Posted by:
Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman

December 22, 2014


The Overachieving Friend

Everyone has one—a type A pal who expects the very best from themselves and others. This is the friend who runs marathons, volunteers at the food bank, bakes a perfect chocolate chip cookie, and (oh, yeah) still manages to work 40-plus hours a week and make a hefty salary.

These dear friends can be dangerously difficult to cope with sometimes. Without meaning to, they can make you feel completely stressed out and inadequate. Here’s how to relax, deal, and—in your own way—measure up.

Don’t make comparisons. Strive for your own successes, and don’t use her criteria to judge yourself. She may think it’s “normal” to wake up before dawn, run 10 miles, work 12 hours, and then leave the office and head directly to her book club. For you, a “normal” day might be work, dinner with your boyfriend, and then tuning in to your favorite TV show. And that’s okay. Remember, you each have to live your own life, and if she chooses to live hers amped up on caffeine and flying by the seat of her pants, so be it. She’ll get tired someday.

Find your own niche. Instead of trying to beat her at her own game, focus on yourself. Kari and Lisa, friends since college, had a lot in common. They both loved to ski, and when Kari suggested buying season passes to a nearby resort, it seemed like a good idea. But after a couple of Saturdays spent trying to keep up with Kari on the black diamond runs, Lisa was sore, tired, and cranky. She decided to scale back. She spent some weekends in ski school and others curled up by the fire in the lodge with a great book. Both enjoyed their weekends much more because they were engaging in the activities that were really interesting to them.

Focus on living. Lots of overachievers are so tuned in to their accomplishments that they forget about the little things like relaxing and having fun. When your overachieving friend says to you, “I wish I had time to knit,” what she means is, “I wish I could relax enough to enjoy doing something so simple and enjoyable.” Remember that being an overachiever doesn’t guarantee happiness. Sometimes, those overachievers are even more worried and self-conscious then the rest of us!

So relax, enjoy your life, and remember that living well can be the best revenge.