What to do When You're Jealous of Your Friend's Success

Jealousy can turn even the best of us into a green-eyed monster. Whether we’re envious of someone’s brand new car or their exciting internship, jealousy is a negative emotion and you should be careful when you experience it. While many people attribute jealousy to only romantic relationships, jealousy can be applied to platonic friendships and be just as emotionally taxing. You should follow these tips and guidelines on what to do if you’re experiencing jealousy of your friend’s success.

1. Reflect on why you feel this way

It’s normal to feel a bit jealous from time to time, but if your feelings are starting to affect your relationship with your friend, then it may be time to do some self-reflection. What exactly do they have that you don’t? What are your shortcomings? Can you identify why their success is bothering you?

These questions may be difficult to answer and you may realize that you’re insecure about some of your own abilities and successes thus far. Remind yourself that you are more than your insecurities. Some of our best qualities can’t be measured in a letter grade or resume.

Jo, a recent grad from Rowan University, says, "I was pretty jealous when all of my friends were getting job offers before me, and it put a strain on our relationships because I felt weird talking about post grad life. Soon after accepting a job, I realized how badly I had been acting."

Jo divulges in how she felt when her friends were seemingly more successful, but as she says, she reflected on her actions to put an end to the jealousy.

2. Don't compare yourself to others

After you’ve identified why you may feel jealous, you should remember to not compare yourself to others. Your self-esteem is probably a factor in why you feel this way, but you are more than your weaknesses. Recognize your strengths. You are your own person with your own personal success story. It wouldn’t be fair to judge every individual with the same “success criteria” because we’re all moving at generally different paces.

Samantha*, a sophomore at Lehigh University, says, “Summers are usually resume-boosting times where everyone gains a lot of job experience. I personally want to be a teacher when I’m older so getting an internship was not a priority of mine this summer, but I still felt like I was doing something wrong when all of my friends seemed more successful than me.”

Samantha brings up a great point that, while our peers may make us feel like we’re inadequate, our friends’ paths are different than ours for a reason!

3. Work on yourself

Perhaps this twinge of jealousy is what you need to motivate yourself to do better in academics or prepare for your future career. Maybe you’re jealous of your friend’s musical talent or athletic ability. While you shouldn’t focus too much on how you measure up to them, you should use this as healthy encouragement to work on yourself. You can even ask your friend for help in the specific area to heal any animosity you once had for their success.

Practicing and working on yourself, in general, can also be very beneficial if you’re feeling down about yourself. It’s obviously easier said than done to achieve all your goals just because you want to. Set some realistic standards for the week, and make some progress. Maybe you want to achieve better grades; plan out time every day to do your homework and study in the library. Maybe you’re insecure about finding a job after graduation; make an appointment at the career center at your school to get help about a job search. You have the tools you need to be successful—you just have to use them!

Jealousy isn’t easy and it can bring out the worst in us. If you remember to be kind to yourself and consistently work on your progress, you’ll be so preoccupied you won’t have time to compare yourself to others. Success is an uphill battle, but you’re more than capable of achieving your dreams.

*Names changed