For the male members of WP: Competition in male friendships

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regularguy
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23 Aug 2008, 2:54 am

Guys,

I need some advice. I have been hanging around with a local guy that I met just about a year ago. Like me, he is an Aspie. During that time, he and I have become really good friends. While I don't like using the term "best friend," Ryan is that kind of friend. (I avoid the term "best friend" because I have several good friends who are at that level--the kind of guys who help and support me a lot and are fun to be around, too.) Ryan has been a great support through a lot of stuff and we see lots of things the same way. I helped him with his recent move and he's going to help me with my upcoming move. It's really good to have friends like him, especially since I often find it very hard to make friends and frequently misinterpret some of the simplest social conventions.

Here's the only problem. We're both pretty competitive about a lot of things. I don't mind--heck, I even like--a certain amount of competition with my male friends. Some of the other guys I am friends with and I have a way of pushing each other and motivating each other to do more and get more out of life. On the other hand, I have lost a couple of good friends over the years because the competition between me and them turned into an all-out contest: we were pretty much each trying to beat the other guy at everything, all the time. After a while, a lot of resentment built up and we had a falling out or just stopped having any contact.

Recently, Ryan and I have gotten a bit competitive over things. For instance, we both happen to be moving to new homes around the same time. Ryan commented to me over the weekend, "I really hope your new apartment isn't a lot better than mine." Ryan's new place is cool; it's got enough room and is in a great neighborhood. I recently paid the first month's rent on my new apartment. As much as I hate to admit it, I have gotten a competitive impulse about it. Part of me is thinking I ought to try to one-up Ryan just to try to outdo him. I know that may seem silly, but I want to be honest about this. It does me no good to ask for advice and then lie about the situation.

The truth is that I can't win this particular contest (to the extent that it is a contest). Ryan's got a little more room and he's paying a little less for it than I am. To be fair, he got a really good deal that is probably slightly below market value. Even so, I really don't care about that. In fact, I am really happy for him! I'm making a number of changes in my life and the new home will be good for me. I looked around on my own and found a place that suits me. I didn't even think about Ryan during the process, except to remember a couple of places I saw with him when he was searching for apartments last month.

To me, the friendship is a lot more important than any competition between Ryan and me. Yet the competitive impulse is there and Ryan could be a formidable foe. I don't think it's wise to just ignore that impulse. At the same time, I don't want to indulge it heedlessly.

I know I can't be the only guy who have ever faced this situation. It seems to be a recurring theme in friendships among men. What do you guys think? How have you handled similar situations? How would you recommend dealing with this one?

Thanks!


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Steve
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"I can make it, I know I can.
You broke the boy in me, but you won't break the man."
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Hector
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23 Aug 2008, 5:17 am

Try to be a good loser in whatever competition you make with him. If he does better than you at something, concede that he has. And also consider whether certain things are even worth competing for.



regularguy
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24 Aug 2008, 11:16 pm

Thanks, Hector. I will follow your suggestions.

It seems some things are not worth competing for. The apartment issue really seems silly as I look back on it. After all, I am thrilled for Ryan that he has found a good place to live. To me, that is a lot more important than trying to do "better" than him.

Thanks.


_________________
All the best to you,

Steve
--
"I can make it, I know I can.
You broke the boy in me, but you won't break the man."
--John Parr, "Man in Motion"


carturo222
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29 Aug 2008, 8:26 am

regularguy wrote:
Ryan has been a great support through a lot of stuff and we see lots of things the same way. (...) In fact, I am really happy for him! (...) To me, the friendship is a lot more important than any competition between Ryan and me.


Have you tried talking directly with your friend, and telling him all these things you feel? Being honest is always the best strategy when you want to keep someone's goodwill.