Disclaimer: I am not a competitive person.
Don't get me wrong. I like to win; but, if I lose, that's OK too. Whether I'm playing a board game with the family or coming up with an amazing idea at work, it's more important to me that everyone involved have a positive experience.
I realize that's not so with everyone. There are some people I avoid when playing a game because they not only have to win, they have to make everyone else lose. If you've played with someone like that, you'll understand what I mean. There are others who get upset if they lose. They pout or get angry, which casts a shadow over those who win. OK, maybe I'm painting these competitive people in a bad light, but here's a recent example.
The other day, I experienced the second type of competitive person. We were playing a card game with partners. One of the partners on another team was hesitant to participate because he'd never played the game before. We talked him in to playing and partnered him with the strongest player, hoping he'd feel more confident with an accomplished partner. To be honest, I don't think I've ever seen anyone play the game so poorly and, of course, his team lost. We all praised him for playing and pointed out some of the few good plays he had. Well, all of us but his partner who grumbled and sulked. I could tell that his partner's response to losing was deeply affecting the new player. He apologized repeatedly and said he'd never play again.
I pulled the sulking partner aside and encouraged him to make sure his partner knew that there were no hard feelings. I said "It's more important to build someone up than to win." Thankfully, he agreed and made amends with his partner - so much so that the partner ended up smiling and laughing at his silly mistakes, vowing to do better next time.
Life is like that, too. We should deal with everyone we meet with the goal of building them up. We receive enough beat downs; we don't need to add on. Just as the saying goes, people may not remember what you said, but they'll remember how you made them feel.
Make everyone you meet feel valued and respected.