S:     Do you think that rivalry between friends is a good thing?

A:     Why are you asking? Does it have anything to do with us?

S:     No, not at all. We don’t compete because you don’t stand a chance. I’m just asking.

A:     Wow, you’re so humble and gracious. I bet people love that about you. To answer your question, I think it depends on the nature of the rivalry. Different people compete in different ways. Friends who compete may end up improving or ruining each other. It also depends on what they’re competing over. Work? A game? A debate? Another person? The last one usually doesn’t end well.

S:     I don’t think it’s such a good thing. I mean, as children we’re more comfortable with competing since we don’t put our egos and self-esteem at stake at that age. So, friendships survive competition. They even flourish because of it. But later in life, nothing remains so simple. Everything means something. Every victory, every defeat is a representation of one thing or the other. So I don’t think friends should compete especially when they’re adults.

A:     As I said, it depends. But I have seen what you’re talking about. Anger, resentment, even hate – all hidden behind a smile. But I don’t agree with you when you say that friends shouldn’t compete. Can friends be rivals? Can rivals be friends? Absolutely. I think accepting victory with humility and defeat with grace is something everyone should learn to do. Friendships don’t survive competition because sometimes friends compete unnecessarily. That could be because of insecurity or jealousy. If two people are having a hard time being friends because one beat the other at something, then maybe they shouldn’t be friends.

S:     May be. I guess when we’re children, we’re unaware of our limitations so it is easy to handle defeat. We are optimistic. We feel that we can do better. But as adults, we are more conscious of our weaknesses and our inability to overcome them, and when someone, even a friend reminds us of our limitations, it makes us extremely uncomfortable.