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My ‘friend’ is so competitive with me

Dear Fiona, I’m 18-years-old and have been friends with one girl for nearly a year and her parents are also friendly with mine. I thought she was okay at first but now realise that she competes with me in everything.

She makes out she’s perfect and if anyone makes any suggestion she’s not, she goes into overdrive to prove them wrong.

On several occasions she has been really rude to me. My parents said her parents are exactly the same but she’s not like this with anyone else so why me?

Annoyed, Ballymena

Dear Annoyed,

Contrary to the belief that extreme competitiveness is a sign that someone thinks they’re superior to others and wishes to prove it, it’s more likely to indicate an underlying chronic low self-esteem. Those who value themselves and have a healthy sense of self don’t need to constantly pitch themselves against others to prove their worth. Perfectionism is also a sign of low self-esteem and is commonly found in people with hyper-critical parents. If the parents are judgmental and criticise their child all the time, he or she will strive to attain perfection to win their approval and end the criticism.

This desire for acceptance and the need to prove oneself then resonates throughout all areas of their lives into adulthood. Attack is the greatest form of defence so it’s possible she finds you threatening.

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