“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”Robert A. Heinlein
Are you getting weird, insecure vibes from one of your friends or coworkers?
Apparently, they portray themselves as friendly, well-wishing people but something seems off about them. You find it hard to buy into their friendly demeanor.
They try to hide the insecurity they have from you behind a friendly mask, in which 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 major signs of jealous people. For the sake of keeping things organized and to the point, I’ve written a separate, much more 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 (link at the end of this article).
One thing to keep in mind as we look into these signs is that the purpose of this is awareness, not to pass harsh judgment toward 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 hearing about others’ success reminds them of their own weaknesses or failures, it produces inner discomfort to the point that they can’t bear to even listen to what the other person has to say.
Instead of being happy and curious about others’ success, their thoughts are directed toward their own shortcomings.
2. They 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. They 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 backs, 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 faces.
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 sincerity.
5. Jealous People Try to One up on You
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 their experiences, knowledge, and achievements are superior to everyone else’s.
6. They Try To Take 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 pretend 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 by 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 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 them.
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. They 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. They 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 point out 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:
- “Temporary success”
- “Will not go too far”
- “Too young to know about real success”
- “Too young to know what life is really about”
- “Unfair advantage”
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. They are Nosy as Hell!
You’ve clearly captured their attention and their envy feeds their curiosity about you. They want to know what you’re up to. Subconsciously they expect to hear a not-so-happy or exciting update from you so it makes them feel okay about themselves.
Some people find relief in others’ pain and struggles because it’s reassuring for them that they are not the only ones suffering in life. It’s a sad philosophy but that is how a lot of us operate psychologically.
Read the 8-step guide on How to Deal with Nosy People HERE
12. They Humiliate You in Front of Others
If we take a deeper look, in most scenarios a jealous person’s insecurity stems from the social standing of their peer/friend/relative. They can’t stand someone else getting more attention, praise, or respect than them.
Seeing you doing well socially triggers deep insecurity within them. In their mind, it threatens their worth and value. Just your presence can feel threatening to them in terms of social dynamics.
As a reaction, they’ll find ways and opportunities to humiliate you in front of others.
Now, humiliation might seem like a big dramatic word, and not every jealous person does it openly. Some do it subtly and indirectly.
They might use passive-aggressive remarks against you in front of others, or manipulate others against you in very subtle ways so that they don’t look bad doing it.
13. Worst Case Scenario – They Try To Sabotage You
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 it, 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.