In this article, I examine the fear of others’ envy among young students and graduates in the port city of Mahajanga, Madagascar. Although the city provides a favourable environment in relation to the economy, employment and general well-being, many young people from middle-class milieus worry that their aspirations will remain unfulfilled because of envious peers who resent them for any advantage they might have gained. While malicious envy is most expected within close social relations in which social comparison and competition are prevalent, most social actors respond to this threat with tactical practices of secrecy that arguably help to secure an individual's well-being and shield them from unsocial behaviour. I scrutinize these micro-politics of life projects, social comparison, increasing inequalities and a rising sense of mutual mistrust. Yet, I depart from approaches that frame envy as a human condition that socially produces either a prosocial levelling mechanism or a destructive force that bulldozes social bonds. Instead, I understand envy as an assemblage that points to intertwined and often ambivalent social aspects. For many young individuals, overcoming their fear of envy is part of becoming a complete person, a sign of being successful and a responsible adult.