The Enemy Beside You

“Don’t show a friend your gift, or your bag of money if you still want to maintain your relationship, but if nay, go on, and all you’ll see is hate and jealousy, and you’ll fight with him in the street like a dog and all you’ll feel is regret.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

“Some people are more hurt by their worst enemy’s success than they were hurt by their then best friend’s death.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“It be those guys who develop so much hate because they not you. They want yo spot. It all about people wanting your spot man.” – Boosie

“You find out who your friend are when you are down and out, but you also find out who your friends are when you are successful.” – Rom Wills

According to Psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, author of Envy and Gratitude, some people are more prone to envious feelings than others and can be seen in early infancy. Melanie states that “unconscious envy” manifest its self in early infancy.

Envy is seen as the angry feeling that another person possesses, and is withholding, due to something one desires for oneself.

An envious person may feel sickened at the sight of enjoyment in others, and  feel ease in the misery of others. Ms. Klein defines envy as an innate “expression of destructive impulses” meaning it is present from birth, and that it has a “constitutional basis”, implying it is resistant to change. The polar opposite of envy is gratitude.

Gratitude is defined as acceptance of limitations, having tolerance for others, and having the ability to develop healthy relationships. A gracious person is not absent of feeling envy, but people who are gracious in nature are capable of not allowing envy to interfere with their decision making.


Painfully, envy occurs most commonly within our friendships. When a relationship takes a turn for the worst we think to ourselves, what did I do? What did I say? Oddly, the people who envy us the most are often motivated to be our friends. There is an internal conflict between admiration for what you do and dislike for you doing it. By becoming our friend, they can disguise envy for themselves. As the relationship evolves and as you grow closer, the problem becomes worst. Envious feelings that were suppressed gradually began to arise. The traits that made them insecure, your good looks, solid working ethic, etc., is now being witness on a continuous basis.

Overtime a new narrative evolves. “How did he get a girlfriend like that? It must be because of money. He not that special. He is just lucky.”

As our friends, envious people can discover our weak points and plot for ways to hurt us the most. They are in a better position to spread gossip, ruin our romantic relationships, and prevent us from achieving our goals. It can difficult distinguishing between real friends and fake friends, but there are signs.

Discovering Envious Friends

Learn to pay closer attention to your first impressions. Subconsciously, we intuit that someone is false but because of their charm and friendly gestures, we forget about it. It is human nature to like people who admire us, and envious people are well aware of this. Enviers seak out individuals who have more of what they want; money, good looks, talent, respect, etc. They want what you have but lack the ability to get it. Not only is it painful to be inferior to another person in something we value, it can be embarrassing if others see us this way. And once we acknowledge this we are driven to hide our jealousy from ourselves.

People mask their envy statements such as, it’s not envy will feel but unfairness. The person is not really superior, just lucky. That’s how they are successful.  

Today people are more likely to be politically indirect and try to disguise any overt aggressive signs of jealousy. Envious people are more likely to create a toxic environment. We only see their hostile criticism or phony applause. This allows enviers to maintain their current position while causing others harm. You may feel confused because they have praised you but in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. When you accomplish some goal enviers may feel the need to praise but what underlies in their praise is hostility. If you experience this more than once than it may be the case that they are hiding something deep and toxic within them. While this is happening most us are unaware that envy was the motivation. The pain inflicted by an envious friend can stick with you for years. The aim is not to make you paranoid but to help you decipher the real friends from the fake ones.

Signs You Are Dealing With An Envier

Body Language

First impressions should be given added weight. The Latin word for envy is Envidia. It means to cast an evil eye upon. It was believed that if an envious person has the ability to curse you with one look. In the middle ages, the punishment for the envious is to close their eyes and sew them with iron wires, because they had received pleasure in seeing others fall.

Envious micro expressions change the entire look of a face.

The look last for a split second and is followed by a forced smile. Nonverbal cues are the gateway to a person’s true feelings. Play closer attention to facial expressions, vocal inflections, tension in the body, and nervous gestures.

The Gossiper

If people like to gossip a lot about common acquittances, there is no doubt they will one day gossip about you. Gossip is a frequent tool used for envy. It is a way for others to share harmful rumors and stories. If you hear one rumor about you, regardless of its severity, it should be enough to alarm you that there is an envier on your team. Gossip is a way for enviers to vent their hostility to a mutual friend rather than keeping it to themselves. If you notice people within the group are suddenly cold than you know gossip is at fault. Serial gossipers do not make trustworthy friends.

The Charmer

Be conscious of people who show a strong eagerness to be your friend. They will praise you a little too much too early into the relationship. Through the closeness, they establish they are able to find your weak point and gain information about you. They will criticize you, which may confuse you, then return to their initial warmth. If possible, check out their past relationships. They may have a history of dramatic breakups and things never being their fault. These people intentionally choose to befriend someone who they envy to subtly torture them.

Men Without a Purpose

These men may be hard to pick out at the beginning of the relationship. They have an amazing sense of humor and be the life of the party. Men without a purpose have trouble appreciating excellence in anyone except those who are dead. People who have achieved things in life make them feel insecure. They rail at achievers for gaming the system, being too ambitious, or for being lucky and not deserving the praise. They associate excellence with unfairness. They may have a strong appreciation for menial work, because menial work does not stir up their insecurities.

The Slacker

Overweight teenager lying on a dirty torn couch with a laptop, sitting on his stomach, junk food lying on the floor.

Many people feel entitled to have success, an attractive lover, a big house, a great job, and have a clear understanding that this will take hard work and sacrifice. Yet some people believe they deserves things in life as if it were naturally due to them. They believe that doing the bare minimum, such as reading a book on relationships or watching how to get a girlfriend videos on YouTube, and this should be enough to get them the things they want out of life. Deep down, these men are insecure because they believe they lack the ability to get what they want, therefore they never develop the proper discipline required to achieve it. When they find themselves around self-achievers who have work really hard and have achieved respect for their work. This will make them aware of their insecurities and transition from their envy to hostile. They are prone to envying those who work hard and will slander and sabotage you with no warning.

Be cautious of people who like to get ahead by using charm and being political, rather than by getting things done. They are prone to envying people who work hard and get results.

Mr. Status

Some people, status to the most important determinate of their self-worth. You will notice such as person by the questions they ask; How much money do you make? What kind of car do you drive? Do you own your home? These men habitually look for points of comparison. When they comment on the clothes you wear and the car you drive they seem to focus on the amount of money these things must have cost. Some may try to conceal it by driving an old car or dressing shabbily, parading as the idealist hippie. A disguise to hide the fact that they cannot get what they want through hard work.


In general, be cautious of people who are too quick to attach themselves into your life. They try to draw you into a relationship by the praise and attention they give you. Their goal is to gain information on you that they can leak out and spread like gossip. Therefore harming your reputation. Surround yourself around people who are credible rather than by those that have a pleasing manner.

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About Darron Brown 9 Articles
Darron Brown has Master's in Information Systems from the University of Utah and works as a Software Engineer. Check out his Instagram iAmDarronBrown.