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5 subtle signs your friend is jealous of you, even if they seem supportive

Two friends smiling at the camera
Oliver Rossi/Getty Images
  • Jealousy is a common emotion, including among friends.

  • A psychologist shared the subtle signs a friend might be jealous of you.

  • They might downplay your success, copy you, or self-deprecate when you share good news.

Jealousy is one of the most common human emotions. But it's complicated.

If you're genuinely jealous of someone, you don't want to admit to it — it's somehow shameful, or even taboo. Being on the receiving end of jealousy is also confusing, having great news to share but suspecting your bestie isn't all that enthused about your joy. At the same time, outwardly asking them about it probably won't get you anywhere (and can offend them if you're totally off).

Before you decide it's jealousy, clinical psychologist Dr. Miriam Kirmayer says you should first ask yourself: am I the problem?

"I definitely encourage people to look at both sides of it, not only in terms of what is this telling you about your friend, but what is this telling you about yourself?" Kirmayer, a keynote speaker on social connection, told Business Insider.

How often are you sharing exciting life updates? How much do you support them when it's their turn to shine? If you rattle off your promotion and upcoming Paris trip when your friend just got laid off and is scared of making rent, that feeling of "jealousy" might be more extreme (justified) annoyance.

But if you're sure you aren't the humblebrag express, Kirmayer shared some signs a friend might actually be jealous of you. Depending on how they express it, it can be a way to grow closer — or know that you've outgrown this friendship.

1. They're more interested in the hard parts of your life

"If you have a friend who's only interested in talking about the pain points in life and not something that's a little bit more hopeful or optimistic, that can potentially be a sign that they themselves are wrestling with feelings of envy or competition," Kirmayer said.

When you do have good news to share, Kirmayer said they might not ask many follow-up questions or acknowledge it too much. They might be wonderful confidants when you're going through a breakup, but not have much to say when you start dating someone new.

2. They compare your successes to other people's

A more classic (but sometimes nuanced) sign of jealousy is a friend minimizing or even invalidating your accomplishments.

According to Kirmayer, it can be quite subtle — it's not like your friend is outwardly saying "Who cares?" or "Don't get too excited."

Instead, it can "often take the form of one-upmanship," she said. If you just won an award, your friend might bring up their own from a year ago. Or if you just bought a studio apartment, they might bring up a friend of theirs who just closed on a three-bedroom house.

3. They copy you without giving credit

Jealousy can have some benefits, and some friends might use theirs as a guiding light to finding what they want more out of their own life. Kirmayer said that this part can be healthy and normal.

The issue is if they start taking up the same hobbies, pursuing the same degree, or copying your fashion without telling you that they were positively influenced by you.

"Are they open about where their inspiration came from?" Kirmayer said. "Sometimes, all we really want to hear is that that's where this idea came from."

In fact, the lack of transparency is something Kirmayer said she's seen cause a lot of friendship issues, as one friend might feel like another's competition instead of their aspiration.

4. They put themselves down to build you up

Jealousy among friends doesn't always look like them putting you down. Kirmayer said the other response can be their self-deprecation when you have something good happen to you.

For example, if you get engaged, they might make a joke about dying alone. Or if you throw a party, they might start talking about how they only have two friends.

5. Their "congrats" feels stiff

Sometimes, the vibes are just off. "You get the sense that when they celebrate, it ends up being a little bit performative and forced," Kirmayer said. They might say and do all the textbook supportive things, but you might still feel that they're jealous.

It doesn't mean you should end your friendship, though. Kirmayer said that jealousy can bring friends closer — if they can have honest conversations about it. If your friend opens up about their feelings (while still being excited for you), you can also temporarily refrain from sharing updates about your new job while they're still looking for one themselves.

Read the original article on Business Insider