Overly-competitive people have to win. They HAVE to win. When they are in competitive mode they have little regard for others' feelings. They constantly feel the need to one-up others. If you have this, they have one better. If you have that, they have one newer. If you accomplished thus or so, guess what, they can go one farther!
Competitive people are happiest when they are up against people who feel like losers. They trash talk or brag, when the truth is, they often have very low self-esteem or low self image, hence they gain in their self image, by winning.
Competitive people often appear like a child in the fact they have to do better, look better or come out better than someone else. Have you ever spotted an adult whom you have great respect for, get in a game of competition, say, basketball or golf, and they suddenly start bragging and acting immature? They easily become the butt of others' jokes, unfortunately.
Overly-competitive people do not like to look bad, (well, who does, right?) so this becomes more than just winning or losing, it becomes who's going to come out smelling sweet in the end -and receiving a little praise for it!
Overly-competitive people, deep down are great people, once you get past the little competitive edge, and once you get past the fact they want to turn everything into a competition. Ever heard this before, "Hey, I bet....." There it is! That smooth little competitive challenge!
Unlike the jealous person, overly-competitive people will work for what they want, and they won't blame others for what they don't have. They will just figure out a way to come out looking better when it's all said and done.
Overly-competitive people hate to lose. And you may see an ugly side to them, if they do. If they keep losing on the job, they might even raise a ruckus or walk out. They've been known to sabotage in retaliation. They usually don't take losing sitting down!
People are more likely to be competitive when:
They measure their self-worth by comparing themselves to others.
The competition is about something important to them. For example, someone who takes pride in their intelligence may be driven to compete in spelling bees but not a dance contest.
Their competitor has a similar skill level. People are more likely to compete against someone who is a little better or a little worse than them, as opposed to a complete novice or master in the field.
They know their competitor personally. People tend to be more emotionally invested when comparing themselves to friends than to strangers. Individuals are also more likely to be competitive in smaller groups.
They have an audience. The presence of one’s peers can increase the pressure to perform well (goodtherapy,org)
While a little healthy competition is good, creating some fun and enjoyment, and possibly motivating people to do better or try hard, the overly-competitive can become quickly agitated, even in friendly fun.
Interacting with overly-competitive people can be hard. Confront them about their excessive energy if you can. Take it in stride, if you can. Let them have their "Fifteen Minutes of Fame" so to speak, and move on.
Generally, people who are competitive about their houses, kids, dinner parties, and so on are either insecure or arrogant and want to prove superiority. If they are the insecure type, praising their accomplishments and staying calm and friendly may make them see you as an ally or as less of a threat. If they are arrogant, you may want to speak up and toot your own horn as well or change the subject when they start boasting. Arrogant people tend to be narcissistic and status-conscious, so if you exude confidence and appear to have high status and accomplishments, they are more likely to respect you. If this isn't your style, walk away and find a less self-centered person to talk to. (Psychologytoday.com/how to keep your cool with competitive people)
Adapted from Luke Gregory's Book -Difficult Relationships