“What should I do if someone close to me becomes competitive with me?”
We all know the competitive type – but the thing is, almost all of us ARE the type. As humans, we’re competitive by nature – there’s always something that’s going to remind us that it’s a dog-eat-dog world; that it’s all about survival of the fittest. But some people take it too far (see also: Toddlers & Tiaras).
As someone who was never sporty as a kid, my version of competitive was the route of (don’t judge) Pogs, Beanie-Babies, and most importantly, Pokemon Cards – and I was intense. I would enter tournaments with my friends at the local video game store, and was always a sore, sobbing loser half-way through. In 5th grade, if I wasn’t a winner, that meant that I was a loser – which was where I was so very wrong.
The natural thing when you’re growing up is to compare yourself with the people around you. In a society where everyone’s trying to fit in, how else are you supposed to figure out what the average is? It’s when things become competitive that friendships can be hurt by this mentality. The root of all excessive competitiveness (whether the person will admit it or not) is insecurities. Insecurities form bad habits, but like all bad habits, they can be broken!
The first step is figuring out if what this person means to you – if you couldn’t care less about them, then it doesn’t matter how competitive they are – their ridiculousness is only making themselves look bad. If you DO care about your relationship with them – then you have to do something. It really depends on the friend, but there are a couple ways you can approach it: you can be direct and tell the person that you don’t like how they treat everything as an opportunity to beat you. As someone who is NOT direct, I would advise just taking the high road. Knowing that excessive competitiveness is based on insecurities, what your friend needs is acknowledgement and approval, not to be better than you. By complimenting them on things that they naturally ARE better at – you instill them with a sense of natural accomplishment – and over time, they might realize that being good at something doesn’t mean someone else has to be bad.
Just because I lost a Pokemon tournament in 5th grade didn’t mean that I was bad at the game, it just meant that I was in a room full of people who were awesome at it (side note: I haven’t played a match in years, but my Pokemon deck will still obliterate yours, any day).
By Tyler Oakley
Have a question you want answered? Post it in the Advice forum!
Images via Warming Glow Blog