Toxic displays of jealousy can ruin the relationship that you have with someone with who you associate regularly. You may wonder how to respond to jealous comments from coworkers or even people you don’t know.
In general, you should not take jealous comments personally and counter the negative sentiment with a mixture of indifference and politeness. For example, say bluntly: “Thank you for noticing my new pants. I think you would look great in them, too.”
Don’t Take It Personally
If someone is jealous of you, it’s not because you’ve done something wrong. In fact, it’s easy to think that you may have offended in some way because of how bad their jealous behavior can get.
Jealousy has been displayed throughout the ages and is a reflection of the state of the jealous person’s heart.
In the Bible, King Saul became jealous of David, who was the future king of Israel. David didn’t do anything wrong, but Saul was driven to irrational thinking and behavior due to his fear and insecurity.
Just like him, people at your workplace or even your local supermarket may act irrationally because they’re jealous of you.
They’ll make comments like:
- “Huh. You’re buying those expensive pastries again. Don’t you think you’ll put on weight?“
- “Oh, you can’t find the time to bake your own bread, huh? I would never buy that expensive artisan stuff.”
- “Oh, so you made employee of the quarter again. I wonder why?”
While it may seem counterintuitive to say so, sometimes you can actually be thankful when someone makes a jealous comment. It may hurt you but at least now you know the true state of that person’s heart. It means that you can be more careful around them.
If a person is jealous of you, you may not be able to give them the same level of access to you and what belongs to you, as you would if they weren’t jealous of you. 
Responding by being more careful around them allows you to protect yourself from possible harm.
Some people can become so jealous that they try to make comments to you that discourage you from working to achieve your full potential.
Others may try to steal what belongs to you, so they can have more and, in that sense, feel that they have more of the prosperity they see you enjoying.
Cut Through The Misdirection
Jealous people will often try to create confusion or use misdirection to make you, or other people think something else is the problem. 
The problem is their own ego, but they may try to make it look like the problem is the sound that your new shoes make, the shine of your clean new desk, or even the bandwidth you’re using as your website pulls in more traffic than theirs.
Sometimes you have to reveal what’s really happening to those who are looking on. If necessary, show others what the jealous person’s heart is really like, so they’re warned before that person turns on them.
Remember, some jealous people at work are never happy and are always looking for someone to diminish with their words. 
You could say:
“I’m sorry that you feel that way about the light bouncing off my new desk Brenda.”
“Is it really the light that’s bothering you Tim?”
“Does the company have a policy against red sports cars Jim?”
Don’t Be Too Caustic
It’s tempting to really let a jealous person hurt the way they hurt you with their comments. However, it’s usually not a good idea to be focused on revenge.
For one, they sometimes want to distract you by getting you worked up. Their thinking is, if you’re busy being upset with them, it will take energy away from the positive things that you would be doing.
They fully intend to distract you in that way, and you have to be aware of it. This is particularly true if you have a jealous person in your workplace or elsewhere, who always has something negative to say whenever you’re praised or acknowledged at work. Don’t let their plan work.
Similarly, some jealous people want to provoke you so you can react in a way that’s not as positive as you would like.
They intend to take the shine off you and then laugh at you in private or when they’re somewhere else.
Don’t let them have the opportunity.
If you’ve reached a state of peace where you can actually look beyond the jealous comments, you may find it in your heart to view the deep empty well inside them that’s causing the jealousy. Sometimes people are jealous because they feel they’ll never look as toned as you do or have the material things you’ve worked so hard for.
You can remind them that what you’ve done is something you know they can do too. Make it clear that you’re confident in their ability to achieve their goals and you’re looking forward to celebrating with them when they do.
We are not in a cutthroat race against each other, and we can be happy for each other.
If you don’t genuinely feel they’re making progress with their goals, don’t say it. They’ll know if you’re just giving praise that they don’t deserve. However, a little affirmation of their efforts goes a long way.
If you know they’ve been working hard but are just having a weak moment, you could say something kind and encourage them:
“Thanks for noticing my shoes, Tina. I like the way you looked in your blue shoes last week.”
“Thanks Phil. I notice that your regular exercise sessions have been paying off too.”
“You’ll soon get your car Jake. I know you’ve been working hard to get it.”
If you’re the type of person who is always trying to do their best in a particular area that you’re passionate about, chances are, you’re always getting jealous comments.
You can be proactive in letting jealous people know that their hard work will pay off. Ensure that you do this in the presence of others.
If you’re working hard because it’s satisfying to you and not because you need praise, it does you no harm to let another person feel good every once in a while.
Make a positive comment about them in the department meeting. Point out how well their cabbage bed is going. Sometimes jealous people aren’t getting a kind word from anyone else and that’s why they act out in such a fashion.
If the person is someone who seems to be willing to learn and grow, it can sometimes help them if you look for opportunities where they can shine.
If they’re a part of your team at work and they have underused talents, it really can’t hurt the company if you put their abilities to good use.
They’ll have an opportunity to shine, and everyone will benefit. The same applies even at home if the jealous person is a roommate.
Sometimes you may be able to deal with someone jealous of the boyfriend you have, by introducing them to someone who may be a good fit for them.
Don’t be pushy, just make the opportunity available:
“The sales department is planning an event for Wilmington. Since you have expertise in the area I was wondering if you wanted to help.”
“We’re thinking of redesigning the reception area. I know you’re good at that and might have some ideas to share.”
“Jim has a friend who’s new to this area. I was thinking of inviting him over for dinner. At least he could meet you and me.”
When you realize that your spouse is jealous, it can really hurt. If it’s an occasional jealous comment, you can often handle it with the advice in this article.
However, if the comments are being made more frequently, you may have to seek help from a counselor who has specific experience in that area.
A relationship counselor for jealousy can help if your partner has been deliberately saying things to make you feel small, insecure, or inferior.
The feeling of jealousy can also lead to abuse in some relationships, so it’s better to address this early with professional help.
You could say:
“I notice that you keep getting upset whenever I go jogging alone. I’ve invited you but you don’t want to come, and you react the same way whenever I want to go anywhere else. I think we could benefit by talking to a counselor.”
“We seem to be fighting a lot about my new job. Maybe we could talk to a counselor.”
“You always shut down whenever I have to fly to a conference overseas. I think we need to talk about it.”
If jealous comments are being made by someone you really care about, you can’t always just walk away. It may sometimes be a problem you can’t solve on your own because the person has unmet childhood needs that are hampering their ability to cope.
A professional can help the person you love and in doing so, help your relationship to become stronger.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.