5 Things To Remember if Competition Enters Friendship

Insight from Thriving Women

Writing contribution by Katie Elizabeth Kemp

competitive sport

Friendship is not a competitive sport.

– Kristina Kuzmic, ‘Truth Bomb Mom’

I grew up in a large competitive family. My family is probably way more competitive than yours. You can get that way when you’re one of 7 other people trying to get a bowl of the once-in-your-lifetime-supply of Lucky Charms before the box is gone. There was also competition around proving our greatness to win the approval and love of our parents. In my estimation, this pattern of sibling rivalry is Cain and Abel old.

comptitive friendship

But comparing or competing feels really gross in friendships and can destroy them from the inside out.

I’ve experienced the pain of this and it’s ugly.

It usually starts when I begin to measure myself on the invisible scales. Are you familiar with these scales? It sounds like, “Am I doing enough, am I pretty enough or skinny enough, ‘minimalist’ enough, making enough money, spiritual enough, happy enough? Do I have enough followers on social media or friends in real life? Are my gluten free-dairy free muffins better than hers?” (Okay, maybe no one cares about muffins—but you get the point— anything and everything can be measured). And the scale I measure myself with is usually a much tougher critic than what I measure someone else with. All of this ‘not enoughness’ in me becomes a breeding ground for insecurities which then can turn into competition.

Before I go on, I do want to say that competition can be an extremely healthy thing in certain arenas. Playing sports helped me reach my greatest potential. Healthy competition shaped my ego and grew humility. Sports taught me many great lessons, yet I crossed the line needing to be “in it to win it” within friendships.

Friendship is not a competitive sport

Then my friend Becki came along. She was the complete opposite of the Sir Mix a lot “Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt.” as there was nothing catty about her. She doesn’t play small measuring people—everyone in her eyes has an equal opportunity to have value and she voices it about them. She became a real-life example for how to diffuse competition in friendship.

not competitive friendship

You see, if you have a conversation with this Becki for more than 5 min, she’ll find something to point out and celebrate about you. It’s her spiritual secret sauce. She sneaks it in without anyone realizing. What I’ve learned from her example is that celebrating others disarms any kind of invisible competitive wedge. It automatically cleans the air.

As I’ve been an understudy to my friend, who is an understudy to Jesus, I came up with a list of how I can practice these same principles.

I created a go-to list in my mind for when the competitive side of me rears its ugly head.

1. CELEBRATE others. Do what Becki does- point out the greatness I see in others. Even if they’re bragging. Acknowledging another person’s greatness will take nothing away from my own. Be friends with Becki.

2. Become aware when I compare. Comparing is like going on a hunt searching for reasons to disqualify myself. It’s wasting energy on who I am not to who someone else is. I will use my energy on other stuff- life is just too short.

3. Jealousy requires I dig a little deeper. What if that other person’s life is actually a guide to direct me toward my own best life?

What is the deeper desire underneath my jealously?  How can I play big and take risks in my own life? What have I been called to do? How can I take steps towards that dream?

4. Know myself. What are my gifts, how am I wired? Who am I uniquely created to be and what brings me life? {Side note: here are a few tools I’ve found:}

● The Enneagram- ancient personality typing system that helps explain WHY people do what they do. There are 9 types and knowing mine has helped me know what it looks like to live in freedom and move towards health. It spells out each type’s unhealthy behaviors (yikes!) Here is a place to start online for you to discover more!

● Ask a trusted friend, mentor or spiritual director what they see as your gifts—it will not only bless you, but them! Receive what it is they say, see your own gifts, own them and speak life into them.

● Follow what makes you come alive. Those sparks of inspiration are not random. God hands out those sparks intentionally and abundantly. Take clues from when you were young- what did you get lost in? What did you delight in? Spend time returning to that little girl inside of you asking her what it is that she might do as an adult like you! Then twirl a few times.

● Listen—there is a still small voice that’s guiding your way. We have to get quiet and identify what that little whisper is telling us. It was put in there for a reason. “You were made on purpose, for a purpose.” -Angela Manuel Davis

5. Practice gratitude. Listen to Tara Mohr’s gratitude mp3 or Shawn Anchor’s Ted Talk for how to raise happiness levels through gratitude. When I am overwhelmed with gratitude in my own life, others happiness only enhances mine.

I want to throw away my mindset of scarcity and live with a mindset of abundance.

There may not be enough Lucky Charms in the box for everyone, but there is more than enough of the things we all want: love, acceptance, joy, fulfillment, freedom.

friendship not competition

Our life is too short to play the small game.

So, let’s be the kind of friends that call out the goodness we see in each other.

Let’s be the kind of people that play big in our own life being confident in who God created us to be drawing out the best in each other.

Let’s be the kind of friends that cheer each other on and encourage each other to dream bigger!

Let’s be the kind of person that abides in Love. Let’s practice being the kind of friends we’d want.


“When heaven meets the earth,

We will have no use for numbers

To measure who we are and what we’re worth.

When Heaven meets the earth,

We will have no need for mirrors

To tell us who to be

And where we fit into this awkward point of view.”

-Sleeping at Last, ‘Heaven Breaks’

About Katie

competitive friendshipKatie Elizabeth Kemp is a blogger who loves sharing stories about finding God’s abundance in difficulties. She’s an aspiring author working on resources for women, but her title as “mom” is one she cherishes most. She’s married to Adam, a life coach, and together they dream about the next adventure they’ll take. Most days you’ll find her hostessing the neighborhood, sneaking vegetables into her baking, doing yoga or creating art.

Connect with Katie on her website, Instagram and Facebook


Learn more about how Becki Parr is empowering women at My Trades of Hope


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  1. Tanvi Rastogi
    July 13, 2017, 8:27 EST

    This is such a positive and reinforcing message. We must celebrate everyone for who they are and give ourselves a little love too.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • MightyD
      July 13, 2017, 8:57 EST

      Amen! Spread the love around as we love who we uniquely are! xo~D

  2. Rachel
    July 13, 2017, 10:25 EST

    I struggle with this regularly. I have to quit the comparison game. I would love your list on a printable so I can keep it close by!

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:20 EST

      hah! YES!!! LOVE this idea.

  3. Taylor || The Millen
    July 13, 2017, 10:44 EST

    This post is so important! Thank you for sharing and inspiring, Katie! Celebrating others is so important, ESPECIALLY when it comes to friends.

    xo, Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:11 EST

      Taylor! Absolutely. Nothing is worth tainting a friendship. They make life sparkly 😀

  4. Kristen
    July 13, 2017, 11:56 EST

    I love your tips! I’ve been guilty of this so much, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that its just a waste of time and energy.

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:13 EST

      YES!!! And as I get older I realize we don’t have as much time as we think we do. 🙁 SOOO, like you said- let’s spend it on who we do want to become!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jenny
    July 13, 2017, 5:58 EST

    This is a GREAT post with a very valuable and important life lesson. Such great tips!

  6. Ginny Olson Batie
    July 14, 2017, 6:23 EST

    Great advice ❤️

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:19 EST

      PRAISE GOD!! yay!!

  7. Erica @ Coming up Ro
    July 14, 2017, 2:22 EST

    I lovelovelove this! I’m all about community over competition and these are great ways to shut down the competitive spirit if it starts to rise up.

  8. Kate
    July 14, 2017, 5:32 EST

    Such thoughtful tips for such a hard task at times. I completely agree that it can be toxic to a friendship and it’s so great that you’ve found someone you can learn from and model behavior after.

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:14 EST

      Absolutely, and we can all model this behavior, and it will be a great ripple effect of goodness everywhere! YAY!

  9. Elizabeth Brico
    July 15, 2017, 9:53 EST

    This is a great post. And I say that as someone who is a non-Christian. I still totally agree, even if I don’t have the same religious perspective. I need a Becki in my life! I have definitely been prey to friendship jealousy and competition, and it has 100% been a reflection of my own insecurities. I actually ruined a pretty good friendship this way…never again. Great tips.

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:16 EST

      OH thank you so much for your comment, it means so much! I think we can find those truths anywhere- it’s the great mystery of how LOVE works!! Pulling us all forward. I’m so glad you’re shutting the door to that old way and choosing a new one. You are worth it.

  10. Leo
    July 16, 2017, 1:56 EST

    I often find myself comparing and competing with friends and to tell you the truth it actually ruined one and another was in the verge of being ruined. I’ll remember this post and the pointers you have. Thanks so much

    • Katie Kemp
      July 16, 2017, 8:19 EST

      I know it tainted friendships in my own life, and I feel the pain you’re talking about. But friend, there’s a place in you that can never be measured- you are worth it.

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