How to Deal With a Friend Who Turns Everything Into a Competition

Having a competitive friend isn't easy.

If you've got a pal who's cutthroat when it comes to playing sports, doing well on a test, or just about anything else, it can make you feel very uncomfortable, and if you're not a naturally competitive person, behavior like this might even have a negative impact on your friendship.

Curious how to deal with a friend who turns everything in a competition? Scroll down for tips!

Tell Your Friend How You Feel

Whenever you're having an issue with a friend, the first thing you should do is let them know how you feel. However, in this case you need to go beyond just telling your pal that you aren't a fan of their competitive tendencies. Take that a step further and explain how their propensity to turn everything into a competition is impacting you.

Use specific examples as it pertains to your relationship. For example, if you have a buddy who is super competitive when it comes to earning good grades in school, say something along the lines of, "It makes me very uncomfortable when you constantly ask me what I get on my tests." Chances are your buddy will back off, or at least try to do better in the future.

Friends Talking to Each Other
(via Unsplash)


Don't Feed in to Your Pal's Competitive Tendencies

If you know your friend has an especially competitive personality (and their competitive nature bothers you), try your hardest not to feed into those tendencies. In other words, if your pal goes on and on about how they're going to trounce you in an upcoming scrimmage at soccer practice, resist the urge to fight back and engage in competitive chatter of your own.

While it might be instinctual for you to defend yourself in that way, if you get competitive too, it will only further encourage your friend and make them even more unbearable. Instead, if your pal starts up with the cutthroat chit-chat, remind them you're just playing a game.


Avoid Situations That Are Naturally Competitive

This may sound fairly obvious, but if you've got a pal who can't control their competitive nature, do your best to avoid situations that are naturally or inherently competitive. That means no game nights, no "friendly" basketball games, no quiz-heavy study sessions and so on. If your pal doesn't change after you let them know how you feel, then you need to take as much control of the situation as possible and reduce the number of instances in which your pal's cutthroat side will come out.

Girl playing soccer
(via Shutterstock)


Praise Your Pal When They Deserve It

Chances are, part of the reason why your pal is so competitive is because they're looking for praise. Whether it's on the field, in the classroom or elsewhere, their competitive nature could very well be fueled by a desire for constant recognition or approval. If you sense that might be the case, then don't hesitate to let your friend know when they've done a good job after they do well on a pop quiz or score a goal during a tough field hockey game.


Boost Your Friend's Self-Esteem in Other Ways

Competitiveness also comes from those with low self-esteem who feel like they need to be validated at every turn. With that in mind, though you might not approve of their competitive nature, let them know what qualities of theirs you do like. Don't be afraid to praise their honesty or loyalty, and be sure to let them know they're deeply valued. By supporting your friend and boosting their fragile self-esteem, you're giving them the validation they need from you without encouraging those competitive traits. This should help your pal become less critical and more tolerant of themself.

Friends Supporting One Another
(via Unsplash)


For more friend-related advice, click HERE for a list of signs your pal is toxic.