As I was watching the end of the Miss USA 2011 competition last night, I was shocked when the last two contestants, Miss Tennessee and Miss California revealed they are best friends. The two held hands and shared words of encouragement while waiting for the final results. They really did look like BFFs.
What I found interesting was that as soon as the host announced that Miss California had won the coveted title, she let go of her friend’s hands, and Miss Tennessee was suddenly off the screen. I would have liked to have seen a hug between the friends or some recognition of each other afterwards. This got me thinking: is it possible to compete against your friend without someone’s feelings getting hurt? Is there really such a thing as friendly competition?
There is a competitive edge in all of us, even if we don’t always see it. It’s an edge that usually lays low on most days, but it will pop its head out at times, and once it’s out, it can be ugly. The thought of entering a competition with someone that you trust and are close to seems like a great idea. Everything seems better with your support system by your side, but, how long will that support last? If the two friends truly care about what they are competing for, it is almost impossible for them to not become competitive, because as much as you want it for your friend, you probably want it for yourself much more.
Last year, my roommate and I both applied for the same scholarship. My roommate and I are very close; we were also both good students and had similar grades, so it really could have gone to anyone. The difference between my roommate and I was that my roommate’s grandparent’s had given her parents the funds to cover her school tuition. This meant her school was already paid for, while my parents were saving every penny and taking out loans.
Suddenly, for me at least, emotions were involved. I began to really care about getting this scholarship, as much as I loved my roommate, I thought I deserved it. And yet school has ended for summer and I hadn’t received any word back from the school, so I assumed I didn’t get the scholarship, I was right.
A month later, when my roommate and I met in the city for lunch, she told me that she had in fact gotten the scholarship. I did not show it at the time, but I was hurt. I wondered why she got it over me, someone who genuinely needed it. I felt guilty for thinking those things after hearing my roommate’s news, but my feelings got involved in the competition and that is when things can get messy.
Do you think there is such a things as friendly competition? Have you ever competed against your best friend?