How to Cope with Jealousy and Envy

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To most people, jealousy and envy have similar meanings and stem from similar emotions. Both can be destructive to personal relationships and step from a need or desire. However, both emotions are destructive in different ways, even though they share the same origin—relationships. To deal with these emotions, or to know someone who is dealing with them, can be stressful and worrisome, you should understand the roots and distinctions of these two terms.

To understand the differences between jealousy and envy, whether they are your feelings or someone else’s, you must understand the desire behind the feeling. The key distinction between the two is that envy comes from a desire to be like someone and jealousy is the desire to be with someone. Envying someone is a relationship between two people, in which a person wishes to possess a quality or item that the other person has. For example, if your best friend shows hostility towards you each time the subject of your new boyfriend is brought up, she might be envious of your relationship, in which she would want one herself. She desires to be like you, or at least possess the same qualities of you.

The desire to be with someone involves a relationship between three people. In this scenario, one person might feel left out or excluded when the second and third person are together. The jealous individual might want the second person to themselves, whether in the form of a romantic relationship or friendship. For example, if your friend is showing hostility towards you because she wants to spend more time with you, rather than you spend more time with your new boyfriend, she is probably showing jealousy.

Now that you have a better knowledge of jealousy and envy, you can analyze how these emotions can be destructive. In terms of envy, a relationship between two people, one person shows hostility or aggression only towards you or vice versa. This can be especially upsetting because the person is showing negative emotions towards you, it is easy to feel guilty or concerned. Going back to the previous example, your friend might feel the need to sabotage your relationship inadvertently. In the context of jealousy, aggression is extended towards the third person, or your boyfriend, and generally the situation you are in. Jealousy directed at the third person might be easier to deal with because the negative emotions are not directed at you. For instance, if your friend shows hatred towards your new boyfriend and kindness towards you, this might be easier on you, emotionally, but it can still be uncomfortable.

If your friend is showing either envy or jealousy, it is best to help them with these emotions, which are very normal for anyone in close relationships. If your friend is envious of you, it is normal to want to downplay your relationship, your new car, or whatever it is that is making them envy you. However, this does not have to be the solution. A good way to ease your friend’s concerns while still being happy about your love life is to balance expressing the good and bad qualities of your relationship. You can share your concerns about your new boyfriend, and she might share hers, also allowing you two to bond. If you find your friend showing jealousy, you should try to reassure the them of their importance to you. You do not want to have to choose between alienating your friend or your new boyfriend but having two close relationships might make one or the other feel jealous. It is best to let your person know they continue to be an important part of your life and building relationships with other people will not change that.

Dealing with someone who is jealous or envious of you is not easy, and you might be compelled to feel guilty, even though you have not done anything wrong. In this situation, it is best to empathize with the individual, and understand the root of their emotions. What you do not want is a destructive relationship between you and your friend, so you will do whatever it takes to accommodate to them. But the solution to this is not to keep our personal lives secret, but to be more aware of their feelings and inform them that you are serious about maintaining your friendship with the individual.

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