I, personally, believe that a little competition never hurt anyone, except for the people it has. More than likely, you are one of the people that in one case or another competition has hurt. I’m one of those people too. We’re all one of those people. (Let’s join hands and sing y’all!)
We human-sapiens are competitive by nature. It’s because of the birds on the Galapagos. So, competition amongst ourselves is inevitable. Because of Dodo birds. Or something. But nothing is as heated and potentially ego-trouncing as competition amongst friends. Wether you’re playing Scrabble online or actively working towards the same career goal, that shit get competitive and uber-personal. Because it is personal. Because you are a person and you are doing it and they are person and they are doing it too vis-a-vis personal.
And that isn’t to say you can’t feel supportive of friends you’re competing with as well. People are capable of all kinds of layered and seemingly contradictory emotions. For instance, you can feel both excited and disappointed if a friends gets a job you both applied for. Both of those are valid feelings and it’s possible to feel them at the same time. Confusing? Yes. But totally a thing that happens all the time. Especially amongst your friends you might have a lot in common with. If you’re both working towards the same goal, you’re in competition with each other, maybe not directly, but in competition nonetheless. And that can be a really difficult thing to sort through, because of all the conflicting emotions. It’s complicated, and in one of the worst ways possible, because you feel like a real shit-head for being bummed for yourself and not completely excited for them, while also feeling like a real dumb-ass for not succeeding at your goal. OR- you could be the one who snagged the win and then you feel like a real shit-head for being excited while your friend is sad, while also feeling like a dumb-ass for not totally celebrating your awesome accomplishment in everyone’s faces. So that even when you win, you don’t really win because you know your achievement has caused someone you care about pain, and when you lose you are totally losing because you know your friends achievement is just a little bit dampened by your sadness.
Basically, competition with friends is an emotional clusterfuck either way. But it’s going to happen, if it isn’t happening already, and you’re going to need a plan of action to deal with it either way. My plan of action? Be as supportive as possible to the other person no matter what the outcome is. And either celebrate or commiserate with food, because those french fries understand my complicated feelings and don’t judge me for them.
What about y’all? How do you handle competition with friends?