How to Deal With Competitive Women

competitive parents

Sometimes when I talk to my friend I get the feeling she is competing with me.  I might share a success I had and she doesn’t seem happy for me. I feel like I am a good friend and I am happy for her.  I need help dealing with competitive women. Should I talk to her about it?  Asked by Sally – Redmond, WA

Adult female friendships can be rewarding and challenging at times.  Life gets complicated as you older.  Husbands, careers, children and extended family make things more interesting. Let’s read what our panelists answered about Sally’s issue this week.

Amy BrownYes, you should. I’d recommend an approach that is a bit self-deprecating, to avoid raising her defenses. Something like, “I know this is silly, but I’m finding that I have been sensitive to a few things we’ve talked about. Can I share what I’ve been feeling and get your read on it?”… When she says yes, say “I appreciate that we can share our experiences with each other. Lately, when I’ve shared something like xxxx, it has felt as though you aren’t as excited or supportive as I’d hoped. Am I being overly sensitive here?”

I have a friend like this. We’ve been friends for over 20 years. I’ve come to accept that her ‘one up man’s ship’ is her insecurities rearing their ugly head. I’ll call her out on it (gently) but I also don’t expect her to change. And she has enough other great qualities that I want to keep her in my life. In other words, I try to accept her and still be an honest friend. It works for us. I hope you and your friend can come to a place that works for both of you. Amy B. – 40 something

Amy C.I sometimes feel like I have never left high school. Competition between women — even friends — exists, as much as we wish it wouldn’t. It’s been my experience, however, that it usually is the result of something else. Your friend might have some issues you don’t know about: trouble with her marriage, financial issues she is ashamed to share, self-confidence problems. Perhaps it’s not that she isn’t happy for you, but rather that she is envious or disappointed or discouraged, and your success is inadvertently rubbing salt in a wound.

The fact that you are picking up on her feeling of discomfort is important. Perhaps you should be sensitive next time you have something to share, or even ask her if anything is bothering her.   She might even be looking for an opportunity to open up about what is bothering her.   Amy C. – 40 something

heleneTozierIf you two are friends then talk to her about your concerns. Friendship to me means you can honestly talk with your friend. Now she may not tell you what you want to hear but she will be honest with you. If after having the talk you find the situation continues then you have to rethink the relationship. Friends are allowed to make mistakes, but repeating those mistakes again and again is not acceptable.  Helene – 60 something

Marge G.I wouldn’t recommend it. To talk to her will not alter her feelings, but only reinforce them as she will see it as criticism. Friendship is tough, isn’t it? And it is subject to the winds of change, since we all grow at different rates in different situations, and what might be threatening to one person may not be to another. My suggestion is to try removing anything that could be deemed competitive from your conversations and focus instead on mutual interests and the things that originally brought you together as friends. Continue to share your happiness for her successes. However, keep in mind that your accomplishments may be leading you to outgrowing the friendship and that she may become more of an acquaintance than a friend.   Water seeks its own level, as the wise men say, and although your cup may be filling to overflowing, hers may stay at half full. Both are acceptable, of course, and if you truly care for each other, the adjustments will be made out of consideration for each other. Marge – 70 something