Rivalry is common in many friendships. Friendly competition can be a good thing. It can motivate you to improve and be a better person. However, it is possible for your friendship to be overrun with competitiveness. Some people feel good about themselves only if they believe they are better off than others. A friendship in which there is too much competition can be quite a miserable one. You can tell that your friendship is competitive if you or your friend continually brag about your accomplishments, try to be better than or sabotage the other person, or attempt to get credit for everything.
A competitive friendship involves more bragging than sharing. An overly competitive person may not be able to stop himself from bragging about his accomplishments. He is not likely to miss an opportunity to let his friend know how much better he is at a certain sport or in math, writing, computers or making friends. A boaster is also happy with an audience. Your competitive friend will broadcast his skills and accomplishments whether you are alone together or with a group of friends, teachers, team members or family.
Taking All the Credit
A competitive friend must get credit for the things she does. She may even try to grab some of the praise that you rightly deserve or go as far as taking credit for your achievements. For example, if you happen to do well on your finals, your friend may want to take the credit for going with you to the library to study without acknowledging all the hard work you put into your assignments.
One of the worst cases of competitiveness is when your friend attempts to sabotage your efforts so that you look bad while he comes out looking better. If you are working on a task together, he may secretly undo what you have done. He may try to mislead you. For example, after pretending not to care very much about an upcoming project, he may actually put in extra effort to make his project the best.
Putting You Down
A friend who is competitive may push you to downplay your achievements. Tooting your own horn may bring about negative reactions from your competitor, which may leave you feeling guilty or ashamed. You'll know that this is the case if you win an award for a special achievement, make record time in a marathon, or get accepted into the college of your choice, but find that your friend is not excited for you or becomes withdrawn. She may even switch the focus to herself.
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