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11 Major Signs Of Jealous & Insecure People

“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”

Robert A. Heinlein

Jealousy is usually very easy to spot. You just notice the weird vibe someone is giving off and know when someone is jealous of you.

But sometimes, it can be a bit difficult to spot especially when someone is hiding their envy behind a friendly mask.

They might portray themselves as well-wishers but internally they feel more content to see you fall than to see you rise.

In that case, it becomes important to spot the hidden emotions of jealousy so that you can protect yourself from their negative influence.

In this quick guide, we’ll look at the 11 major signs of jealous people. For the sake of keeping things organized and to the point, I’ve written a separate, much detailed guide on how exactly to deal with jealous and envious people, in which we will take an in-depth look into the psychology of jealousy, and how to handle such uncomfortable interactions effectively

You can check out that guide after this article. I’ll leave the link at the bottom.

One thing to keep in mind as we look into these 11 signs is that the purpose of this is awareness, not to pass harsh judgment towards someone or to say that every single jealous person would have the same characteristics.

There are varying degrees of jealousy and envy, ranging from someone who is an overall good-natured person feeling a bit insecure, to someone who holds animosity, grudge, and hate.

1. They Indirectly Cut You Off & Change The Topic

One of the very subtle signs of jealousy is to cut people off when they try to talk about their achievements and success, or just plainly ignore what is being said and move on with another topic of conversation.

Listening to someone talk about their achievements can trigger a jealous person’s insecurities and remind them of their own inadequacies. Things that they were not able to do.

Essentially, they are cutting you off or changing the topic not to escape the conversation. They are doing this to escape themselves.

Since listening about other’s success reminds them of their own weaknesses or failures, it produces inner discomfort to the point that the can’t bear to even listen to the other person. 

Instead of being happy and curious about the other person’s success, their thoughts are directed towards their own shortcomings.

2. Show Fake Appreciation

Some people are good at hiding their emotions. They might apparently show appreciation and excitement, but you can see that something is off with them.

Their expressions don’t seem genuine and their words don’t match their body language. They might show fake appreciation in a gathering where other people are congratulating you for your achievements because they don’t want to be the odd one out. 

3. Talk Behind Your Back

As soon as you leave the gathering, the one who showed fake appreciation in front of you, starts to talk behind your back and discuss your flaws and weaknesses with other people.  You only get to know this later on through someone who heard their gossip about you.

As a precaution, if you find someone who always talks behind people’s back, but when they are in the presence of those same people, they portray themselves as well-wishers and act “nice” and “sweet”, then keep a distance from them.

There’s a good chance they might talk behind your back as well. It’s nothing to do with you. It’s just their habit, and they do it to most people they encounter.

4. Say Subtle Passive-Aggressive & Toxic Comments

Since jealous people can’t show their inner animosity and jealousy directly, they often resort to passing indirect, passive-aggressive comments while having a smile on their face. 

Indirectly expressing their emotions in such toxic ways can temporarily act as a catharsis for them. Since they are bottling up so much negativity within themselves, they have to let it out somehow.

However, this habit of passing passive-aggressive and cunning comments comes at a cost of shallow, unstable relations with people and loss of trustworthiness. It’s almost impossible to make deeply rich relations without genuinity and sincerity.

5. Boast About Their Own Achievements & Successes

If someone always starts boasting about their own successes and worth whenever they hear about other people’s achievements, they probably have personal insecurities about their worth and value. 

Upon hearing about other people’s qualities and success, they subconsciously feel as if their own worth is being threatened by someone who could be better than them.

In their minds, they must always remain on top and be better than most people to be able to feel good about themselves and be satisfied with their worth. They believe as if their experiences, knowledge, and achievements are superior to everyone else’s.

6. They Try To Take Some Credit In Your Success

There are some people who will show appreciation towards your progress, but at the same time, they’ll try to get some credit for themselves. They’ll portray as if they played a major role in your success and accomplishment.

They’ll tell you things like:

“I told you, this is the way to go.”

“I always knew you would make it.”

“I remember the time when you came to me for XYZ favor.”

Now, such statements can also be made my genuinely caring people who really believe in you and care for you, those who really are your well-wishers. So don’t get it mixed up with them.

You’ll know intuitively who is being genuine and who’s not.

7. They Might Ask You Uncomfortable, Scrutinizing Questions

There is a difference between asking about a person’s accomplishments, and scrutinizing them. Both have very different undertones to it.

Initially, you might feel as if the person is genuinely curious to know about your experiences. But as the conversation progresses, your excitement to tell about yourself turns into an uncomfortable interaction, by the end of which you might feel a bit ungrounded or even have doubts about yourself because of their scrutinizing questions.

The whole point of asking such scrutinizing and uncomfortable questions is to shake the other person’s confidence. Jealous people can’t stand to see self-assured, confident people.

8. Try To Compete With You And Do Whatever You Are Doing

Some people don’t show any apparent expressions of jealousy when you meet them in person. But behind the scenes, they keep an eye on your progress and try to compete with you. 

You might see them doing similar things soon after you’ve done it. 

They’ll buy similar material things just a few days after you’ve posted it on your social media. 

They’ll get into similar courses and programs as you did to excel in your profession. 

They might even take the same professional route as you did and take the same initiative as you.

9. Undermine Your Progress & Achievements

Downplaying is the cheapest and most obvious trick a jealous person could play. 

As soon as you tell them something good about yourself, or even if someone else mentions something good about you, they’ll immediately give a cunning expression and say something negative.

To downplay your success and good qualities, they might pin-point certain flaws and weaknesses or they might just compare you with someone who is doing much better than you.

They usually dismiss the other person’s success by calling it:

  • “Luck”
  • “Temporary success”
  • “Will not go too far”
  • “Too young to know about real success”
  • “Too young to know what life is really about”
  • “Privileged”
  • “Unfair advantage”

Etc, etc.

10. Try To Demotivate You

When you share your future plans, intentions, and the initiative you wish to take with a jealous person, they’ll usually try to demotivate you by showing you the negative side of things.

They’ll tell you:

  • “How hard it is to do that”
  • “That’s not for everybody”
  • “I too had the opportunity, but I chose not to do it”
  • “That’s just wishful thinking, practical life is different”
  • “You don’t have enough knowledge or skill to succeed in that”
  • “That will require you to have lots of resources to be able to start”
  • “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
  • “Why don’t you do XYZ instead?

Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul.

John Dryden

11. Worst Case Scenario – They Try To Take Your Down & Off Your Track

The worst and most severe case of jealousy is when the jealous person tries his best to get the other person off their track. They’ll go the extra mile and put in a lot of effort to bring someone down.

This is sociopathic behavior. Someone who poses to be an enemy and a potential threat to someone’s progress, success, and happiness. 

In such cases, it is crucial to keep a lot of distance from such people and involve someone in this scenario who is sincerely a well-wisher and that can help against the jealous person’s devious plans.

How To Deal With Jealous People

No matter how much we try to avoid, we will encounter some form of jealous people at some point, and interacting with them can often be quite awkward and uncomfortable.

To learn to deal with jealous people, check out a complete guide on How To Deal With Jealous People in which we’ll look into 8 strategies to handle jealousy effectively.

A Complete Guide on How To Deal With Jealous People (Based on Psychology)

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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. This is so informative and hit the nail on the head. I had a frenemy try to destroy me out of a severe case of envy. I didn’t know he was like that early on in our friendship but as time went on he began trying to put me down, name calling, and almost trying to devalue me. Eventually he pick a petty argument with me when he knew I was dealing with my fathers death as a means to slander my reputation and humiliate me in front of my family. This person was actually trying to manipulate me into thinking I’m worthless and used every crazy tactic possible to take me down. I didn’t realize it but this guy was obsessed with me and did not want to see me happy. He even started cyber-bullying me and trying to turn people I don’t know against me. I realized what the problem was and I was able to reverse the damage but it was devastating. It did bother me in the beginning though cause I couldn’t understand what I did to this guy. It was like he hated me for no apparent reason. The drama went from one extreme to the other. However when I learned what was really going on I realized how pathetic he was and was able to restore my life.

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Christopher,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with envy. I’m sorry for what you had to go through with that so-called “friend”. I’m really glad that you dealt with it and restored your life. People like that are sent in our lives to teach us some extremely valuable and life-long lessons which push us to grow stronger.
      The wisdom you must’ve gathered by dealing with that jealous fellow will serve you immensely down the road. Keep going strong, my friend.

  2. Ekon

    You’re so insightful, have so much real stuff to bring to the table. I hope that more people read this and get what I got from it, chills.

  3. DTruth

    Wow! You really hit the nail on the head. It’s truly exhausting having to deal with such people. However, I’m in a tough position where many, many long time friends and even family display this type of behaviour, going as far as trying to stop me from succeeding. I’ve tried downplaying my achievements and finally made the decision not to talk about my goals, success, etc. However, they now go to great lengths to find out information about me and my projects. Nothing seems to be working. I actually found your article tonight, after having a damaging talk with my older sister. I don’t react to her jabs, but she does this consistently, every single day. I think she has even hacked into my email to find out exactly what it is that I am doing / projects I’m working on. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Dtruth,

      Your situation is definitely not an easy one, I can understand what you are going through. Under such circumstances, I would suggest that you keep your privacy and cyber-security at a high priority. Dealing with people who are jealous to this extent can cause some serious issues so it’s better that you keep enough distance to make sure of your safety and security, online and offline, both. Maybe you’d want to look into changing all the passwords or creating new social accounts while keeping them out of your contact list.

  4. VJ Hatten

    This article resonates with me, as I continue to maintain relationship with a “friend” of over 50 years. I’m expected to compliment everything in her life, but if I share anything that is good happening in mine, there is the “silent treatment”. It seems ridiculous to me, as we are both grandmothers at this point in life, and I am weary of keeping up with dropped text conversations and being ignored, sometimes for days, if I write news about my family in reply to hers; how does one continue to deal?

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan


      I totally relate to your situation as I too have had several people in my life who responded the same way when I told them any good thing or progress happening in my own life. There is a deep vibe of insecurity and jealousy that could be felt miles away. Here’s how I personally deal with such displays of jealousy:

      1) I’ve stopped talking about my own life as I’ve recognized their behavioral pattern towards this.

      2) I give them a listening ear instead out of sheer generosity but internally I’ve distanced myself from them mentally and emotionally, and even overall, I distance myself in terms of contact and communication where I can.

      3) I’ve also lowered my expectations from them as it’s hard to have a rich relation or deep friendship with such people.

      4) At the same time, I’ve also experienced with certain people that just by avoiding to share my news/progress, it kinda fixed the relation between us. They have nothing to be jealous of or feel insecure about and so they behave warm and friendly towards me.
      Sometimes you’ve got to go with whatever works you know. Can’t always have it all 🙂

      Everyone has their flaws and weaknesses, if the other person has many other great qualities, we can sometimes put up with the other not-so-good qualities by fixing a couple of things here and there in the relation. But if you find the jealousy to be deep-rooted to the point of animosity, then it might be better to distance yourself a bit for the sake of your own mental and emotional well-being.

      Additionally, check out this in-depth guide on
      How to Deal with Jealous People

      Hope this helps 🙂

  5. ariana

    how do you get rid ex facebook friend that is insulting you and backstabbing you and insulting you in spreading false ideas and gossip about you this so called was my friend for 12 years all a lie and started gaslighting me in email then i found he never liked me person all a lie then more drama ive reported the profile and being insulted for being for you and what you belive in so wrong what i choose to do my life is up to me and people should hate on others for being goth or what they choose to belive in faith or what do make them happy this man has turned like a few exs in past one i had almost press charges on ive reported blocked for gaslighting any help to make sure he stays gone would help .

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Ariana,

      If that person is really spreading false information about you that is damaging your social image and affecting your life, you should definitely seek help from authorities if there are effective laws and some kind of support regarding this where you live.
      Else you can try talking directly to that guy in a calm and respectable manner and see what issues he has without. Try sorting it out with him and see if he comes to better terms with you. That would be the best-case scenario.
      Additionally, you can involve a 3 person in this, someone who is a mutual friend between both of you and someone whom you can trust. He/she can try to mediate things between you two.

  6. Theresa

    So how should I feel / react when my boyfriend accepts flirtatious behaviour from other women and sends them texts telling them they are perfect and beautiful when he has never once texted or said this to me?

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Theresa,

      If your partner is clearly displaying flirtatious behavior towards other women and send them messages commenting on their physical appearance, I wouldn’t consider it as a “jealousy issue” with you. The fact that you googled and came to this article, I’m guessing that you were doubting yourself.

      I would strongly suggest that you sit and talk to him regarding how you feel about his behavior and draw some clear boundaries in your relationship, while also setting clear consequences in case those boundaries are violated.

      I recently published an in-depth guide on setting boundaries in relationships that’ll give you a clear understanding of how you can set relationship boundaries. You should check it out below:
      How To Set Healthy Boundaries In A Relationship – In-Depth Guide

  7. Mary Turnage

    I don’t know if it is jealousy or what. This guy I work with calls us cousins, but we are really not. We grew up in the same community, like down the road, but country area that was stretched. He is my oldest brother classmate and I was like four years behind him. I got a job at the school he was working to four years ago, and from the bat, words then sour words,. After that incident, we started back talking, sometimes joking, but still he finds space to come at me in a negative way. To shorten this four year old story, just recently one of the teachers, by the way I am a teacher assistant and he is a Janiter. but, one of our staff got sick and I have been covering for her, The first day he busted in the classroom and started telling the children to wipe off their feet when they came off the playgreound. The next day he comes back in and started omplaing..(my you), all the while I’m laughing and kidding with him,brush it off. The next day he comes in with the same thing fussing and said because the classroom was left in a mess. I’m outside he throws off at me. I try to tell him about a rat in the break room, brushed me off. Today, kids outside eating, decided to put their trash in the outside trash. He comes out and say I need to put a trash can out so they could put their trash in it.(another thing, I take these children out all the time when I am not coving for a teacher), He put certain trash bags for lunch because due to the COV-19, the kids has been eating in classrooms, and that’s why he had to put bigger bags in the trashcan, While I was sitting out with the kids, he finds me and say put a trash can out, never tell the regular teacher. I said they already threw it away, he had the audacity to say, no…don’t put it in those trash can because I have these to put trash in it, we don’t put food in those trashcans. Mind you…food from teachers and everyone throws trash in the trashcan. I told him Mr. D you bothering me now….and shook my head…I mean continuously find something to throw at me. So what is it, also he tries to arouse me to anger sometimes and I just laugh it off…is it jealousy, but why…I don’t know.

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Mary,

      Hope you’re well. Often times there is no apparent logical reasoning behind jealousy and insecurity other than the fact that the jealous/insecure individual might have some issues internally, whether it be emotional or psychological.

      It’s a good thing that you confronted him, and that is what you must do from now on. Often people get away with their toxic behaviors because we keep letting them. Confronting and addressing the matter head-on each time they display such behaviors of jealousy, can help big time in breaking their pattern of behavior with you.

  8. Izzi Lagares

    I’ve been dealing with jealous people my whole life, but mostly at this program i am at now. There’s this girl who will constantly bring me down by saying things she knows will get under my skin. She’ll call me “attention seeker” and other words to get a reaction out of me. And when she knows i feel upset about it, she feels better about it. Then she’ll expect me to say sorry like i did something wrong, and when i confront her, she get’s mad, and the jealously continues. The thing i don’t understand is why be jealous when you can create your own success. People need to find the anger that’s making them mad and deal with it because being jealous doesn’t do anything for you.

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Izzi,

      That’s quite relatable. I would recommend that you create distance and set some boundaries. You don’t have to tolerate such toxicity. One of the things you could try is to stop giving her any sort of reactions (which she seeks from you). Notice for a few weeks if her jealous and toxic behavior has toned down a bit.

      To be honest, such people need mental, emotional, and most importantly, spiritual healing, and unless they decide to work on themselves and heal themselves, no one can do that for them. They are responsible for their own state of being, whether it be a joyous, peaceful state, or being miserable while staying in a state of jealousy and toxicity.

      You don’t have to associate with them. Their behavior is only a reflection of their inner state of being. They don’t have a problem with you, they have a major problem with themselves that they project on to other people as an escape.

  9. Sally

    This is an excellent article that largely describes characteristics typical of a narcissist. It is nearly impossible to have a mature relationship with someone who harbors envy and jealousy, no matter who they are. This article helps to identify odd behavior in certain relationships that never fail to make me uncomfortable and mistrustful of people posturing as friends. No, they’re self-absorbed, arrogant, conceited, specious phonies who are indeed insecure to the extreme of being covertly vindictive if not dangerous.

    1. Ahmed Faraz Khan

      Hey Sally, thank you for the generous comment. Yes, it’s quite difficult to maintain a healthy and mature relationship with such people. You’re always walking on eggshells, not knowing what to say and what not to because of their unpredictable insecurity. I have a guide in which I’ve discussed the psychology behind jealousy and how to deal with jealous people. You might find it useful in dealing with them.
      Check it out:

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