DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I are pretty competitive when it comes to sports and gambling; it’s what we have always done since college. We get hurt -- like bumps and bruises -- but end up fine. We laugh it off and get back up, no problem. We gamble and make bets on games and random things. We do silly and crazy dares.
Recently, I got a new job that came with a signing bonus. While we were having one of our competitive nights, we made some bets, and I felt invincible putting up my big check. My friend, being my friend, matched it. I won, and he lost. I knew he could not afford to pay up, but he wrote me a check anyway. Now he won’t talk to me. I gave the money back to him, but his pride won’t let him keep it. I feel like a villain for winning. I don’t know how to fix this. What should I do? -- Sore Loser
DEAR SORE LOSER: Time will be the healer in this situation. What happened goes far beyond that competitive moment. In your moment of invincibility, you revealed to your friend that you have won a bigger competition, which neither of you may have realized you were in -- namely, that of the bigger paycheck and the uptick in your career.
All of the games that you two have played over the years show how competition lives at your core. Naturally, it would show its face when things get real. All you can do is let time take care of it. You were out of turn in waving the flag of your bonus in his face. After things cool off a bit, you can text or call him and invite him to engage again, like usual. Eventually, you should be able to establish a refreshed rapport.