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How to Overcome Jealousy Within Friendships

by Karen Kleinschmidt

People are more likely to feel jealous when someone close to them is better at something than they are or obtains something they have tried to obtain, said Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., associated editor at the "Journal of Consumer Psychology." In his article, "Overcoming Jealousy," Raghunathan goes on to state that throughout history people have been hard-wired to compete with those close to them for survival purposes with jealousy and envy being the chief motivator. Obviously, society has evolved and jealousy is no longer needed as a means for motivation for survival and can do more harm than good in your friendships.

Jealousy Is Counterproductive

Accept that you feel jealous of your friend. Acknowledge this feeling within yourself and pinpoint what it is that makes you feel this way. Do your best to avoid pushing your jealous feelings away as your friend will likely pick up on your jealousy through facial expressions and/or your actions. Admitting this feeling to yourself will allow you to explore ways to overcome your jealousy.

Take action by telling your friends you are proud of them when they accomplish a goal or something of importance. Face-to-face interaction might be too difficult at first, so a phone call, text or email might be a better route if you fear your jealousy will show.

Force yourself to congratulate your friend despite your jealous feelings. Raghunathan said in his article that forcing yourself to act as though you are happy for your friend will help you overcome your feelings of jealousy. It works in the same way as forcing a smile when you are less than happy.

Getting Specific

Focus on your positive attributes, skills and belongings. If, for example, you are jealous of your friend's bigger house, Jan Yager, friendship coach and author of "When Friendship Hurts," points out that it is not impossible to attain. It is much easier, however, to focus on and accept your life and share what is positive about you with your friend.

Avoid comparing children. If you can't help but feel jealous of your friend's seemingly perfect parenting skills and well-behaved children, Irene Levine, clinical psychologist and author of "Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend," encourages women to remind themselves that families often look perfect to outsiders. If you find this too difficult, do activities together without the children until your feelings are less intense.

Love your body. Comparing your body to your friend's will only bring you down and create more jealousy inside. Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Toxic Friends," advises focusing on what you love about your body, accept your shape and body type and make a plan to lose weight or tone up if necessary.

References

  • Psychology Today: Sapient Nature: Overcoming Jealousy
  • Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend; Irene Levine
  • When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon or Wound You; Jan Yager
  • Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships; Susan Shapiro Barash

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

Photo Credits

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