10 Subtle Signs Someone Is Jealous of You (and You Don’t Even Realize It)

Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

William Shakespeare described jealousy as a ‘green-eyed monster’, and for good reason. Jealousy ruins friendships and intimate relationships. It leaves the jealous unfulfilled with their life and resentful towards others.

Jealousy is coveting things other people have; things you think you deserve. The fact others have these things makes your life worse. It can also stem from a fear of losing something or someone.

People can be jealous of anything, including lifestyle, material things, or family relationships. It stems from low self-esteem, a fear of abandonment, or insecurity.

Some signs of jealousy are blatantly obvious, but what are the subtle signs someone is jealous of you?

“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.”

Margaret Atwood

10 Subtle Signs Someone Is Jealous of You

1. They are there for you when you’re down but vanish when you succeed

“The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.”

Bette Midler

One of the more subtle signs someone is jealous of you is how they’re always around when you’re down and depressed, but disappear when you’re happy. Wallowing in your despair lifts them up. When you’re not doing well, they’re happy.

2. They tell you how lucky you are for all your success

“What is jealousy but a reflection of your own failures?”

Michael Connelly

If they stick around when you’re winning, they’ll put your success down to luck or others. I recall a colleague saying to another, “You’re so lucky being that thin. It must be your genes.” The other colleague replied that no, it was exercise and healthy eating.

Envious people never credit success to effort or sacrifice. Your parents enabled you, you had a wonderful school, or the manager likes you.

3. They don’t respond to news you’ve made public

“Few men have the natural strength to honor a friend’s success without envy.”


Silence can be a subtle sign that someone is jealous of you. Have you posted something newsworthy on social media and this person hasn’t responded? This is a brilliant passive-aggressive approach, because the jealous person can say you are overreacting. They were just busy, and the world doesn’t revolve around you.

4. They are nit-picky about you

“Jealousy is the fear of comparison.”

Max Frisch

Most jealous types won’t come out and directly criticize you. However, they use subtle forms of criticism, such as nitpicking or questioning your decisions. They’ll cloak this nitpicking by saying they’re only trying to help you make the best of your life, or, if they didn’t tell you—who would?

5. They give you poor advice and push you in the wrong direction

“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”

Sean Covey

One of the more sneaky signs someone is jealous of you is giving the wrong advice. Jealous types want you to fail, so they’ll do everything they can to sabotage your efforts. Sure, they’ll act like they have your best interests at heart, but secretly they’re hoping for failure.

6. They change abruptly when you tell them about a new achievement

“When you do well, everybody’s after you, and sometimes the motives are legitimate, and sometimes it’s envy and jealousy.”

Robert Kraft

Watch out for a sudden shift in behavior after you’ve delivered your good news. This is a subtle but significant sign of jealousy. This is especially obvious if the jealous person was supportive beforehand. Now, they are hostile, cold, and absent.

7. They are friendly with you on a one-to-one basis, but off with you when you’re with people

“Jealousy is such a waste of time because you’re jealous of them, and they go about their lives and have a wonderful time, so what’s the point?”

Joy Behar

This is another form of undermining you. Be wary of those people that are pally and friendly with you when you are alone with them, but then tell jokes or criticize you as soon as you’re with a group.

8. They don’t include you in social events

“Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.”

Erica Jong

We all want to belong, and being left out can be hurtful. Jealous individuals achieve two things when they deliberately leave you out. It gives them the space to undermine you behind their back, and the knowledge you’ll be upset when you find out about the exclusion.

9. They ask leading questions about you to others

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.”

William Penn

The way we word a question can provoke a certain response. One subtle sign of jealousy is asking leading questions. For example:

Do you think Tom is a bit too old for that style of beard?” or, “Does it annoy you that Stacy always leaves work early?

This is a conspiratorial way of getting others to think about you negatively.

10. They secretly copy you

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can’t have that they don’t think for a second about whether they really want it.”

Lionel Shriver

I had a friend years ago that would always ask me where I got my clothes or bags from. It flattered me. But when I noticed her wearing the things I’d bought, it got a little ‘Single, White Female’. I never minded her copying one or two things, but she’d turn up in complete outfits. She even got a job at the same train station where I was working.

As well as subtle signs someone is jealous of you, there are also more extreme signs.

12 Signs Someone Is Extremely Jealous of You

  1. They make fun of you for silly, little things
  2. They frequently belittle your accomplishments
  3. They take the credit for your work
  4. They give you obvious backhanded compliments
  5. They isolate you from friends and family
  6. They are happy when you experience setbacks
  7. They are always competing against you
  8. They hate it when people compliment you
  9. They love giving you bad news
  10. They always try to one-up you
  11. They are hostile towards you for no reason
  12. They are demotivating towards you

What Can You Do If Someone is Jealous of You?

If you spot subtle signs someone is jealous of you, try talking to them and ask them to open up about why they are jealous. Two people cannot lead identical lives. However, perhaps there are aspects of your life the jealous person can achieve.

And if you think you might be a jealous person, don’t forget, you never know what someone is dealing with. I recall seeing the tragic news of the suicide of a young and beautiful model. She had the world at her feet, living a luxurious lifestyle, but was deeply unhappy. You’ll never be happy if you compare yourself to others.

“The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since jealousy comes from feeling less than another, comparisons only fan the fires.”

Dorothy Corkille Briggs

Final Thoughts

Left unchecked, jealousy can destroy relationships, create toxic working environments, and cause bitter resentment. No one wins when one person is jealous, but understanding that jealousy comes from a place of insecurity or a sense of failure can help to heal.

Communication is key. If you spot the signs someone is jealous of you, be empathic. However, remember that jealousy is never an excuse for unacceptable behavior.

I’ll finish with words from Yoko Ono:

“Transform jealousy into admiration, and what you admire will become part of your life.”


  3. Featured image by storyset on Freepik

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Published by
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)