make a plan to improve your self-confidence. Curiosity can also help us acknowledge when we are jealous for the wrong reasons. We can feel jealous about something that isn't important because we get caught up in the moment. When you feel envious, ask yourself, "Is this going to matter in a few years?" If the answer is no, then it's probably not worth your time or care.


Make A List Of Positives

Jealousy is an emotion that is triggered by outside events and people, but starts from within. It stems from insecurity and feeling like we lack something in ourselves or our lives. If you want to combat jealousy, you need to improve your self-esteem. Shift your focus from what is missing in your life to what is great about your life.

You can achieve this by starting a list of what you like about yourself. It can be challenging to create this list when we're in a negative headspace, but you can begin with just one item. Maybe you love your hair or how kind you are to all your friends and family. You can also make a gratitude list for all the things you have in your life, like your family, pets, dance team or anything else that brings you happiness. Make it a goal to add one thing you like about yourself and your life every single day. This will get you in the habit of focusing on yourself rather than other people.

Shutterstock: Woman outside writing in journal

(via Shutterstock)


Try to Be Happy For Your Friend

This is the most challenging part of being jealous of a friend. You want to be happy for them, but it's hard when you're envious of what they have. The truth nobody will tell you is that you can be jealous of a friend while still being happy for them. You can wish that you had a boyfriend like they do or that you had as many followers as them while still being proud that your friend achieved their goals. Try concentrating on how much you care about your friend and how much you love them. Remember that at the end of the day you just want them to be happy. Jealousy is a feeling that will pass, but your friendship is forever.


Jealousy is normal, and it's something we all can work on overcoming. If you need some advice on how to get started, check out psychotherapist Lisa Schab's tips for improving your self-esteem.