Competing With Our Girlfriends Is A Big Waste Of Energy


I had to learn to stop making everything a competition with my friends. Source: ShutterStock

Another day, another made-up celeb feud. What is it this time? Jessica Chastain responded to the rumor that she didn’t like fellow actress Jennifer Lawrence. Jessica went a step further though, saying not only does she respect Jennifer, but in general, she supports women in her same profession.

The final line from her statement really stuck with me: “With support and encouragement, we help to inspire this industry to create opportunities for women. And as we all know: a great year for women in film, is just a great year for film.”

Basically, when one of her female peers succeeds, that means that things are actually improving for her and others, as well. I definitely wish I had been wise enough to take that approach back when I was playing sports in high school. I was crazy competitive, especially with field hockey. I worked super hard and was really committed, so I felt that it was only fair that I would be considered one of the best people on the team because I obviously cared more.

If someone on my team scored a goal and got more attention when I felt like I had a really good game, I couldn’t stand it. Even if we won! On the outside I was totally smiles and high fives, because I was embarrassed by how competitive I would get inside my head. I absolutely loved my teammates as friends, and I knew it was awful that my competitive self was somehow taking away their success. Even if I wasn’t vocalizing it, I have to think that it slipped out in my attitude from time to time.

During my junior year of field hockey, our team was actually really good. As we started winning more games, I started really that this wasn’t all because of me. Yeah, I was helping the team, but the fact was that everyone was working together. I gradually stopped caring about my personal statistics, and saw the season as a big picture. Everyone on the team had to do well if we were going to make it far. By that logic, there was no way I could keep up my behavior of needing to best everybody.

It’s funny, because even though I’d been playing well in previous seasons, when my team wasn’t doing well as a collective group, it had been way harder for me to stand out as an individual player anyway. Not only that, but I actually think taking a less competitive approach actually made me better because every move wasn’t so calculated. I could just naturally do what I loved and that’s when the best me came through.

The next season, we didn’t win as many games, but as I remembered this was my senior year, I was able to keep that competitive nature at bay. That approach to not indulge my insecurity with competitiveness just started to seep into my personality. In addition to sports, I also started caring less about needing to be the best in the class, and instead wanted to really enjoy what I was learning in school.

The thing was I realized there was a time and a place for getting a little competitive. I still liked winning games, but I realized that it wasn’t worth it at the expense of purposely setting out to outshine my teammates or discredit the hard-working players on other teams. Even if other players from other teams were getting attention, the respect for our sport was gradually growing in our community.

It’s one thing to let a little competition motivate you from time to time, but it’s quite another to let it dominate your life and ultimately how you define yourself. At the end of the day, we have to respect those who have similar goals of wanting to do well and understand that often the road to success is more rewarding when it’s not just one person, but everyone, getting the chance to shine.

Do you think you are a competitive person? Have you ever found yourself competing against the people you should have been working with? Tell me in the comments.


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Posted in: Confessions
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  • Brooklyn

    I’m an actress, and a lot of my friends are too. We’ve all worked professionally, and often end up competing for the same roles. I know they’re my friends, but I do want to be better than them. It is my job, after all. It’s buisness, isnt it? it’s not supposed to be personal. Having friends in the biz complicates that. We all want work and only some of us get it. How do I separate work from friendship when I have friends at work?

  • Meg

    I’m not super competitive, but the sports I play have a lot of popular girls on them, and I’m not a popular girl. So even if I have more skill than another girl, the other girl will get recognised, passed to, or empathised with, and I won’t. That just makes it hard for us to work well together as a team.

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  • Taylor

    Omg I’m the exact same way and I thought I was the only one like this…. I guess not though. I will definitely take this in to account next time I play basketball. Or any other sport for that matter. My competitiveness is good sometimes but other times it kills me, it can be hard to work with and really gets to my mind.