If someone displays these 7 behaviors, they’re secretly envious of you

Ever get the vibe that someone might be eyeing your success with a tinge of green? 

If so, you’re not alone. 

It’s actually pretty common for people to be really jealous when others share wins. 

And it’s not always conscious. 

Truth is, envy is like that shady friend who hangs around in the corner while everyone else is dancing. 

People might not recognize what they’re feeling as jealousy at first. You might also have no idea that their actions are not as chill as it seems. 

Envy doesn’t come with flashing neon lights. 

It hangs in the background, sneaking destruction in. 

Wanna know if someone in your inner circle is secretly causing trouble because of their envy?

Well, if someone is secretly envious…

1) They excessively criticize you

When someone goes out of their way to constantly criticize you, especially without a constructive reason, it might be a way for them to cope with their own insecurities. 

It’s like they’re trying to level the playing field by diminishing your accomplishments or pointing out your flaws. 

You see, envy is a tricky emotion. 

People are uncomfortable admitting that they feel this way, even to themselves. 

So, instead of saying they wish they could be more like you or have what you have, they put whatever they envy about you in a negative light. 

Sometimes it’s subtle. You might not even notice it at first. 

You could even think there’s truth in what they say. 

Here’s something I go through:

After quitting my 9 – 5 and diving into the freelance world full-time, I constantly have to hear that I don’t have a real job. 

At first, I felt really bummed about this. 

I think what I do is important in its own way, and I’m grateful that I can earn money while having the freedom to spend time with my kids. 

But constantly hearing that I’m just a housewife or that I sit around doing nothing all day while other people do mentally and physically draining stuff got to me at some point. 

No one acknowledges that I pay household bills or show growth in what I do. 

Like I said, it bothered me. 

But then I realized that the people saying these things are just envious

Listening closely, I could gather that they wish they could work from home too or have their own business. 

Criticizing what I do is just easier than admitting they’re unhappy doing what they do, but too scared to try something else – like I did. 

When people start downplaying your accomplishments, you need to stand strong and focus on what you think about them. 

In the end, your opinion on what you achieve is what matters. 

2) They give you backhanded compliments

When they’re not outright criticizing you, envious people could be giving you compliments – but there’s a twist. 

On the surface, it might seem like a positive remark, but what they say will carry a subtle, often snarky, undertone. 

Backhanded compliments usually stem from a mix of admiration and envy. 

The person giving them may genuinely look up to you but still feel the need to undermine you so they feel better about themselves.

A backhanded compliment can sound something like this: 

“You’re so lucky you have good genetics. My body will never look the same after having kids!”

“You’re so brave going out in that outfit. I could never pull it off.”

“I’d give anything to have as much free time as you for hobbies. Unfortunately, I have to work for a living.”

Notice the pattern?

While the compliment stands, the person giving it refuses to admit that whatever you achieved or do is because of talent, hard work, or choices. 

On the flip side, if someone secretly envies you, there’s a chance that…

3) They shower you with flattery

Many people use exaggerated flattery to mask envy. 

I know it might seem contradictory at first. How can getting genuine compliments and praise be a sign of jealousy, right?

Truth is, people use this all the time to shift the focus from them.

Especially if they feel inadequate or insecure. 

Excessively praising someone else is also a way to maintain a facade of support and friendliness while harboring negative feelings. 

Sure, some people could truly compliment you a lot. But if it seems a little forced or insincere, it’s a red flag. 

4) They’re competitive

Competitiveness isn’t necessarily a sign of envy. A little healthy competition has never done any harm.

But if someone always tries to outdo you, it could be a sign of envy. 

This can take many forms. And sometimes, people may not even be aware of their competitiveness or the envy driving it. 

Let’s say you have a friend named Larry. Every time you share something – whether it’s an accomplishment or story, Larry has a better version. 

You saved enough money to build an outdoor deck? Well, Larry recently added a deck and a swimming pool. 

You went on an exciting 7-day tour? Well, Larry regularly backpacks for two or more weeks to enjoy the full experience. 

You’re excited about a marathon you recently completed? Well, Larry does ultra-marathons as a hobby. 

Someone who envies you might also constantly play the comparison game or have a hard time being happy when you succeed. 

If they’re excessively competitive, they could even try to sabotage your opportunities or efforts. 

Healthy competition encourages growth and improvement. If someone’s sole purpose is to bring you down, they’re likely fueled by envy. 

5) Their mood changes when you succeed

You should first know that emotions are complex. Mood changes can happen for many reasons. 

But, if you consistently notice a shift in someone’s demeanor when you share positive news, observing their general behavior toward you is worth doing.

The thing is, envy often lurks in the shadows. Some people might not seem envious at first, but your success could trigger their feelings of inadequacy. 

You know those moments when you’re genuinely excited to share some good news, and instead of the expected high-fives and cheers, there’s a vibe change? 

That’s what I’m talking about. 

It’s like your success becomes a bitter pill to swallow. 

Envious people will struggle to show happiness for your accomplishment. Or if they do, it will be noticeably insincere. 

There’s also a chance that…

6) They withdraw or distance themselves completely

Envy isn’t an easy emotion to confront. When it creeps in, some people might choose to create space to cope. 

It’s like they’ve crossed into an uneasy territory.

You could notice this as them canceling plans, socializing with you less, or a reluctance to engage in conversations about your success. 

Sure, people can withdraw for many reasons. It’s not always jealousy. 

But if you notice a pattern where your achievements lead to increased distance, this might be the reason.

7) They imitate your choices

A subtle, yet not-so-subtle, sign of envy is when someone copies you. And while this isn’t inherently negative, context matters. 

You see, envy usually stems from insecurities or a desire to be like or have what someone else has. 

So, in an attempt to level the playing field or strip you of your uniqueness, someone could unconsciously copy your clothing style, lifestyle choices, hobbies, or career. 

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re great at creating unique macrame pieces. 

An envious person might start to imitate your work not because they have a deep passion like you but because they want to compete or be seen as similar. 

Someone could also adopt your mannerisms, use similar phrases, or even try to befriend your friends. 

Recognizing imitation as jealousy can be difficult. 

I’d say the best way to differentiate between admiration and envy is to determine if someone has a genuine interest or if it’s more about mirroring your success. 

The latter can make people go to extremes to be you or simply destroy you. 

And what always gets me, is that jealousy can be a great motivator. Honestly. 

If you find yourself envious of someone, use their success as inspiration. 

This way, you steer clear of the negative and get what you desire.

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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