We love our friends, but when competitiveness takes hold, your loving friend can turn into a bit of a nightmare. You don’t want to lose your friend, but you’re close to losing your patience. Here’s what you can do to keep the peace and keep your friend.
Look after them.
They may be rubbing your face in how much better they are than you at something (“You ran five miles yesterday? I ran ten!”) but try to remember that when someone is overly-competitive, it often comes from a place of insecurity rather than a feeling of real superiority. If you agree with them that they’re really good at whatever it is they’re boasting about, not only does your genuine support take down the intensity of competitiveness, but it’ll help them to feel more comfortable with themselves.
Look after yourself.
Whether or not your friend is better than you at whatever has inspired their sense of competition, it’s important to remember that you have things that you’re great at too. So what if your friend has just got a promotion at work and you haven’t? No one can beat you in a bake-off, and your budgeting skills are second to none!
Don’t be afraid to face the issue.
If you’ve tried to be supportive of your friend, and tried to remember to be supportive of yourself as well, but the competitive problem is still getting to you and doesn’t look to be improving, then it could be time to have a chat with your friend. Pick a neutral setting and a time when you’re both relaxed and calmly tell your friend how you’ve been feeling. Also, try not to frame it as one person’s fault. Instead of saying “you’re being too competitive”, or “you keep saying you’re better than me”, try instead to say “recently I’ve been feeling that we’ve not been as supportive of each other’s achievements as we could be”, or “I think we’ve been being too competitive”. Make it something to address together, rather than a criticism of one person.