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What Is a Good Way to Handle a Jealous Friend?

by Elise Wile

Actress and singer Bette Midler once said, "The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you." While you may not consider three drunken guys at the bar hitting on you to be a success, your friend's jealousy indicates that she thinks otherwise. Dealing with these feelings before they come between you and your friend can minimize the damage the green-eyed monster can do.

Time to Talk

If your friend has given you the cold shoulder after you announced your latest raise, talk to her about her behavior before assuming she's jealous. It's possible that she's upset that you're bragging about your increased bank balance when you've shown little concern for the impending layoffs happening at her job, for example. Say, "You didn't seem very happy for me when I told you about my raise. What's up?" This gives your friend the opportunity to share her feelings, which may be jealousy or something else entirely.

Be Sensitive

If your friend is indeed jealous, be kind and refrain from excitedly talking about the new car you're purchasing when you know your friend had to spend $800 last week just to keep his current clunker road-worthy. While you may feel that he should share in your joy, put yourself in his shoes and remember how you felt at his wedding after you'd just been through a bad breakup. A healthy friendship is one where both parties are respectful of the other's feelings.

Stay Positive

Help your friend focus on her positive qualities to give her self-esteem a boost, says PsychCentral.com associate editor Margarita Tartakovsky in the article "Self-Esteem Struggles and Strategies That Can Help." Ask her where she found the fabulous outfit she's wearing, and let her know you absolutely admire the work she does with troubled youth. As her self-esteem increases, her struggles with jealousy will decrease. Meanwhile, the affirmation you are giving your friend will not only help to boost her confidence, but it will strengthen your friendship.

Accept It! We All Get Jealous

Everyone experiences feelings of jealousy, states clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone in the "Psychology Today" article "What Drives Jealousy?" People generally don't have much control over this negative emotion. Accepting that your friend may sometimes feel jealous can go a long way toward helping you to simply accept the situation and move past the occasional hurtful remark or lack of support. Realize that your friend's inner critic may simply be working overtime to make her feel inadequate. Put some extra effort into building her up.

Know Your Limitations

Ultimately, you have no control over your friend's jealous feelings. After you've done what you can to smooth over any ruffled feathers caused by any insensitive actions on your part, all you can do is wait for him to decide to make the change that will once again clear the path to a mutually beneficial friendship. If he stays mired in resentment and jealousy, recognize that this is a choice and that it may be best to re-evaluate the friendship if it has become toxic.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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