How to Handle an Over-Competitive Friend
I bet I can read that book faster than you.
You suck at dodgeball.
Are you trying to be bad at Call of Duty? Because if so, you’re winning.
You only won because you cheated.
I’m going to get a higher grade than you, and then I’m going to jump higher than you because I’m better than you.
Being friends with a competition freak isn’t easy. They’re loud, they're sometimes mean, and they strut around like they have something to prove. Theses friends can get competitive about anything, from sports to grades. They will turn mundane activities like eating pizza into a duel. They will transform a friendly game of tic-tac-toe into an epic battle of wits. And what’s even worse is that they will never change. Once a competitive person, always a competitive person.
So if you can’t remold their personality into something more soothing and less aggressive, what are you to do? We have developed some tactics to help you deal with your over-competitive friend. The next time he says, “I bet I can eat more tissues than you,” you’ll know how to handle it.
Normally, we would encourage our wonderful readers to work as hard as they possibly can and never give up. But just this once, we’re telling you to fail. (Coming soon: the SparkLife article in which we say reading sucks.) Hear us out. Competitive people love winning, but they also love a challenge. If you lose enough times, eventually your buddy is going to realize that it’s no fun challenging you to a staring contest or unicycle race. It may hurt your ego, but it will help your friendship. (Besides, you don’t need to prove anything. We all know how hard you rock the unicycle.)
If you can’t bring yourself to take the fall, then you need to win, and win hard! But when you score the game-ending point, you must resist the urge to gloat. Bragging will only incite your competitive friend, who will then issue some other immediate challenge. You need to win with dignity and class. Be more like Michael Phelps, and less like [insert name of any of the dudes who play basketball at the park near my house].
3. Accuse your friend of cheating
This won’t help. But it’s fun to watch. If you accuse a competitive person of somehow breaking the rules or using an illegal move, she will flip out. When this happens, grab a nice cold glass of lemonade and watch the fireworks. After a few minutes, your friend will either storm off in a huff, or burst into pure energy…so wear a rain jacket. You don’t want got get pure energy on your nice shirt.
4. Play Cupid
Only one thing can calm a competitive spirit: love. (Tranquilizer darts work too, but only for a few hours.) Assuming you don’t want to be your friend’s smooching-mate, you need to find someone who is willing to put up with the guy. Once your friend is properly partnered, he will relax a bit. Even if he doesn’t, it’s his new smooching-mate’s problem now, and you’ll be free to go read a book without your friend screeching, “Let’s play dart hockey!” in your ear. (Note: We don’t know if dart hockey is a real sport. Sounds awesome though, right?)
5. Remain friends
Though it can be annoying in high school, a competitive spirit is a valuable asset in the business world. If you’re not the gung-ho type, be friends with someone who is, and go into business together. You’ll be the brains, and she’ll be the irritating person who won’t give up and keeps calling you a wuss because you spend most of the day crying and hiding from your over-aggressive business partner.
How do you handle your competitive friends?