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Envious Friends: 18 Signs of Friendly Envy & What Makes Them Feel It

Your life is going great, but you have a bad feeling lately from some of your friends. Could it be envy? Here are some signs of envious friends.

signs of envious friends

Have you ever seen the signs of envious friends in your life? We’ve all been envious before. It’s an emotion everyone experiences from time to time.

When you lose your job and see other people vacationing on yachts, it’s hard not to feel jealous of them while you’re suffering. But jealousy has a limit before it starts to interfere in your relationships and daily life.

Friendships may experience jealousy every now and then, but this is when you check in with yourself and figure out why you’re having these feelings. Some people self-reflect, but many don’t. Their jealousy ends up ruining the relationships around them.

[Read: How to stop self-destructive behavior and change your life for the better]

What is envy?

We all know the word, and we probably even know the feeling. But before we talk about the signs of envious friends, it’s important to define envy and exactly what it is – and what it isn’t.

Let’s break down the definition.

Envy is a feeling of being discontent, resentful, or have a longing because of someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. It’s a desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attributes that someone else has.

To sum it up, envy is the desire to have the same good fortune as another person.

[Read: Why do friends ghost you – why it hurts so fiercely and why they do it]

Envy vs. jealousy

You might be wondering what the difference between envy and jealousy is? They are similar, but there are differences too.

While envy implies a longing for what someone else has *and you don’t*, jealousy is more about unpleasant suspicion, apprehension, or rivalry.

You can be envious and jealous at the same time. For example, you can be envious of a supermodel’s hot body and beautiful face. And you can also be jealous if that supermodel comes up and talks to your boyfriend. You see, you can be envious from afar, but only when the object of your envy starts to interfere with your life will you feel jealousy.

You can also be envious without feeling jealous. Let’s say your sister is very rich. She has a great job, three houses, and travels the world. Meanwhile, you just have a normal job and live a normal life.

You can be envious of her money and the experiences she has because of it, but not be jealous. You envy her because you would like to have those experiences, too. [Read: What is a true friend? 18 key characteristics of real friends]

But you don’t feel jealous because you know that she worked really hard to get all of it, and you think she deserves it. So, you’re actually happy for the other person, even though you are envious at the same time.

The problem is that most people who are envious of you… are also jealous. So, for the purposes of this feature, we’ll lump them together because that’s what most people do. [Read: Jealousy vs envy and how to tell them apart when they feel so close]

What makes someone envious?

On our way to discovering the signs of envious friends, we need to ask, why do people get envious? Wouldn’t it be better if we could all just be content and happy with what we have?

Of course, it would, but that’s not usually what happens. So, here are some reasons that people become envious. [Read: 16 subtle signs of a jealous friend you may not always recognize]

1. It could have served as a survival instinct

Obviously, we don’t live in the caveman times anymore. Cavemen used to have to hunt animals for food just to survive. And the more food you had, the better your chances of survival.

So, imagine that your caveman neighbor had a lot more tiger meat than you did. You would probably envy him because he now has a better chance of survival than you do.

And this could probably motivate you to go out and attack more tigers yourself so you can have enough food too. You see, if you weren’t envious, you might not notice that you needed more food to eat – and you would starve to death. [Read: 18 honest reasons why you don’t have friends that care about you]

When you look around the world, don’t you wonder why some people are literally starving to death, and other people have so much money that they could never spend it all even if they lived for 2,000 years? It’s unfair, isn’t it?

When we look around and see certain people with soooo many more resources than we have *or other people*, we think it’s not fair. Why do they get to live the good life and not us? Why is it fair? We think to ourselves *consciously or unconsciously* that they should share that good fortune with us.

3. Low self-esteem

Many people don’t feel very good about themselves. Whether it is how they look, how much money they make, or whether or not they have a hot boyfriend or girlfriend, they look at their lives and feel inadequate.

Low self-esteem is usually created during our childhood. What our parents told us about ourselves becomes who we think we are.

In other words, if your parents always told you that you were lazy, ugly, fat, stupid, and will amount to no good in life… then you will most likely have low self-esteem. [Read: Why am I so jealous all the time? The real secret reasons and the best ways to fix it ASAP]

But if your parents said that you are beautiful, smart, intelligent, and you can do anything you want because they are proud of you, then you will probably feel pretty good about yourself.

So, it’s not surprising to say that people with high self-esteem don’t get as envious as people with low self-esteem. People with high self-esteem may be envious, but they also feel empowered.

They think they can achieve and have what others have. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem feel more like a victim. They think they are incapable of achieving the things that other people have *the ones they are envious of*.

[Read: Real friends vs. fake friends – 21 ways to instantly tell them apart]

15 signs of envious friends to separate the good from the bad

If you feel you have a jealous friend, it’s probably been hard to even be around them. You feel like you must walk on eggshells and watch what you say so they don’t throw it back in your face. And this isn’t what friendship is about.

It’s important to recognize the signs of envious friends; that way, you can sit down and talk to them about how they’re feeling or take some time off from the friendship. You need a genuine friend around you, not someone who’s going to try their hardest to bring you down. [Read: How to recognize the signs of jealousy in someone and guide them out]

Envy doesn’t belong in a friendship. So take a look at these signs of envious friends and ask yourself how many of them you see in your own friendships.

1. Your friend struggles with self-esteem issues

As we just discussed, everyone can all have their jealous moments, but when you look past the feelings of jealousy, what do you see?

Envy and jealousy stem from insecurities and low self-esteem issues. A jealous person isn’t happy with their own accomplishments and feels insecure about their own abilities. [Read: Why your codependent friendship is more unhealthy than you think]

2. Your good news isn’t received positively

Maybe you received a promotion or lost weight and are wearing new clothes, and this just is making your friend lose their mind with jealousy.

Of course, you’re sharing the news with them because they’re your friend, but they don’t celebrate your good news. Instead, they only respond with negative comments. [Read: 15 types of toxic friends who make you miserable and drag you down]

3. You can’t relax around them

Another one of the signs of envious friends is that you can’t relax when you are with them. When you’re around your friends, you’re supposed to feel comfortable and relaxed.

But, when you’re around an envious friend, you feel tense and uptight around them. This isn’t a feeling you should ignore. Instead, explore why you’re having these feelings. [Read: The signs you have shitty friends and need some new friends!]

4. Your friend is always trying to outdo you

When something good is happening in your life, your friend makes it a competition.

If something good happens to you, then they try their best to make sure to outdo you. This is simply their insecurity and low self-esteem appearing as they don’t want to look “less” than you.

5. They copy you

Your friend is jealous of you; let’s get one thing straight. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be you. Rather, it’s the opposite.

Whether they’re jealous of your job, relationship, or the clothes you wear, they’ll try to imitate you. Even though Oscar Wilde said, “imitation is the best form of flattery,” we get how irritating it can be as well. [Read: 16 subtle signs of a jealous friend you may not always recognize]

6. It’s all about false compliments

Your friend isn’t actually pleased to know you’re doing well in your life. When they’re in a spot to compliment you, they’ll do so, but make sure it’s either a back-handed compliment or a fake one.

Admitting out loud they’re genuinely happy for you is near impossible for them. [Read: Backhanded compliments – What it is and how to recognize them]

7. They make you feel bad about yourself

Whatever the case may be, your friend pushes you down to make themselves feel better. Since they’re envious of you, the only way to raise themselves above you is to make you feel bad about yourself.

They’ll say small things like, “you’re having a lucky streak” or “you were just there at the right time.” [Read: 19 creepy signs your friend is secretly an energy vampire]

8. They talk about you behind your back

When someone is envious of you, they’ll have to make everyone else also sees you as less than you.

When your friend talks about you behind your back, they’re not praising you. Instead, they’re letting other people know how much better they are in comparison to you.

9. They’re unsupportive

A friend is someone who is supposed to show support when you need it. What else are friends for? But, when you’re on your way to achieving a goal, they’re not supportive.

In other words, they don’t want anything positive to happen to you. So, they’ll show a lack of support in hopes of you failing. [Read: 17 types of bad friends you need to unfriend from your life]

10. They see you as a rival

Friends aren’t supposed to see each other as competition; they’re friends. But one of the clearest signs of envious friends is that they see you as their rival.

This is because you represent the insecurity in themselves, and they can’t let that happen. You’re a person they must conquer to feel better about themself.

11. They point out your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes; we’re only human beings, after all.

But your friend will use your mistakes as a way to make them feel as though they are right. A true friend wouldn’t use your mistakes against you to satisfy their own needs.

12. They love to talk about their own success

What else is a jealous and envious person going to do? They cannot just slam your goals and dreams down without making themselves look bigger.

So, while they downplay your goals, they’ll talk endlessly about their successes and achievements, making sure you both know they’re better than you. [Read: How to tell if someone is jealous of you by the way they behave around you]

13. They downplay your achievements

Maybe you made it to your goal weight or aced the exam you’ve been studying for the past couple of months. The point is you’ve reached your accomplishments after a lot of hard work.

But for them, they downplay your achievements, saying it was about time or your goal wasn’t that hard to begin with.

14. You feel their jealousy turning into hatred

Sure, there can be a little envy between friends, but jealousy can quickly turn into hatred and resentment.

Your friend may be starting to show signs of a strong dislike towards you when you haven’t done anything wrong to cause a rift between you. [Read: 20 ways to recognize a selfish person and ways to get away from them]

15. You no longer feel them as a friend

They used to be your good friend, but lately, you haven’t been feeling that type of connection. All relationships go through their phases as people go through different things during their lives.

At this moment, they’re not behaving like a genuine friend, which doesn’t mean they won’t change. But right now, you are on different paths. And they’re subtly trying their best to trip you and make you fall.

[Read: How to tell if a friend is toxic and brings unhappiness in life]

After looking at these signs of envious friends, reflect on your friendships. Do you notice these characteristics? If so, what are you going to do?

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