Jealousy. It’s something you’ve most likely dealt with at one time or another, especially when related to a friend. While jealousy can sometimes be painfully obvious, it’s not always easy to tell that your best friend is jealous of you. We spoke to a few collegiettes and identified four telling signs that your friend might be sending jealous vibes your way and creating a toxic friendship.
1. They're not as nice as they used to be
Has your once so-sweet friend turned a bit sour? Kayla*, a senior at Carthage College, recalls a time when her friend wasn’t so nice. “My friend and I used to run cross country together, and when I started running faster and performing better than her, something in our friendship changed,” Kayla explains. “She started to become really angry and mean toward me all the time, no matter what I did. She would talk down to me and make me feel terrible about myself any chance she had, especially while at practice.”
If your friend isn’t acting quite as nice to you as they usually do, jealousy could be the reason behind it. Whether it be out-performing them or having something that they want, their negative feelings toward you could be their way of coping with their jealousy of your success.
So how do you get your friend back to their old, sweet self? Whether they're knowingly or unknowingly hostile toward you, letting them in on your feelings and allowing them a chance to explain themselves may offer a remedy to the situation as a whole. Be patient with them and give them time to shed light on why they're using these negative feelings to cope with their jealousy. Above all, be open to what they have to say and let them know that you won't judge or blame them for their honesty.
2. They're constantly competing with you
There’s a difference between friendly competition and not-so-friendly competition, especially when it comes to a jealous friend! If it seems like you’ve been constantly competing with your friend lately, it’s not all in your head.
“My friend always had to be better than me,” Kayla says. “Even when we weren’t at practice. If I got a new running top, she’d get a whole new outfit, complete with new running shoes. If I went on a seven-mile long run, she’d go for at least eight. I felt like she was always trying to prove herself. It’s like she thought that if she went the extra mile, she’d eventually run faster than me.”
It can be extremely frustrating when your friend turns absolutely anything under the sun into a competition, and jealousy could very well be the culprit. Feeling like they're “winning” in the little competitions may be making them feel good now, but it won’t end well for your friendship later.
The best way to deal is to communicate with your friend and make sure that they aren’t feeling blamed or attacked. Acknowledge all that your friend has accomplished and achieved on their own, but assure them that your accomplishments are separate. Your success isn't any better than theirs, and vice versa. They may just want to feel that their accomplishments are important, and your acknowledgment and approval could be just what they're looking for.
3. They always try to include themselves in your plans
Are you constantly finding yourself with a plus-one that you weren’t planning on? Is your friend always trying to tag along on outings they weren't exactly invited to? Or maybe, your friend thinks that your plans revolve around them. Caroline*, a sophomore at Augustana College, says that her friend did just that, and was fed up to say the least.
“I had a friend who constantly made me feel bad about when I did and didn’t hang out with her,” Caroline says. “She worked a lot, so she always made me feel guilty for hanging out with the rest of our friends and not hanging out with her when she had free time. She never considered my schedule and would always show up randomly if we went out without her. It got old really fast.”
Jealousy can occur for a variety of reasons, but if your friend is jealous of you hanging out with other friends, it can all boil down to FOMO and insecurity, so pay extra attention if you notice that your friend has amped up the clinginess! “My friend would rarely leave my side once we were out, and would get really upset with me if she felt like I wasn’t paying enough attention to her,” Caroline added. “She even admitted to being jealous of all the free time I had to spend with my other friends.”
If your friend is feeling insecure and left out, it’s important to be sensitive to how they're feeling and assure them that their time with you is valued. Friendships can become difficult and strained in jealous situations like these, but your friend will appreciate genuinely feeling like they're appreciated.
Related: How to Deal With a Jealous Friend
4. They're not happy for you
Has your friend not quite been your biggest fan lately? Does they not seem to be supportive of you, or even worse, seem to fake it? Jennifer*, a sophomore at Augustana College, says her friend’s jealousy was extremely obvious the second she turned fake.
“I had gotten a 99 percent on my organic chemistry test, which was huge! My friend appeared to be really happy for me and congratulated me, all smiles. Apparently wasn’t the case,” Jennifer says. “I was told by another friend that as soon as I left, my friend demanded to see a copy of my test and was convinced it was an easier version than her. She wasn’t happy for me in the slightest and the fact that she didn’t believe I earned that score hurt a lot.”
A fake friend is frustrating, but a jealous, fake friend is a whole different world of trouble. Not supporting your accomplishments, faking happiness, or even worse, not showing any sort of happiness at all are extremely upsetting behaviors from a friend. However, it’s important to remember that jealousy can be a big contributing factor in these situations.
In this unfortunate situation of jealousy, your friend needs to understand that this type of behavior just isn’t cool. It’s not fair to you or your friendship, so communicating your feelings and the lack of support from your friend is a significant first step to remedying the situation. You deserve an explanation.
If you’ve noticed any of these behaviors in a friend, it’s important to realize that their actions could be stemming from their jealousy toward you. Recognizing the signs, whether blatantly obvious or extremely subtle, is essential to dealing with your friendship and taking the right steps to move forward!
*Names have been changed.