How to Overcome Jealousy and Be Happy for Your Friends

Two friends drink coffee in a coffee shop and laugh.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

My jealous tendencies stem from when I was just a wee tot. My parents always tell this funny story of when we were visiting a family friend who was already reading “Harry Potter” books, which were several years ahead of her grade level. My dad said it was “fantastic” of her. When we got into the car to leave, I pouted, and when my dad asked what was wrong, little toddler Francesca crossed her arms and huffed, “You said FANTASTIC!”

I’ve worked on my jealousy quite a bit since then, thanks to journaling, self-awareness, and a lot more life experience. I’ve realized that being happy for others instead of becoming jealous is not only easier on my heart and mind, but it also bolsters my relationships. 

That’s not to say my little green monster doesn’t visit from time to time, because it certainly does. I keep these three truths in my back pocket whenever I need a reminder. 

I remind myself that there is an abundance of goodness, in many different forms, out there for all of us

There isn’t one definition of “success”, nor is there a scarcity of goodness out in the world (though I will admit, it can feel like that sometimes). 

During college and even post-grad when I was living my single life, watching close friends meet their “person” and fall in love did not mean that I was any less likely to have a relationship of my own one day. It also didn’t mean that my singleness was a failure, even if it was lonely at times. For them, in that season of their lives, falling in love was their version of goodness. For me, in my single season, meeting new people and learning more about myself was my version of it. 

This applies to so many different scenarios, from dating to job searching to apartment/house hunting… the list goes on. Someone else’s happiness and good fortune has no bearing on our own. There’s enough grace out there for all of us; we just have to keep our hearts and minds open to the different forms in which it’ll find us. 

Seeing my friends succeed makes me excited for when my time will come

When I graduated from college, many of my friends already had jobs lined up for the summer. I, on the other hand, vividly recall interviewing at my dad’s company and getting denied after one round (how does that even happen?! reverse-nepotism?) and feeling pretty anxious and worried about the future. 

Even though it was such a nerve-wracking time, I tried not to let my insecurities overshadow the support and happiness I felt for my friends. To avoid projecting my feelings onto them, I briefly put my nerves into a box and was fully supportive and engaged with them about their new beginnings. 

I remember making excited FaceTime calls and congratulatory Instagram posts that felt tough at the time, but I’m glad I was able to do them for my friends. It wasn’t their fault that I was struggling, and again, their good fortune did not have any bearing on my personal ability to succeed. 

As they advanced in the interview process and secured awesome job offers, it made me feel really hopeful for when my time would come. And luckily, about a month after graduation, it did – I got a great offer in the industry and city I wanted. I remember feeling proud of myself that I didn’t waste that month feeling envious and resentful of my friends, and instead channeled that energy into hope and gratitude for when it would be my turn.  

Knowing how great it feels when my friends support me, I try to return that feeling to them whenever I can

I may or may not have stolen the philosophy of “it is in giving that we receive” from the prayer of Saint Francis, but hey, it works! It boils down to treating others the way I like to be treated… knowing how much I enjoy being included, I should include others. 


Knowing how wonderful it feels to be understood, I should use empathy to understand others. And knowing how important it is to be supported, I should support others. It feels so good when my friends remember important events in my life, like interview days, grad school finals, moving to a new apartment, and more. It doesn’t matter if the gestures are small, like “good luck” and “thinking of you” texts, or more involved like a thoughtful note card in the mail. Knowing how great it feels to be seen, I try my best to show up for my friends in similar ways.

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