Working on your goals takes sustained effort and commitment.

You’re out there carefully choosing how you spend your time, you’re saying “NO” to invitations, requests and social events and you’re pretty much grinding every day.

And things finally started looking better for you.

But your once good friend or co-worker starts treating you differently. You are not too sure what’s causing their change in behavior and you begin to wonder if it’s your fault.

But you eventually find out that they’re jealous.

They’re envious of the success you’re having and they’re not happy that you’re stealing the spot light. And that’s not all. Some friends or co-workers will start setting you up. They want to see you fail and crumble in front of everyone. They want to see that happen on a big scale. They won’t be satisfied with a small fail.

And that’s the only way they’ll feel better.

Dealing with jealous friends or co-workers is perhaps one of the most unpleasant things to have to do. But it’s an issue that you must address if you want to avoid immediate and long-term friction (and possibly further repercussions) with your jealous friend or co-worker.

Here are my top tips for dealing with jealousy.

But first, what are the signs?

1. Signs of Jealousy

People display jealousy in different ways.

Jealous people might give you the silent treatment. They don’t respond to your requests or questions right away. They don’t talk to you for a few days. And they ignore you at work or at a social event. They’re trying to tell you that they’re not too happy you’re there.

If you notice these things, and you find yourself trying to rationalize their behavior, then you’re right to believe that they’re probably acting on their jealousy (that’s if you already suspect that they’re jealous of you.)

Other sign of jealousy include insults. So they might jab you here and there with a few quick and indirect insults. But it might not be too apparent, at first. That’s because jealous people (and especially those who are good at being jealous) usually throw their insults at you in the form of a joke. They use humor to disarm you so that they can take a good shot at you.

Be attentive and don’t play along if you suspect they’re doing this with bad intentions.

The worst form of jealousy is when your friend or co-worker tries to set you up. And you may have already noticed that.

For example, your friend or co-worker leaves you waiting on them when they promised to meet you at a certain time. That’s harmless but it’s sign that they’re acting on their jealousy. On other occasions, they might intentionally leave you out of important events and then pretend they didn’t know you weren’t informed about such events.

These things can escalate further. They start harmlessly but it can grow into a real problem. They’ll usually test how far they can go and they will go for small set-ups before they start setting you up for bigger fails. So be careful.

2. Unfriend Them

Jealousy is poisonous and it will interfere with your livelihood, mood and progress.

It’s unhealthy.

Unfortunately, jealousy is not treatable. You may treat it in yourself if you genuinely want to cure yourself of it, but it’s hard to treat it in others; in my experience.

And it’s hard because if you want to confront your friend or co-worker, they’re going to deny it. They’ll say something like:

How can I be jealous of you? Seriously? Why would I even?

You also can’t treat it by giving the jealous person what they want…because what they want is for you to not succeed. And no matter what you do to appease them, they’ll always be jealous. It’s a battle you will never win.

And since it’s very hard to treat it in others, you’re much better off unfriending that friend or co-worker. And that means not talking to them, hanging out with them, or even responding to them (unless of course it’s work related). Keep your interaction with them to a minimum and try as much as possible to avoid it.

Now, I know unfriending someone you consider a friend is hard. But if you don’t, that person will gradually start to bite.

3. Tell Them

If you must be in contact with a jealous person because of a job or a business contract, then you have to take action and neutralize the situation.

You have to start off by calling a spade a spade.

Begin by identifying to that person what they’re doing that’s directly affecting you and what exactly about their behavior you’re not okay with.

You can assertively say the following:

  1. “I am not sure why you’re acting so awkwardly towards me lately. It’s beginning to bother me and interfere with my work.”
  2. “Could you please stop making these jokes? They’re really annoying. I don’t like you to direct them at me.”
  3. “You are being passive-aggressive in your interaction with me. I expect you to treat me respectfully in every interaction.”

There are of course a ton of things you could say. It’s all situational but you have to be assertive. You have to say it with your attitude more than you do with your words. You want to ensure that the person you’re speaking with understands that their behavior is unacceptable and that you’re not going to tolerate it.

4. Be Firm

When you stand up for yourself and express to the person how their behavior makes you feel, be short and decisive.

Don’t tell them a novel that they can latch unto and prolong the conversation.

More often that not, being firm and to the point is enough to get the message across. Your objective is to alert them that you’re not okay with their behavior. You’re not there to discuss with them every detail.

Remember, you don’t have to tolerate bullying, disrespectful behavior, or people that directly or indirectly seek to embarrass you. Stand up for yourself or avoid that person if you don’t have to a business or a professional relationship with them.

Good luck!