Physical Reactions That Show Jealousy

Jealousy is that unpleasant emotion you feel when you think someone’s trying to take what’s yours. Jealousy might creep up on you if someone flirts with your sweetie or copies your unique style.

green-eyed monster.

green-eyed monster,

Jealousy is called the “green-eyed monster” because it can make people obsessed with how they compare to others, always trying to beat their rivals by calling attention to what they have and seeing if the rivals have any reaction. Don’t confuse jealousy with envy, which can sometimes be a slightly more positive emotion. If you envy your friend’s athleticism, you wish you had it too, but you also admire her dedication. (

How Your Characters Would React Emotionally
What about your characters?  How do they show their emotions?  Do you allow them to show how they feel, or do you just tell what they are feeling?

What about the emotion of jealousy?  Do you just tell your readers that your characters are jealous of someone?  Or do you demonstrate this through their actions?  Do you know how to show that they feel jealousy towards someone?

There are physical signs that your character filled with jealousy would show that could be noticed by anyone who was watching.  Let’s take a look at the physical signs of jealousy.



Ways Your Character Would React Physically
Let’s pretend that Jessica is jealous of Rita.  What has Rita done to make Jessica jealous?  Rita is friends, just friends, with Jessica’s boyfriend, Robert, and Jessica does not like this.  She is convinced that Robert spends far too much time with Jessica and not enough time with her.  She even thinks that Rita wants to take her place as Robert’s girlfriend.  So, how would Jessica act around Rita?

Now, she obviously wouldn’t have all of these reactions at the same time.  That would be a bit much.  So, you need to choose which reaction(s) to use based upon what is happening in the scene.

What would Jessica’s face look like?
Whenever Jessica was in Rita’s presence, her look would be sullen and gloomy.  Her cheeks would be flushed.  As she stepped closer to Rita, her hands would form into fists.

Her face would contort in such a way that it would show her contempt of Rita.

Her expression would be pinched.  She would press her lips flat.  Her teeth would be clenched.



What sounds would she make?  What would her words be like?
She would slightly growl or make some other noise in her throat.  Jessica would mutter things that were not kind under her breath.

She would swear at her and criticize her actions.

When she laughed, it would be an ugly, scorn-filled laugh.  It is possible Jessica would shout insults and/or call Rita names.  Her speech would become rude to the point that she would way something that would be considered a “low blow”.

Other Physical Signs She Could Display
Her movements (shoving hair out of face, wiping tears from eyes) would be quick and sharp.  She would mimic the ways Rita moved her body.

Jessica’s muscles would be tight.  She would cross her arms in front of her chest.

She would kick at any unfortunate object that happened to be close by or in her way.

pouting toddler,

pouting toddler,

Other Actions She Would Take
She would pull stunts or pranks to try to have attention directed towards her once again. Her behavior would be reckless.

She would gloat whenever her rival faltered or showed weakness, especially if she was able to show off and succeed where her rival had failed.  She would try to show just how much better she could do things.

She would spit at her rival.  Oh, such a grown-up reaction.  Jealousy does have a way of making one act like a child.

To give herself a sense of power and control, she would pick on someone who was weaker, someone she could easily control.

Rumors are so unreliable.  AS they are passed from person to person, they tend to change.  They always end up a lot different than they began.  Jessica would be bitter about how others responded to Rita, so she would start rumors about her.

Her actions toward Rita would be malicious.  She would issue a challenge to her that was risky.

girl writing,

girl writing,

Writing Exercise
I want you to think back over your life.  Has there ever been a time when you were jealous?  If you are honest with yourself, I’m sure you can think of at least one instance when this green-eyed monster reared its ugly head in your life.

In your notebook that you have set aside just for writing exercises, start to list the ways that you have acted or thought about acting in situations when you were jealous.  Don’t be afraid to let your raw emotions show through in what you are writing.

Once you have about ten different ways listed, go back and write at least a paragraph showing a character react in the way you have written.  Do this for each of your reactions you have written.

Since we are all human, this list will probably grow until the day you die.  Make it a habit to go back and elaborate on at least one of the ways you have reacted in jealousy.  It shouldn’t be long before your notebook (if it is paper) is filled or until your Word document is huge.

I referred to The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi to write this article.  This book, which I bought a copy of from Amazon, has proven to be an invaluable reference when I am writing.  If you would like to purchase your own copy of this book, please click on the Amazon button below.

Amazon Link: The Emotion Thesaurus

Recommended Articles:
Physical Reactions That Show Hatred
Mental and Internal Reactions to Hatred

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