Jealousy is when you feel bad because of what someone else has done or is doing. You can feel jealous about anything and it can sometimes feel like it takes over your life.

why people feel jealous

Jealousy is sometimes called the ‘green-eyed monster’. Because it can feel like you have a monster inside you that you can’t control. Jealousy can come from feelings of low self-esteem or lack of confidence. And when someone is unhappy about themselves, feels anxious and insecure, this can lead to feelings of jealousy and being out of control.

The difference between jealousy and envy

Jealousy is slightly different from envy. You can envy someone for something they have. If they have more money or nice things, do better at school, or you think they’re more attractive than you are. You may feel jealous of your brother or sister because you think your parents love him or her more than you. 

Envy is wanting something you don’t have.

Jealousy is about wanting to keep or make sure you have something that's already yours. 

3 tips to help you stop feeling jealous:

  1. Ask yourself why
    When you understand your feelings, it’s often easier to change your actions and get support
  2. Work to build up your trust
    If you can’t trust someone, it might not be a healthy friendship or relationship
  3. Set yourself a goal
    What can you do to make you feel good about yourself? 

How to tell if someone is jealous

Jealousy can show itself in different ways. A jealous person might:

  • ask you lots of questions about who you've spent time with or been speaking to
  • want to know why you were spending time with others or why you didn’t invite them along
  • withdraw and ignore you
  • try to put you down and tell others not to spend time with you
  • stop speaking to you for no reason.

how jealousy can affect friends and relationships

Friendships and relationships should be based on trust and respect. When you allow jealous feelings to take over and start to doubt your friends or boyfriend or girlfriend, then this can damage trust and respect.

Jealousy isn’t about love and caring about someone, it’s about feeling insecure and scared about the future. When you do this, you let your fears take over.

If you feel like this, it can be good to talk about how you're feeling and what's happening for you. 

It can be hard if someone seems to be angry or unhappy with you and you don’t know why. If you’re worried that one of your friends or your boyfriend or girlfriend is jealous, you could try talking to them about how they feel. They might need reassurance from you and might want the chance to open up about how they feel.

Some people might not want to talk about the way they feel. Or they may get angry or abusive. It’s important to feel safe in any relationship so if you’re  worried or unsure about anything, you can always talk to Childline.

Watch: Dealing with jealousy

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Sometimes jealousy can affect people so much that they become abusive. 

It’s abusive when your girlfriend or boyfriend:

  • checks your phone for calls or texts
  • checks your emails or social networking profiles
  • follows you to check up on what you are doing
  • shouts at you, or physically hurts you if you don’t do what they want you to do.

This behaviour is abuse, and it’s a sign that someone’s jealousy is out of control. If someone is abusing you in this way, it’s not your fault. No matter what the reason is, this is wrong. You can get help by talking to an adult you trust or to our trained counsellors.


1. Writing a list of things you want to happen
Try to work on them yourself. You could use our Art box to make a picture, poem or words about how you feel and what you want to change. You can also get some advice about being assertive and building confidence.

2. Doing something to make you feel better
Recognising when you're feeling down can help. And then try doing something you enjoy. Sometimes social media can make you compare yourself to others, so do something different. Could you do some exercise? Or listen to some music? Or do something you really enjoy doing? Take a look at our hobbies and interests message board for some ideas.