Having an overly competitive friend can be an annoying and difficult experience because everything always has to be about her. Instead of enjoying your successes or celebrating your accomplishments, she tries to one up you or undermine the significance of whatever is making them feel inferior. It’s probably not something worth throwing away an entire friendship over, but coping can be a hurtful uphill battle. If you’re struggling with an overly competitive friend, here are some tips on how to deal:
Try to be understanding.
Your overly competitive friend probably has some self-esteem problems. She’s constantly comparing herself to other people, wondering how she’s measuring up, and worrying about being a failure. This doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it helps to try to see where she’s coming from.
Feel free to speak up.
If she’s upsetting you, say something! She might not even realize that constantly one upping you is rude and hurtful. Your feelings are valid, even if her competitiveness is a coping mechanism.
Keep your cool.
Don’t lose it if you’re getting upset with her! Hyper-competitive people tend to have a lot of anxiety and insecurities. Talking it out is encouraged, but yelling and swearing will probably just result in her shutting down.
You have to stick up for yourself when she’s crossing the line. If trying to be the best means attempting to take things away from you, like taking credit for your ideas at work or hitting on your boyfriend, then you need to shut that kind of behavior down ASAP.
Be very blatant about what’s important to you.
You can’t assume she’ll turn her competitive nature off when it really matters to you. For example, you have to blatantly tell her, “This birthday party means a lot to me and it’s important to me that I feel special that day.” If you don’t, she may do or say something crazy to be the one who gets the most attention.
Let her “win” when it’s not important to you.
Do you really care if she has a more expensive car or more followers on Instagram? If it doesn’t, let her have that “win” and don’t engage in the competition.
Show her that not everything is a race. You can support her in the things she does without it harming your goals at all, and vice versa. Competitions aren’t fun if no one else is playing, so being supportive is the best way to help her calm down while simultaneously modeling good behavior.
Turn the negative into a positive.
Find ways to make her competitiveness an asset to your friendship. Competitive people are usually willing to work really hard, make sacrifices, and take on extra responsibilities. If you share a common goal, like a project at work or a charitable fundraiser, her aggressiveness can be used to your advantage.
Recognize her good qualities.
Competitiveness can be one of those obnoxious qualities that’s just so annoying that it overshadows that person’s really great traits. Keep in mind that no one is simple enough to be defined by just one trait alone, and remember what you originally liked about her that sparked your friendship in the first place.
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