Life is tough, so we do all that we can to enjoy the good times. We also expect the people in our inner circle will be happy for our success.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. But what do you do when your friends don’t seem to be very thrilled at your good news?

Here are some signs that your friend (or family member) is jealous of you – along with tips for handling the situation.

Debbie Downer

You are bubbling with excitement after your boyfriend finally pops the question.  You can’t wait to tell everyone until suddenly that one friend says something like: “That’s great. He’s divorced, though, right?  Just make sure he really wants a commitment. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

Fading Away

Now that you got that hard-earned promotion, has one of your friends become increasingly distant?  Have they had a million excuses for not wanting to hang out?  If so, they might be avoiding you so they won’t have to deal with how unhappy they are in their own life.

Positively Negative Compliments

Imagine you’ve lost a lot of weight. You go out shopping and one of your girlfriends says, “It’s so great that you can shop in the regular sizes now… of course, it helps that you had tapeworm and could afford a personal trainer.  The rest of us just have to work hard.”  This is a real sign of deep jealousy since they are implying that you don’t deserve or didn’t earn your success.

Tough Love

Sometimes, we need a reality check from our friends but there are other times when it’s just not necessary.  The difference is that a friend who truly cares about your well-being is going to have encouraging and uplifting things to say to balance out their tough love. A person is being harmful (and jealous) if they just tear you and your goals down and seek out ways to prove that your situation is hopeless.

How to Handle It

First things first, review all of the times when you feel like you might have encountered jealous and ask yourself if you’ve been insensitive in anyway.  Maybe you could have bragged a little less about that raise when your friend has been unemployed for months. You may find that you brought some of those responses on yourself.

Second, you could talk to your friend.  Find time when you aren’t rushed and really give them an opportunity to open up.  When you bring up examples, try to be as neutral and non-accusatory as possible.  Also, when they explain their reasons for feeling how they feel, don’t be defensive –  just listen and be supportive.

Lastly, be willing to let go if your friend apologizes. Once you get past it, this will be just one more thing that makes your friendship strong.  Letting go can also mean accepting that you might have to cut a friend loose.  If they continue to make your feel uncomfortable about your happiness, you may have to keep your distance.