The jealousy-produced, green-eyed monster is unattractive and toxic, both for the envious and the envied. Turns out there’s no better remedy than to kill it with kindness.
New research published in the journal Psychological Science has found that successful people, who fear that they will be the targets of malicious envy, act more helpfully towards those who may be jealous of them.
Previous research from the same team of Dutch scientists from Tilburg University found that envy can be divided into two types: benign (the kind which makes you want to improve yourself, like when that picture of Jessica Biel motivated you to go to the gym) and malicious (the kind which makes you want to destroy others, like when you accidentally-on-purpose stole your friend’s cute boyfriend).
Neils van de Ven, who was in charge of the project, concluded, “This sort of serves a useful group function. We all think better-off people should share with others, but that’s not something we are inclined to do when we are better off. This fear of envy can encourage us to behave in ways that improve the social interactions of the group.”
This totally makes sense and helps explain so many things: frenemies, why celebrities are so charitable, and the reason Cher took Tai under her wing in “Clueless.”