How to Not Be Jealous of Friends: 9 Ways to Shut Down the Envy and Be Happy With a Friend's Success

Updated on January 10, 2018
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After seeing many friends (or himself) seduced by love, only to crash and burn afterwards, Jorge writes advice based on his observations.

Having trouble not being jealous of your friends when they've accomplished so much?
Having trouble not being jealous of your friends when they've accomplished so much?

When You're Jealous of Your Friend

If you've felt a twinge of envy at another person's success and you're wondering how to not be jealous of your friends anymore, you're not alone. This is actually a really common situation.

People get jealous of their friends all the time, especially if they grew up together. Since most of the time we're rather similar to our friends—in personality, status, starting point on the social ladder, and so on—it's natural that some comparisons are going to happen.

But as you will see, lives can unfold with vast differences. Just because you had a similar starting point, doesn't mean you'll end up in the same place. This is a good thing, but it can temporarily cause some jealousy.

If you feel like you're "behind" your friends and are desperate to catch up, take a look at these nine ways that you can stave off the jealousy:

1) Admit That You're Jealous of Your Friend.

Like anything else, the first step is to fully admit your plight. You don't have to tell anyone, but at least admit it to yourself. Without fully acknowledging that you are indeed extremely jealous of your friend's success, you won't be able to start looking for solutions to this issue.

So go to the mirror and take a hard look at yourself. Stare into your own seductive eyes and say, "It looks like I'm jealous of my friend. Their accomplishments make me feel small. It bothers me that they appear to be doing better."

Is it silly to feel this way about your friend? Yes. But it is what it is. You feel what you feel and there's nothing you can do about your emotions directly in the moment. They will have to change slowly over time. The first step, though, is acceptance. Sometimes that itself is enough to make you feel a bit better.

2) Remember That You're a Unique Individual.

The next thing that you should consider is that you're a unique individual. Why does this matter? Well, accomplishments and successes are related to whatever life path a person is on, and no two paths will be the same.

I don't mean this in the sense that you might pick one career and your friend picks another. The differences go much deeper than this. You are a totally unique individual. There is literally no one else exactly like you on the face of the Earth.

There are certain desires and a certain life path that the real you inside wants to experience. This will be completely unlike anyone else's path, so there's no point in even comparing yourself to your friend. It's like apples and oranges.

Trying to find your own path in life is critical to both your own happiness and not being jealous of your friends.
Trying to find your own path in life is critical to both your own happiness and not being jealous of your friends.

3) Drop Society's Standards of What the "Right" Life Path Should Be. These Standards Are Designed to Trap You and Keep You Unsatisfied Forever.

Some people might say, "Oh, we all develop at a different pace," as a way to console you from comparing yourself to a friend who seems to have found "success" faster.

This problem with this is that it assumes that all people will hit certain milestones, that there's a predetermined path to success and that we're all going through it, just at different speeds.

This is basically wrong. Hogwash, even. We don't (just) develop at "different paces," we develop in completely different directions!

The root of a lot of your envy is probably based on the subconscious assumption that you should be at a certain "stage" that your friend is in. For example, they bought a house, but you can't afford one yet. They got a job in their chosen field, but you're still trying to break into yours.

These stages are just an illusion, though. You and everyone else have been brainwashed by society to see life in this extremely linear way, with no room for exploration or deviation. Because of this, you'll spend years constantly unsatisfied with where you are, and then when you finally reach your arbitrary goal, you'll see that other people are "ahead" of you and you'll be unsatisfied that you haven't reached the next goal, and so on.

At the end of the day, it's this dissatisfaction that will cause the jealousy, not anything that your friend did directly. The fact that your friend "advanced" towards a goal that you wanted makes you feel weaker, lesser.

If you don't let society's standards dictate what you want, this is much less of a problem. You might be saying right now, "But I'm not brainwashed by society. I'm trying to be successful and have a fancy house and a fancy job and a fancy car because I genuinely want these things!"

I call BS. If you really wanted these things for what they were instead of status symbols, you wouldn't be comparing yourself to your friends and you wouldn't be jealous. You would be enjoying your own unique path to the things you truly want.

How do you know you really want what you think you want, anyway? If it's been drilled in your head since you were a child what an "ideal" life is supposed to look like, how do you know your true self really wants these things, and it wasn't just part of your social conditioning?

Think about this for awhile. Take deep stock of what you really want out of life.

4) Listen to Your Inner Voice.

Beyond the noise of your social conditioning and your jealousy over your friends' successes, there's a small voice inside of you that actually knows what the right path for you is. When you're walking that path, there's never a need to be jealous, because the path itself is the goal.

How can you hear the voice that represents your true, inner self, though? Well, it honestly is hard. In modern times, we're surrounded by a culture that is constantly trying to distract us from it.

One rule of thumb is that this "voice" usually only encourages you to pursue things that you're genuinely curious about a stimulated by. And it will never encourage you to do something out of fear or a need to catch up to others. If you get a thought like, "I need to go to law school or I'll be a failure! This is it, I'm sick of being a loser," then that's not your inner voice--that's the voice of your parents, of society, of your friends, of your own superficial self-criticism.

Spend some time alone and think carefully about what you actually feel drawn to. This can be difficult at first if you're not used to it, but it's an important skill. It will help you on the path to living your authentic life, and when you're living your authentic life there is absolutely nothing to be jealous about.

Your Feelings of Envy

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5) Catch Yourself When You're Subconsciously Comparing.

Next, you need to drop the habit of comparing yourself to others, which is the core of this whole issue. As we've already discussed, you gain nothing by comparing yourself to others because your lives cannot be compared--everyone is totally different, and it's not like we're advancing through a hierarchy of the same accomplishments.

We're not all climbing the same mountain here, not even close.

So be mindful of when you're comparing yourself to others. Catch yourself when you do it, and think about the thoughts that led up to it. Why were you feeling insecure in that moment? Is there some fear inside of you that you need to address? Does the fact that your friend got his dream job make you feel like a failure?

The more you consciously watch for these thoughts and analyze them as they come up, the easier it will be to eventually eliminate them.

6) Remember to See Your Friend as Human.

Another problem that you might face is the tendency to put your friend on a pedestal. Maybe your friend accomplished something you never could imagine doing at this point in your life, and they seem super human because of it.

At the end of the day, they're not. Maybe they know something you don't and maybe they honed some skills that you didn't, but this doesn't mean they're special or inherently better than you. There's no need to be in awe of them. Bring them back down to Earth and invite them to hang out just as you normally do.

7) Think About the Things That You Actually Have in Common With Your Friend.

If you really can't get over being jealous of your friend, as much as you try to remind yourself to stop comparing, then maybe you just need to compare in a different way. What do you and your friend have in common?

Remember that friends tend to be similar when it comes to personality traits. Chances are, there are not huge differences between you that could stop you from achieving what they have achieved. Again, just make sure that you actually want to achieve some of these things, and that you're not merely trying to "catch up" to them to suit a false sense of self.

Finding common ground with your friends is important when it comes to being able to share their success.
Finding common ground with your friends is important when it comes to being able to share their success.

8) Be Open to Learning.

If your friend has something that you genuinely, truly are aiming to attain (and weren't just conditioned to want), and you feel a bit frustrated because things are slow-going, be humble enough to ask for advice. Be open to learning how they accomplished the goal that you have in common.

This is the opposite of jealousy in a lot of ways. Jealousy doesn't want to admit its flaws and is afraid to ask for help. Try to look past your jealousy and transmute it into curiosity.

9) Remind Yourself That Life Is Full of Change.

You and your friends are going to be constantly advancing on your respective life paths. Things will change and your friends will probably have new careers, new relationships, and new achievements ahead of them.

It's just something that you're going to have to get used to. These accomplishments--especially the material ones--are fleeting, though. Eventually, you and your friends are going to lose everything that you gained in life once you shove off this mortal coil! So don't take it too seriously.

Let's Turn It Around

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© 2018 Jorge Vamos

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