You consider yourself to be a friendly and likeable person, so it just doesn't seem fair when your roommate snidely puts down your attempt to win the lead role in your campus's big production. While you can't force a jealous person to like you, you can change your approach to his behavior so that you have a better chance of eliciting a different response.
Build the Person Up
Look for the best in people, writes leadership coach John Maxwell and psychologist Les Parrott in their book, "25 Ways to Win With People." Anyone can point out shortcomings, but when you let people know that you see the gold hidden inside them, you give them the vision to view themselves in a new way. This empowers your friend or acquaintance to be the best person he can be, and can help him to move past his jealousy. The next time you see your jealous classmate, tell him, "The way you handled that question the professor threw at you was brilliant," and watch his response. Chances are, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Avoid Playing the Game
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that," said peacemaker Martin Luther King, in his famous speech, "I Have a Dream..." When the person who's struggling with jealousy talks behind your back, makes cunningly cruel remarks or otherwise seeks to take you down a notch, resist the urge to do likewise. You have a much higher chance of winning her admiration and respect if you stay true to your values. With time, your noble behavior may shine the light on her game-playing and she may look at you in a different light.
Change Your View of the Person
People who are unhealthily competitive may have low self esteem and see the resources in life as being scarce, says psychologist Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D. in the "Psychology Today" article "How to Keep Your Cool With Competitive People." When you realize that the people who are jealous of you are likely struggling with this sort of issue, it becomes easier to view them with compassion. This changes how you relate to them. For example, when you realize that your cousin is jealous of your career because she doesn't feel as though she has the smarts to make a similar life for herself, you can help her to actualize the things in her life that she wants. The result may just be a changed relationship.
Accept That the Person May Never Like You
In the end, you can't force someone to like you. The jealous person may be so buried in his own pain that he is simply unable to respond to your friendly overtures. If this is the case, keep being your friendly self and refuse to take his behavior to heart. While he can try to do damage with gossip, if you stay true to yourself, your personality will shine louder than any malicious words he may speak. Be okay with being you, and know that you are worthy, even if some people do not like you.
- National Archives: I Have a Dream...
- "25 Ways to Win With People"; John Maxwell and Les Parotte, Ph.D.
- Psychology Today: How to Keep Your Cool With Competitive People
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images