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12/23/09

do i have to post christmas stuff?

Merry Christmas. Okay, let us move on. 99% of Christmas posts are boring.


Anyway, thanks to everyone on their offers of congratulations on the new job. It is very exciting and I appreciate all the support. I will probably provide more details as they come along, but if you are dying to know which school/district you will be disappointed. Internet safety, friends.


I will say I am teaching 10th grade English, which is my favorite grade ever. So! Hurray!


Onwards and upwards with the arts. Perhaps it is the abundance of really annoying Christmas "Newsletters," (real or imagined*) floating around, or perhaps it is the plethora of family parties with Type A personalities, but I've been thinking about competition lately, and how it manifests itself, and how I specifically react to it.

Here's a Holiday Confession: I will end a friendship if it turns competitive. No exceptions. If it is a relative involved, I will go out of my way to avoid them.

It's not very nice, and I know it.

I think my aversion to competitiveness started in college, at a very specific point. At one point in my life, I found myself in an relatively isolated and academic environment, consisting of people who fought very hard to be included. And believe me friends, we competed for everything. Not just grades (which is at least sort of understandable in a school environment,) but family backgrounds (whose family was most likely to buy them a house upon marriage,) weight, and even significant others. Heaven forbid someone find themselves in a relationship, because your significant others were most assuredly included in the competition. Business Major? Good. Pre-Law? Excellent. Pre-Med? Better. In actual medical school? I think we have a winner.

I'm embarrassed to say it was easy to get caught up in the competition. It wasn't until I had removed myself from the particular environment that I realized that my facebook status shouldn't try and prove a point. (Namely, "I'm more successful than you.")


I also distanced myself from a lot of the people from that situation. Even though a lot of the people had many excellent qualities, I just started to realize that competition is the black hole of friendship. It sucks out all the funny, caring, loyal aspects of a person, and a friendship, and leaves all the insecurities. It sucks. (Bawhahahaha. Pun.)


But like always, I started to feel guilty, and in a fit of Christmas spirit, recently tried to rekindle a friendship that had been good in many ways, but mostly based in competition.

Said friend immediately engaged in my least favorite form of interpersonal combat: the "I am deliberately trying to care less about our shared history. I care LESS than you do. I WIN."


Game over, friend.



How do you deal with competition?









*link


ps: I know, NOT CHRISTMASY. I understand if the rest of you are so filled with Christmas that this post flies right under the radar.

18 comments:

MamaBear said...

sounds smart to me. you know what wrecks a friendship for you and are avoiding it.

let these people marinate in age for a few years, though, and sometimes they mature out of it. sometimes not (obviously).

i hate the negativity so many people exude and am trying to surround myself with positive energy. it's hard. i'm lonely. but that's the goal!

repeat after me: bah, humbug. you don't have to be swept away with christmas to enjoy and even love it. have a good one.

Lisa Louise said...

those types of relationships exhaust me, Growing up my aunt felt the need to have my cousin and I compete in absolutely anything we did. If I played the piano then she started, etc. To this day she and I don't have a very good relationship.

Carley A. T. said...

I don't read too many SAHM blogs for that reason, they always make me feel like I'm failing in some way. Like, how dare I don't think/say/express that my child is perfect in every way!

Booger to them.

I think people get competitive because it's the only way they can feel good about their empty lives.

(I wanted to say soul deprived, but that's mean, isn't it?)

Lena said...

Oh man MCB. I was seriously 2 seconds from doing a "newsletter", til I realized that everyone who reads my blog would already know what was going on with me. And therefor there was no point. I liked yours though.

The Boob Nazi said...

My Christmas post is funny, don't you wait. (Funny as in I almost peed my pants. It might not be that funny to you. Oh well.)

I'm a TERRIBLY competitive person. I try hard not to let that enter a friendship unless we're playing a game. And then, people know I'm super competitive, so they laugh it off.

This next paragraph will probably make you want to throw up....

I once "competed" with a girl as to whose relative had the worst cancer. I was just talking about my brother who had a brain tumor, and she HAD to mention her husband, who had leg cancer. I'm like, BRAIN TUMOR. She was like, METAL ROD IN LEG. At one point, we were "arguing" over whose limp was worse.... (And I'm sorry, but a brain tumor at age 8 beats out leg cancer anytime.)

It was a low point in my competitive life. But that's because she was a one-upper, and it drove me INSANE.

I try not to be competitive with my friends when we're not doing competitive stuff, but sometimes, people make it SO HARD.

Aunt Spicy said...

Yahoo! Congrats! On the job that is. Not on the I-am-the-best-ever-you-can-never-be-better-friend. Long past that phase of my life. Long past.

Confession, my blog post is a no content christmas-y place holder. I'll just save you the visit. But I do hope you have a super happy christmas!

And really, I would take a 10th grade English class from you anyday! Congrats!

Melinda said...

First, I love sophomores too, but then I love every grade except freshman. Freshman I tolerate.

Competition makes me completely uncomfortable. Two anecdotes - mainly because the presents are wrapped and I feel a need to share.

I have four children; smart, funny, adorable - all the stuff kids are supposed to be. When we moved into a new ward I became friends with a woman who could only make conversation with me when she was comparing her children with mine. I can only guess that she was insecure and needed to make sure her parenting skills were adequate. Not sure when parenting became competitive Guess I missed the RS bulletin that week. Fortunately we moved and lack of proximity killed the friendship. (I also hate confrontation.)

Second anecdote. I just finished a graduate program to become a principal. A teacher friend and I did the most of the courses together. Consistently I scored higher on papers and tests. I wouldn't know this except he ALWAYS asked what I got. At a point it just became embarrassing. However, I teach with this guy so I can't really avoid him. Fortunately, I'm done with the program and he's not. He can spend the next four classes he has to take comparing himself to someone else.

Competition just wears me out. I won't even play those review games the kids love. Someone always cheats, someone take it too seriously and it always turns into a big brouhahah.

Thanks for allowing me to share and merry Christmas.

Kimbooly said...

I'm just laughing because your blog-stalking is pretty limited if you're looking for non-christmassy posts. You must be so bored! ; )

You'll have to just go sew.

And I'll have you know, when I had a few little "Oh how I love these beautiful color-turning leaves" fall thoughts, I kept them to myself. Just so you wouldn't have to read about them and stop blog-stalking me. : )

Yes, consider me a very loyal friend. (Oh, and don't gag if I do fly off the handle and end up posting christmas pics and holiday cheer mush)

Kimbooly said...

Ok, I'm also laughing at MamaBear's comment (in a GOOD way, of course!), just because of the irony of "i hate...negativity... and am trying to surround myself with positive energy," almost immediately followed by "bah, humbug."

(Don't worry, MamaBear, I know what you meant overall. I'm just amused at how it looked at first glance.)

Amy said...

Although I do think that "I am more successful than you" would be a truly awesome facebook status.

They had a funny CHristmas newsletter take-off on www.lightrefreshmentsserved.com

gurrbonzo said...

Oh, so much to say.

This may make me sound like a jerk, but I kind of find it soothing when people get competitive, bc I feel more secure knowing that THEY feel insecure enough around me to start listing off whatever they need to list off. You with me?

Immature, I know, but what can I say? We're awesome but don't need to tell them that. So if they need to tell US they are awesome, it just underscores our own awesomeness that much more.

Deep, I know.

Talina said...

I'm totally with Boob Nazi and Gurrbonzo.
I am SUPER competitive with games and such. My family LOVES games and the competitiveness is awesome. I discovered this last week that this is not true of my in-laws. My husband and I tried to teach them some fun, family games that are a HUGE success with my family. . . it almost came to blows. There was much whining, yelling and storming off. So I had to reign in my natural competitive spirit.

When it comes to competing over "Who's life is better," I'm like Gurrbonzo. I never feed it, but I kind of like that people are trying. Instead of trying to up a one-upper (I hate one-uppers), I just nod and try to give them my "I'm-not-going-to-compete-with-you-because-I-am-so-much-better-than-you-you'll-never-catch-up-PLUS-I'm-being-the-better-person-by-NOT-competing-so-BOO-YAH!" smile. I like to compete passive-aggressively ;)

Mrs. Clark said...

Competition with friends = frenemies. Not so good. I just let them think they win--and distance myself.

But I have to tell you about a Christmas letter we received last year. A couple we know, who are very nice, sent out one of those not-so-subtle we're-better-than-you newsletters. They talked about their budding pearl business (so they can write off trips to China) and chattered on about their trip to England, where they enjoyed watching stallions being inseminated at a prestigious horse farm near their ancient family home. I kid you not.

I think one of their kids pointed out the TMI of that remark. Their letter this year was MUCH more humble.

Brooke said...

I totally feel Boob Nazi's pain in the "which cancer is worse" type of competitiveness. Sometimes life sucks and I just want to be validated, you know?

ChristyLove said...

Personally, I love competition, but only applied to board games or similar such dumb things that have no real life application.

When I got married, life seemed to turn into one giant My-Husband's-Better-Than-Yours-a-thon. I'm only now clawing my way free of it. GAH.

Kristen Cawley said...
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Kristen Cawley said...
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Stephanie said...

@ Kristen:Okay, so I hit publish before getting to the end/other comment. sorry.

But, if you are reading this, you should know the following:

1. I do the exact same thing when needing to shake a hand a church. Fill my hands with scriptures! Tithing slip! Anything! Elbows is a much better idea.

2. E-friends for life!