Friendship Frenemies: How To Handle Jealousy Amongst Friends

Friendship is like a garden, it requires constant nurturing and care to flourish. However, just as every garden has its pests and weeds, friendships also have their own set of challenges that can threaten the relationship’s stability.

One such challenge is jealousy among friends, which can quickly turn into a toxic rivalry known as ‘friendship frenemies.’ Jealousy amongst friends is not uncommon and often arises when one friend perceives the other as more successful or popular.

It can manifest in various ways, from subtle jabs disguised as compliments to outright hostility and exclusion. While this type of behavior may seem harmless at first glance, if left unchecked, it can cause irreparable damage to even the strongest of friendships.

As a freelance writer/editor specializing in friendship and relationships, I will explore how individuals can identify and effectively handle jealousy within their social circles to maintain healthy and fulfilling friendships.

Recognizing Causes Of Jealousy

Low self-esteem is a common cause of jealousy among friends. Those with low self-esteem may feel inferior to their friends, leading to envy and resentment.

Unmet expectations can also cause jealousy. When friends do not meet the expectations of their peers, the other person may feel jealous.

Comparison can cause feelings of jealousy when friends compare themselves to each other. This can be especially true when a friend has something that the other doesn’t, such as a higher income or better looks.

Jealousy can also arise when one friend is given more attention than the other by a third party.

Lastly, competition between friends can cause feelings of jealousy when one friend outperforms the other.

Low Self-Esteem

It is not uncommon for jealousy to stem from feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

A jealous friend may feel inferior or inadequate compared to their successful or popular friend, leading them to harbor negative emotions towards their friendship.


In this situation, it is important for the friend experiencing jealousy to address their own insecurities and work on building up their self-esteem. This can include engaging in positive self-talk, seeking therapy, or setting achievable goals that make them feel good about themselves.

It’s also essential for both friends to communicate openly and honestly about how they are feeling.

Ignoring these underlying issues will only lead to the jealous friend feeling worse over time and possibly even ashamed of their emotions.

By acknowledging and addressing the root cause of jealousy within a friendship, both parties can move forward with a stronger bond built on trust and understanding.

Unmet Expectations

Another cause of jealousy in friendships is unmet expectations. When one friend has specific hopes or desires for the relationship that aren’t fulfilled, they may feel resentful towards their friend and envious of others who seem to have what they want. These feelings can be compounded if the jealous friend struggles with low self-esteem, as they may see themselves as unworthy of having their needs met by their friend.

Signs of this type of jealousy include passive-aggressive behavior or withdrawing from the friendship altogether. A relationship expert would advise friends dealing with jealous feelings stemming from unmet expectations to identify the root cause and communicate openly about their needs and boundaries. By addressing these issues head-on and working together to find solutions, both friends can potentially overcome jealousy and strengthen their bond.


Another common cause of jealousy in friendships is comparison. When one friend constantly compares themselves to others, they may feel insecure and envious of their friends’ accomplishments or relationships with others. This can lead to feelings of jealousy that manifest in passive-aggressive behavior or even distancing oneself from the friendship altogether.

A relationship expert would recommend that friends dealing with this type of jealousy have an honest conversation about their insecurities and work together to build each other up instead of tearing each other down through comparisons. By recognizing and addressing these feelings head-on, both friends can potentially overcome jealousy and strengthen their bond.

It’s important for individuals to deal with jealous friends by being supportive and understanding while also setting clear boundaries to protect their own emotional well-being from toxic behaviors caused by signs of jealousy.

Signs Of Jealousy In Friendships

Excessive criticism is a common indicator of jealousy in friendships, with friends who are envious of their peers often being overly critical of them.

Unreasonable expectations can also be a sign of jealousy, with a friend desiring the same successes or lifestyle of their peers, leading them to expect their friend to do the same.

These signs of jealousy can be difficult to handle, and it’s important to remember that it’s likely rooted in insecurity or fear.


Taking a step back and considering the root cause of the jealous behavior can help to address the issue in a constructive manner.

Excessive Criticism

Excessive criticism is a common sign of jealousy in friendships.

Insecure individuals may feel threatened by their friends’ successes and accomplishments, leading them to criticize every move or decision made by their friend.

This behavior can be detrimental to the friendship as it creates tension and resentment between both parties involved.

It’s important for those experiencing jealousy in a friendship to acknowledge their feelings and work on building their self-esteem instead of projecting their insecurities onto others through excessive criticism.

Additionally, dealing with jealous friends requires open communication and understanding from both sides.

By addressing any underlying relationship issues and finding ways to support each other, friends can overcome jealousy and strengthen their bond.

Knowing how to deal with jealousy with friends is crucial in maintaining healthy relationships that are built on trust, respect, and mutual admiration.

Unreasonable Expectations

As a licensed clinical psychologist, it’s important to recognize the signs of jealousy in friendships and how they can manifest in various ways.

One such manifestation is unreasonable expectations placed on friends. Insecure individuals may have negative thoughts about themselves, leading them to project those feelings onto their friends and expect perfection from them. This behavior sets up both parties for failure as no one can meet these unrealistic standards.

To deal with jealousy and overcome it, self-reflection is crucial, as well as changing negative thought patterns into constructive ones. It’s essential to communicate openly with your friend and find ways to support each other rather than tearing each other down with criticism or unattainable demands.

By acknowledging jealousy and finding healthy ways to cope, friends can strengthen their bond and move past any obstacles that arise in their relationship.

Strategies To Combat Jealousy

Identifying jealousy can be difficult, but signs such as possessiveness, envy, and mistrust can indicate that it is present.

Setting boundaries is key to combatting jealousy, both for the person exhibiting the jealous behavior and for the person on the receiving end.

Boundaries can be established around topics of conversation, personal space, or activities done with or without the other person.

Furthermore, boundaries should be communicated clearly and consistently to ensure they are respected.

Identifying Jealousy

Jealousy in friendships can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to identifying the root cause of envy.

A jealous person may feel insecure about themselves and their relationship with their friend, leading them to exhibit feelings of jealousy towards their friend’s accomplishments or relationships with others.

In some cases, experiencing jealousy is normal within a friendship dynamic; however, it becomes problematic when it evolves into toxic behavior that harms the friendship.

To deal with jealous friends, one must first identify the signs of envy and address them head-on by communicating openly and honestly with their friends.

It is important to remain empathetic while acknowledging your own boundaries and needs within the friendship.

Remember that a friend may act out of character due to feelings of insecurity or an inferiority complex – therefore approaching this situation tactfully will help maintain healthy communication lines between both parties involved.

Setting Boundaries

As a relationship expert specializing in friendship and relationships, it is important to acknowledge that experiencing jealousy in a friendship can be difficult.

While addressing the root cause of envy is essential, setting boundaries is also crucial when dealing with jealous friends.

By establishing clear limits on what behaviors are acceptable within the friendship, one can overcome jealousy among friends while maintaining healthy communication lines.

However, talking to your friend about setting boundaries must be done tactfully and empathetically as they may act out of character due to feelings of insecurity or inferiority complex.

Ultimately, by being mindful of these strategies to combat jealousy in friendships, we can build stronger and healthier connections with our friends.

Dealing With Jealous Friends

  1. Jealousy is often a difficult emotion to identify in friends, as it can manifest itself in subtle or overt ways.
  2. If you suspect that a friend is feeling jealous, it is important to communicate openly and honestly about it.
  3. To start a conversation about jealousy, it is helpful to approach the topic in a non-threatening way.
  4. Acknowledge the feelings of the other person, and ask open-ended questions to explore the underlying cause of the jealousy.
  5. Establishing clear boundaries with a jealous friend can help to manage the situation, and protect the friendship.
  6. It is important to be understanding and compassionate and to remember that jealousy is a normal emotion that can be overcome with honest dialogue.

Identify The Jealousy

When it comes to jealousy in friendships, it is important to identify the root of these feelings.

Envy can be a powerful emotion that stems from insecurity or a fear of losing something valuable.

If you suspect that a friend is experiencing jealousy in your friendship, pay attention to their behavior and try to understand what might be causing these negative feelings.

A jealous person may exhibit signs such as constant comparison or belittling comments towards your achievements or successes.

It’s crucial to deal with jealous friends in a compassionate manner by acknowledging their emotions but also setting boundaries when necessary.

Overcoming jealousy requires both parties to communicate openly and honestly about their thoughts and feelings in order to strengthen the friendship rather than let it crumble under envy’s weight.

Communicate Openly

Dealing with jealousy among friends can be challenging, but it is crucial to address the issue in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

It is important to talk to your friend about their feelings and have an honest conversation about what might be causing these negative emotions.

A licensed clinical psychologist suggests that communicating openly can help strengthen the friendship rather than let it crumble under envy’s weight.

By acknowledging your friend’s emotions and setting boundaries when necessary, you can work together towards overcoming jealousy together.

Remember that dealing with jealousy takes effort from both parties involved, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Set Boundaries

When dealing with jealous friends, it’s essential to set boundaries in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

If your friend is experiencing jealousy towards you, it can stem from their own low self-esteem or insecurities.

A relationship expert suggests that setting boundaries can help prevent envy from escalating and causing damage to the friendship.

This may include limiting certain conversations or activities that trigger feelings of jealousy, or simply openly communicating about what behaviors are not acceptable.

Practising mindfulness can also be helpful in recognizing when boundaries need to be reinforced.

Remember that setting boundaries does not mean cutting off your friend completely but rather creating a space where both parties feel respected and valued in the relationship.

Building Constructive Relationships

Jealousy among friends can be a common occurrence in any close relationship. It is natural to feel envious of our friends’ successes or accomplishments, but it’s important not to let these feelings consume us and damage our friendship.

Instead of dwelling on jealousy, focus on building constructive relationships with your friends by communicating openly about your feelings and working towards resolving any relationship issues that arise. Self-reflection is also key when dealing with jealousy among friends – ask yourself why you might be feeling this way and what steps you can take to address those underlying emotions.

Remember that everyone experiences envy at some point, so don’t beat yourself up over it. The next steps are to actively work towards overcoming jealous tendencies through positive actions such as practising gratitude for the blessings in your own life and celebrating your friend’s successes alongside them.


Jealousy amongst friends can be a complex emotion to navigate. While it can sometimes lead to positive outcomes, such as motivating one another, jealousy often causes tension and strain in friendships.

Recognizing the signs of jealousy within your own friendship dynamics is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships.

It’s important to approach confrontations about jealousy with empathy and understanding, while also setting boundaries and communicating openly.

Repairing damaged friendships caused by jealousy requires patience and dedication from both parties involved.

Despite the challenges that may arise, working through feelings of jealousy within friendships can ultimately strengthen bonds and promote personal growth.

Symbolism provides a powerful tool for exploring the complexities of friendship frenemies: just as two sides of a coin are constantly in opposition yet intrinsically connected, so too are friendship and envy intertwined.

Understanding this relationship allows us to better navigate our emotions and forge stronger connections with those we care about most.

FAQs | How to Deal with Jealousy with Friends

Can Jealousy Ever Be A Positive Thing In A Friendship?

Jealousy is a complex emotion that can have both positive and negative effects on friendships.
According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 87% of participants reported experiencing jealousy at some point in their friendship.

While jealousy may initially seem like a negative force, it can actually serve as a motivator for self-improvement or lead to deeper discussions about personal insecurities within the friendship.

However, if left unchecked, jealousy can ultimately damage relationships by creating resentment and distrust among friends.
Therefore, it is important for individuals to recognize and address feelings of jealousy before they escalate into more serious issues.

How Do You Know If You Are The One Causing Jealousy In Your Friendships?

Jealousy in friendships can be a complicated issue, and it’s not always easy to know when you are the one causing it.
It’s important to examine your behavior and actions towards your friends to see if there is anything that could be seen as threatening or competitive.
Ask yourself if you frequently talk about your achievements or compare yourself to others, or if you tend to monopolize conversations.

Also consider how much attention and time you demand from your friends versus what they need from you.

If any of these behaviors resonate with you, it may be worth having an open conversation with your friend(s) about their feelings and addressing any issues head-on.

By being self-aware and taking responsibility for our actions, we can work towards healthier friendships built on trust and mutual support.

Is It Possible To Repair A Friendship That Has Been Damaged By Jealousy?

When jealousy rears its ugly head in a friendship, it can cause irreparable damage. However, repairing the relationship is not impossible. Rebuilding trust and communication are key factors in restoring any damaged friendship. It takes time, effort, and patience to mend fences with someone who has been hurt by your actions or words. A good starting point is acknowledging that you have caused pain and expressing genuine remorse for your behavior. This must be followed up with concrete steps towards making amends and showing your friend that you value their feelings and opinions. By taking responsibility for your part in the conflict, actively listening to their perspective, and being willing to work through the issues together, there is hope for salvaging what was once a meaningful connection.

How Do You Confront A Friend About Their Jealousy Without Damaging The Friendship?

When it comes to confronting a friend about their jealousy, it is important to approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy.
Start by acknowledging your own feelings and expressing concern for your friend’s wellbeing.

It may be helpful to use ‘I’ statements rather than accusatory language, such as ‘I feel hurt when you make negative comments about my successes.’
Encourage open communication and active listening in order to understand the root of your friend’s jealousy.

Remember that friendships require effort from both parties, so be willing to work together towards finding a solution that benefits everyone involved.

Are Some People More Prone To Jealousy In Friendships Than Others?

Jealousy is a common emotion experienced in various types of relationships, including friendships.
Some people may be more prone to jealousy than others due to their personal traits and past experiences.
For instance, individuals with low self-esteem or those who have been betrayed by friends before may struggle with feelings of envy more frequently than others.

Additionally, social comparison can also contribute to jealousy among friends, especially when one friend perceives the other as achieving greater success or happiness.

However, it is important to note that jealousy does not necessarily indicate a lack of friendship or trust between individuals but rather an emotional reaction triggered by certain circumstances.

What is jealousy and how does it manifest in friendship?

Jealousy is an emotional response that can manifest in many ways, including envy, insecurity, and feeling unhappy when someone else succeeds. In friendships, jealousy can arise when one friend becomes jealous of another’s accomplishments, relationships, or social life.

How common is jealousy in friendships?

Jealousy is a common emotion experienced by many people, and it can often arise in close relationships such as friendships. However, how a person handles their jealousy can make all the difference in maintaining a healthy and strong friendship.

What are the signs that a friend is jealous of you?

Signs that a friend may be jealous of you can include them belittling your successes or accomplishments, avoiding spending time with you or actively trying to undermine your relationships or reputation.

How can I deal with a jealous friend?

Dealing with a jealous friend can be difficult, but it’s important to address any bad behavior before it starts to damage the relationship. Focus on building healthy communication, and help your friend reframe their negative thoughts and feelings. It may be time to take a step back if the jealousy is persistent and impacting your mental health.

Is it possible to overcome jealousy in a friendship?

Yes, with the right tools and mindset, it’s possible to overcome jealousy in a friendship. Understanding the root cause of the jealousy can help you navigate the situation and make a list of constructive steps to help the friendship thrive.

What if I’m the one who is feeling jealous?

If you’re experiencing jealousy in a friendship, there are steps you can take to address it. Instead of feeling ashamed or denying the emotion, try to reframe it in a positive light and focus on the strengths of the friendship. It’s easier said than done, but acknowledging your feelings and working through them can make all the difference.

How can a relationship expert help me navigate jealousy in my friendships?

A relationship expert can provide an unbiased perspective on the situation, and offer tools and strategies to help you overcome jealousy and rebuild your relationship with your friend.

What are some common reasons why people experience jealousy?

People experience jealousy for a variety of reasons, including low self-confidence, feeling insecure in their own lives, or not feeling worthy. It’s important to identify the root cause of the jealousy before addressing it in a friendship.

Should I confront my friend if I suspect they are acting jealous?

Confronting a friend about their jealousy can be a delicate situation, but it’s important to address any bad behavior before it starts to fester and damage the friendship. Try to approach the conversation in a calm and constructive manner, and express your concerns without attacking your friend.

What should be my next move if the jealousy is causing significant damage to the friendship?

If the jealousy is persistent and causing significant damage to the friendship, it may be time to consider taking a step back and reassessing the relationship. Losing a friend is never easy, but it’s important to prioritize your own mental health and well-being above all else.