Dealing With Jealousy in a Friendship

If you're sick of dealing with jealousy in a friendship, there are several steps you can take to change the dynamic of the relationship. Irrational jealousy can cripple a relationship, but fortunately, most jealousy issues can be resolved if both friends want to preserve the relationship. Try these suggestions for resolving jealousy issues in a friendship:

If You're the Jealous One
If you are feeling jealous and insecure in a relationship, you'll need to work on your self esteem. What things make you feel jealous of your friend? Does he or she make more money than you, look more attractive than you, have a better job, socialize with more people than you'd like or enjoy an easier lifestyle? You'll need to identify what things trigger your jealousy and then work to resolve these issues on your own.

For example, if your friend is prettier than you and always gets hit on at bars, leaving you feeling inferior or rejected, maybe you need to avoid this situation if you are dealing with jealousy. Perhaps your friendship will flourish if you remove the competitive atmosphere of dating out of the picture and focus on doing things you both enjoy that don't involve trying to attract a man's attention.

Let's say you are jealous because your friend is very social and has lots of friends, and you are shy and only have this friend. You may feel possessive of this friend, even resentful of his ability to make lots of friends, which can cause you to feel rejected every time he socializes with others instead of with just you. In a situation like this, you may need to remind yourself that the two of you are different people with different socializing needs. Remind yourself that his choice to socialize with others does not equate rejection of your relationship.

Most cases of dealing with jealousy are rooted in insecurity. You may need to figure out ways to make yourself feel better about yourself when combating jealous tendencies, especially when you know the jealous feelings are irrational. Recognize your strengths and try to play up opportunities to feel good about yourself. This will help you admire and appreciate your friends and their strengths or good fortune.

If Your Friend is Exhibiting Signs of Jealousy
If you're not the jealous one, you may notice your friend's jealousy coming out through nasty comments, arguments, possessive behavior and manipulative tactics. You may need to set clear boundaries with this friend, limiting contact or context. Try the following strategies for keeping a jealous friend at bay:

  • Don't give in to manipulation: If your jealous friend tries to fill your calendar or guilt you into spending time with her and only her, refuse to acquiesce. Make other plans-or even say you have other plans, even if you don't-allowing the jealous, possessive friend only a certain amount of time in your schedule. If he or she tries to make you feel guilty, you may need to confront the manipulation outright, telling your friend that you only have so much time in a week and you can only give her this amount of time.
  • Compliment your friend on his strengths: Most jealousy is born of insecurity. If a jealous friend is insecure because of your appearance, job or economic status, go out of your way to build him up about his strengths. Call attention to the reasons you were drawn to him in the first place; resist allowing him to compare himself to you.
  • Refuse to acquiesce to bad behavior: If your jealous friend makes cutting remarks or does things to pull you down, you'll have few options but to either cut off the relationship or address the problem outright. Let your friend know that this is inappropriate behavior. Don't let the mistreatment continue. Some people are incapable of change; you will have to determine if the relationship is worth the conflict or not.
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