Competing Against a Friend: Balancing Respect and Competition

Comparing Competitors

“The only thing I can compare them [competitors] to is my parents.” – John Travolta

John Travolta’s quote above shows how he compares competitors to his parents. If you are a competitor against your friends, then you probably have similar feelings towards them. You might even feel like they are your own parents or siblings.

That means that you may have some similarities with them and some differences too.

So what are the differences?

Differences Between Competitive Friends and Non-Competitive Friends

You will notice that there are many similarities between competitive friends and noncompetitive friends. However, there are some major differences between these two types of friendships. Let us see some of them:

1) Competition Is More Common Among Competitive Friends than With Noncompetitive Friends.

When comparing competitors, it is not just about their physical appearance, but also about their personality traits.

Some characteristics which are common among competitors include arrogance, competitiveness, and jealousy. These qualities make them very difficult to deal with because they don’t let go of control over the situation. They may try to dominate the conversation or interfere in every aspect of your life.

On the other hand, if you are a friendly competitor against someone else then you might not want to take any action at all!

2) Competition Is Less Likely To Be Overly Physical.

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3) Competition Is More Likely To Occur When You Are Younger Than Your Friends.


4) Competing Against A Friend Can Lead to Friendship Defects.

5) Competing Against A Friend Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable About Yourself.

2) You May End Up Spending More Time With Your Friends (Non-Competitive Friends) than With Your Family. When you become close friends with someone, you may find yourself talking to that person all the time. This is especially true if you’re both in the same place or have a lot in common.

When you are friendly competitors against each other then you might be too busy with your own lives to see each other that often.

6) Competing Against A Friend Can Be Positive For Intimate Friendships.

The idea that “friends compete with friends” might be true sometimes. The good thing is that the vast majority of people are non-competitive towards their friends. This means that you don’t need to worry about these issues if you are a friendly type of person.

But, if you do find yourself competing against a friend then you may have to change your approach in the way you work with them. On the other hand, if you spend too much time together then certain aspects of your friendship may be affected.

Do not consider these points too seriously. These are just based on common thoughts in some communities and your own personal thoughts about friendship. In addition, there are many types of friendships.

Not all friendships are the same and everyone should be treated equally. This includes yourself.

If you are too friendly then you might be taken advantage of in some way. On the other hand, if you are a friendly competitor then you may be able to get a leg up on the person you are competing against. Just make sure that you don’t take things too far because your friendship could end up suffering as a result.

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While this post is primarily about competition in friendships, the competition in dating is a bit different but similar at the same time. Let us look at some of these similarities and differences in the next section.

3) There Are Similarities and Differences When Comparing Competition in Dating to Friendship Competition. As you may know, the similarities between friendship and dating competition are mostly related to your personal traits.

Sometimes people compete against each other just for the sake of having a goal in their lives. This is not a very sound reason to do so though. If you have friendly feelings toward a person then you should not try to compete against them.

If you don’t have feelings for them then it is OK to compete against them as long as it doesn’t turn into some type of obsession.

A healthy competition is fine as long as it does not affect the friendship in a negative way. The similarities include things such as competition in terms of appearance, personality, and other factors which contribute to your overall likability. In addition, the way you treat people around you also plays a part in this type of competition.

While these similarities may be important, it is also important to note the differences. The main difference is that friendships are more likely to be long-lasting while romantic relationships are more likely to “evolve” or “devolve”. On the other hand, if you don’t have positive feelings for someone then it might be OK to compete against them.

Again though, it could lead to obsession and this is never a good thing no matter what type of competition it is.

In any case, just remember that competing against a person can take its toll on you as well as your relationship with that person. Use your better judgment at all times and never hurt anyone while engaging in some type of competition.

Now that we’ve gone over the similarities and differences of friendship and dating competition, let’s talk about general competition in terms of careers.

4) Careers Are a Form of Competition.

The world of business is a cutthroat one. To succeed in any way you must be determined to reach your goals at all costs. If you are not willing to do what it takes then you are unlikely to succeed no matter how talented you may be.

You may ask, is this really fair?

Well, that depends on your outlook on life. Many people believe that hard work and talent alone are enough to make it in this world. While having these things certainly can’t hurt, they alone will not get you where you want to go.

While there is nothing wrong with setting high goals for yourself, it is also a good idea to stay grounded and have a somewhat more “realistic” approach to life. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have big dreams. It’s just that in order to achieve those dreams, you need to also have a solid plan on how to get there.

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Most people who are very successful can tell you about the many times they failed before they succeeded. Instead of being discouraged by failure, they used it as a learning experience and kept moving forward. One thing that most successful people also seem to share is the fact that they were not unrealistic in their expectations.

In other words, they did not expect to become successful overnight. Instead, they steadily worked their way up the ladder one rung at a time. One of the greatest setbacks that can occur to someone who is very talented but has unrealistic expectations is when they do become successful overnight.

Due to their sudden rise to fame and fortune, they are often unable to handle the pressure of instant stardom and it oftentimes leads them into self-destruction.

If you are truly gifted then you will be able to rise above this sudden onslaught of attention and avoid the wrath of falling into a pit of depression. Alternatively, you could take advantage of your success by continuing to work hard and hone your craft until you reach the top. Whatever you choose to do, the choice will be up to you.

In closing, it’s important to remember that competition in any form can be healthy if it motivates you to work harder. Even though you may be striving to reach the same goals as someone else, you should try to do it your way by expressing your individuality. No one ever reached their goal by following in someone else’s footsteps.

Just make sure whatever you do, to be the best YOU that you can be!

Good luck and most of all, have fun!

Sources & references used in this article:

Balancing cooperation and competition in human groups: The role of emotional algorithms and evolution by CH Loch, DC Galunic… – Managerial and Decision …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

When to take or forgo new product exclusivity: Balancing protection from competition against word-of-mouth spillover by R Peres, C Van den Bulte – Journal of Marketing, 2014 –

Employee agreements not to compete by HM Blake – Harvard Law Review, 1960 – JSTOR

Learning to compete, coordinate, and cooperate in repeated games using reinforcement learning by JW Crandall, MA Goodrich – Machine Learning, 2011 – Springer