What to say when you are criticized for being competitive

Some folks seem to think that competition is a “dirty” word and everyone should be given a trophy just for showing up. Whether you win or lose a game or a contract, competition always makes you stronger.

For people who have grown up in “generation snowflake” who can’t cope if someone has a different point of view and think everyone should cater to their individual needs, it is going to be a huge wake-up call once they realize that they are competing in a global market. People who have grown up in India and China know what it means to have discipline, work ethic and to compete for university placement and jobs at the best companies. They are hungry for the challenge, the rewards, and they will eat their competition.

Top NBA stars are rewarded with high pay because they are best. Mark Cuban lives in a 23,700-square-foot, square ten-bedroom home because he is a competitive businessman.

If you’re getting slammed for being too competitive, here are few snappy comebacks you can use in your defense.


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7 Best comebacks when people call you competitive

1. Great things never came from comfort zones.

2. I compete with no one… I do what i need to do. If that threatens you that is your issue.

3. I like that you try to compete with me – at least you have a goal. Unrealistic and unobtainable, but a goal.

4. If you’re not going to all the way, why go at all.

5. I’m not competitive as long as I’m winning!

6. You’re right that it’s not a competition. But if it was, I would be winning.

7. If someone’s doing well, don’t hate them. Do better.

Definition of a competitive person

People have different levels of competitiveness. But being called ‘competitive’ usually means that a person is being intensely competitive. Someone competitive has a strong drive to succeed and win.

They strive and do their best, especially when there is a clear winner and loser. These individuals do not want to lose–  they are motivated and goal-oriented. Most of them may even enjoy and crave challenges and obstacles.

Someone competitive is highly focused and determined. They may be willing to go to great lengths to achieve their goals. While being competitive is normal and can be a positive trait, it can be harmful if it’s too much.

These tendencies take away the fun in competition and affect the person’s well-being. High levels of competitiveness can lead to excessive stress or anxiety. It’s essential to balance healthy competition and consideration for others.

How to deal with being called competitive

Being competitive can be positive or negative. Too much competitiveness to the point of forgetting other’s well-being is not good. So, the word ‘competitive’ is subjective and depends on context. When you are called ‘competitive’ negatively, you may feel hurt and disappointed. Here are some ways to deal with it better.

1. Listen to the feedback when people call you competitive: A crucial step to positive change is listening. It can be challenging to listen to criticisms, but remember that it’s for the best and can help you improve. Listen to what they have to say and look into what parts you can work on improving.

2. Reflect on your behaviour when people call you competitive: If you take some time to reflect, you will know which behaviors are problematic and need work. Ask yourself questions like “Are there times when I come across as aggressively competitive?”, “How do I usually react when put in a competitive space?” Identifying how you respond in situations is a huge help to improvement.

3. Practice sportsmanship: Competitiveness is good when it’s at a healthy level. Being competitive should come with good sportsmanship. Competitions are more fun with sportsmanship. In your journey to change, you can start slowly practicing sportsmanship. Try to be more chill about your responses and have fun. Acknowledge others’ successes, congratulate them on their achievements, and be gracious in defeat. Being a sore loser is not cool at all!

4. Focus on personal growth: Focus more on growing and improving than just the short-term goals like winning. Be more interested in having valuable learnings than just beating your competitors. Winning should be a bonus. This will help you grow and improve as a person. You can start by setting personal goals. Work towards them, regardless of how others perform.

5. Seek support: Competitiveness can be very stressful and can harm your overall health. If you feel like being called competitive is affecting and disrupting your daily life, seek help. You should visit a therapist or counsellor. They can help you work through these feelings. Experts would also offer tips on changing behaviour.

It’s important to remember that being competitive can be a positive trait. But balance is important. Balance it with consideration for others. Focusing on personal growth and improvement should be a priority.

Cohen’s brother was ultra competitive and turned a lot of people off

Cohen’s brother was ultra-competitive, and it turned a lot of people off. He was always trying to one-up everyone around him, whether it was in sports, academics, or even just casual conversations. His behaviour made it difficult for people to connect with him, and many found him to be arrogant and insufferable.

Cohen was tired of his brother’s competitive ways explained how his need to win everything at all costs was hurting his relationships and how it made him come across as unapproachable. He encouraged his brother to try and be more humble and to focus on building connections with people instead of always trying to win.

His brother listened and toned his competitive nature down in his presence. He still couldn’t play Monopoly without trying to win, but he became a little easier to be around on a day to day basis.

The Role of counselling and self care

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When you are dealing with being called competitive by others and you find it stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counselor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Better Help is a great resource where you can talk to a counselor from the comfort of your own home. 

Taking care of your own needs isn’t selfish, and you will feel better in the long run.

More comebacks you might like

Got any comments, questions or tips for dealing with someone who says you’re too competitive? Share them in the comments below.

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