Difference between Envy and Jealousy

difference between envy and jealousy

Words jealousy and envy, though they mean two very different things, are often confused and misused. In this blog, we will look at the difference between envy and jealousy. Different people might even give a million different definitions of these two emotions.

If you say, I wish to be charming and winning as my best friend. It means you are envious, not jealous.

 If you say my girlfriend/boyfriend was flirting with another person. Then it means you are jealous and not envious.

Haha, surprise surprise everyone! 
All the definitions of jealousy you had to date proved wrong. Don’t worry, I too was wrong until I started to write this blog.

Meanings of Envy and Jealousy 

Envy in simple terms is wanting something which you don’t have. Moreover, it is a feeling which occurs when you lack something that another person has.
Jealousy occurs when something we already possess (a thing or attribute) is threatened by a third party. 

So, as you can see that Envy is a two-person situation. Whereas Jealousy is a three-person situation. 

Difference between envy and jealousy
Even minions envy each other, you are still human

What does this second third person mean Adin

Envy comes because you lack something the other person has. Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing someone. The difference between suspicion and envy lies in the contrast between wanting to be like someone and desiring to be with someone.

Examples to illustrate the difference between Envy and Jealousy

Examples of Jealousy

  • Tom broke the engagement in a fit of jealousy.
  • The police believe the motive for this murder was jealousy.
  • Jealousy and suspicion eroded their relationship.
  • For a moment, Martha was overcome with Jealousy.
  • I’ve never seen such an exhibition of jealousy.

Examples of Envy

  • I detected a tinge of envy in her tone.
  • They enjoyed an income and lifestyle that many people would envy.
  • Lisa felt a pang of envy at the thought of her friend’s success.
  • I really envy you and Alan, you seem so happy together.
  • Lisa watched with envy as she set off for the airport.

Let’s understand both of these in detail

Envy means to bear hatred toward someone due to wanting what that person has or enjoys. In a milder sense, it means “the longing of something someone else has without any ill will intended toward that person “

Jealousy means ” apprehensive or vengeful act of fear of being replaced by someone else“. It can also mean watchful, anxiously, suspicious, zealous, or expecting complete devotion.
For example, I am jealous you like Mark over me. 

How people react to Envy and Jealousy

When you feel jealousy, you’re scared of losing something you already possess. In order to feel envy, you need to lack something that someone else has, be it good looks, good grades, or a high salary.

Difference between envy and jealousy
Tell the answer in the comments now

What is worse envy or jealousy?

No emotions are bad, they all serve valuable purposes.

The purpose of Envy is to motivate you to achieve more. “I like what that person has accomplished/achieved/earned – I should work harder towards that purpose because it’s important to me.”

The goal of Jealousy is to urge you to protect what you have- your passionate partner, the attachment you have with your children, family, or even your pet. Your job, and your relationship with your boss.

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Both of these impulses are helpful because these things are worth pursuing and protecting.

Where they become awkward is when people react unhelpfully to these emotions, for example;

“That person is more fit than me, therefore I don’t like them.” Is this a silly reaction? Instead- “therefore I should be their friend and learn from them.”

“That person is getting my partner’s attention, therefore I hate that person, and will punish my partner.” Instead- “maybe my partner and I need to improve our relationship. Or, what can I learn from this person about what my partner finds engaging? Or, maybe, my partner isn’t really interested in our relationship any longer, and we should consider parting ways.”

Many people tend to think like victims, so when they feel jealous or envy, they accuse others. That’s not what these emotions are for, so the kinds of reactions become awkward.

Instead, always use those emotions to ask “what can I discover from this, and how can I better my life here?”


Still, jealousy and envy are two different feelings and you shouldn’t call everything that you feel jealousy, even though many people around you might do that. If you’re afraid of losing something or someone because of someone else, then indeed, it’s jealousy. But if you wish you had something that is owned by a different person, this is called envy.

So, what you all know about envy and jealousy? Shocked by learning the differences between envy and jealousy? Tell us your stories in the comments. Would love reading them.

If you liked the post, consider sharing this post. As one wise man said, power is gained by sharing knowledge and not by keeping it.

2 thoughts on “Difference between Envy and Jealousy”

  1. Pingback: Grey Eyed Monsters -Roots of Jealousy and Envy | Unfuckwithable

  2. Pingback: How to overcome Insecurity, Jealousy, and Envy | Unfuckwithable

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