If there’s anything funny about jealousy, it’s when the jealousy is unfounded and the jealous person comes off as simply silly and endearing (and not homicidal and insane). But the fact remains that jealousy is very hard for people to control and often, for reasons only imagined, strong relationships are brought to their knees. So whether you think someone close to you is suffering from jealousy or if you suspect yourself of envious characteristics, these seven signs of jealousy will help you get to the source of the problem.
Once you’ve got that figured out, use this course on overcoming jealousy to reclaim your life.
Sign #1: Questioning
Suspicious and unnecessary questioning are across-the-board indicators of jealousy. Whether it’s among colleagues, friends or the romantically involved, excessive and desperate questioning is a sure sign of jealousy. Questions are also completely natural, so a good rule of thumb for jealousy is this: if you have to look for it, you might want to hold off on any accusations (or better yet, address the potential problem immediately and diplomatically); if it is becoming increasingly obvious, then you should still address the problem immediately and diplomatically.
When questions start turning into demands or requiring insensible degrees of detail, you can almost bet your relationship that someone is jealous. And this can take quite a toll on the person who isn’t jealous; having a close friend turn against you isn’t easy and it can even be damaging. Read this post on 6 different types of abuse and what to do about them for when things get too intense.
Sign #2: Spying
If there is one activity that provides incontrovertible equivalence of jealousy, it’s spying. Naturally, if the jealous person possesses reasonable spying skills, it will be difficult to identify this behavior. The classic examples are checking emails, text messages, phone logs, etc. The fact of the matter is that there is no reason to excuse this behavior for any relationship that claims to be founded on trust. Excuses will surely be made, they might even be half-hearted in an attempt to get you to realize the pain you are causing them.
Acting quickly and sensibly is crucial. If you’re striving for perfection in every role you play, from friend to partner to family member, peruse this class on the essentials of relationship mastery for simple solutions.
Sign #3: Underlying Negativity
A primary occupation of a jealous person is trying to make the person they are jealous of feel their pain. This is done in a number of ways, but one of the most common is by practicing underlying negativity. Jealous people very much want it to be known that they are jealous, but they don’t want to be the ones to say it. So if a friend is jealous of you and if, say, you get a promotion, then your friend might say something like, “Well done, that’s great, I mean it’s not like there was any competition, you were bound to get it.”
There are endless examples of what people say, but the point is this: they pretend to be happy for you, but undercut it with something that is meant to hurt you and render your accomplishment nil. They want you to notice they are angry and, subsequently, be as hurt at this as they are by you.
Of course, you have to be careful you don’t fall into the same trap. Nobody is truly immune to jealousy or negative feelings. Take more control of your confidence with this course on reclaiming and strengthening your positive self-esteem.
Sign #4: Close, But No Cigar
Trying to return the favor of jealousy is, as I just mentioned, a common practice of jealous people. If the jealousy is stemming from a new friend, position or interest that is not allowing you to spend as much time with them, then it is likely that the jealous person will think of excuses to cause a similar, reciprocal effect.
In other words, when you “finally” have time to hang out, the person who is jealous will use an excuse (usually of a similar flavor to that which is causing you to be so busy) as if to imply that they cannot be expected to be able to hang out on your time. They want you to know how it feels. So they’ll get close enough to allow you to offer an invitation, but not so close to take you up on it.
Sign #5: Too Close
On the other side of the spectrum we have (for lack of a more empathetic word) clinginess. When a friend or partner is seemingly terrified of leaving your side, chances are they’re suffering from a bad case of jealousy. This behavior is usually an attempt to keep you from doing whatever it is that is making them jealous, so whenever it begins to intensify, you can bet that you’re getting closer to the source of the problem (kind of like the treasure hunt game Warmer/Colder).
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Sign #6: Doubts And Reassurances
Almost needless to say, jealousy causes people to lose confidence in themselves. As a result, they need reassurances, almost exclusively from the person about whom they are jealous. They will try to talk you into reassuring them and eventually will ask you out-right if you still care about them, if you love them, if you’re happy with them. A terrible side effect is when you are not available – when you don’t answer phone calls, for example – and they feel the need to lash out, to get angry, to bring even unrelated fears and emotions into the conversation. This article on fixing relationships can help you make repairs before it’s too late.
Sign #7: Friendly Competition
This really only applies to friendships, as this kind of jealousy is somewhat at odds with romantic relationships. Jealous friends will often enter into unreasonably intense competitions with each other. This could center around anything from records to achievements to who is the most loving friend or family member.
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Sign #8: Constant Pettiness
It’s easy to get angry at a jealous person, especially when they are constantly insulting you in a very petty manner. This is one of the most direct and undisguised forms of jealousy. Think of it as constant criticism. They might say very hurtful things and then forcefully excuse them as being “honest insights” or “just telling it as it is” or “tough love.”
When a power dynamic is involved, this can be uncomfortable at best and potentially devastating. In a work scenario, if your friend is giving a presentation, they might ask you a question to which they know you don’t know the answer. On a sports team you might get constant petty remarks about not working hard enough, making idiotic mistakes, getting lucky when things go your way. This is a sign of a jealous person who is showing you what it’s like to not have them as a friend.
Jealousy is not worth ruining a relationship over. You need to preserve what’s important and figure out how to mitigate the negative emotions. Jealousy like to work under-cover, so just bringing it out in the open will force both parties to accept its existence and start working together on how to make a recovery. For help moving forward, check out this course on Super Friend Power and learn to build a lasting network of friends.