Befriend Aziz Ansari? Or, ‘How to deal with Type-A competitive people’

U.S. Figure Skating

Tonya, you’re scaring me.

So there’s this girl (let’s call her B to give this story an air of Gossip Girl intrigue) in one of my classes who I met on my first day of law school. It took a while to get to know her, but once I did…I knew we wouldn’t be life-long friends.

When we met at an IT induction (and she sat a couple of computers away from me, like we were guys in an awkward urinal situation) I tried to break the ice by asking if she’d been to many Faculty events that week. “No”, B replied bluntly, “I figured my time was better spent trying to get ahead.” In class a couple of weeks ago we discussed our subject selections, and she charmingly told me that my public law courses (in contrast to her finance ones) were “fluffy” and amounted to a “BCL-lite”. In B’s words: “If I were your parents I’d disown you”.

So how to deal with such unpleasant, overly-competitive types?

  • You know how your Mum told you the way to deal with unpleasantness is just to ignore it? Well, that’s kinda crap advice. Sometimes you just need to stand up for yourself. Hence my retort: “If I were your child, I’d let you”. Ta for that one, Churchill.
  • Keep things in perspective and remember they’re only making themselves miserable. For example, B has whined about not being able to wait for the holidays so she can do extra readings, which is like saying that you can’t wait to see your long-distance partner…so you can sit down and make funeral plans*.
  • Don’t be a monster…but do be a Prankenstein (hehe, wordplay!)
    • The other day B interrogated me about how much reading I’d done. I mentioned that the assigned article on property rights in separable, regenerative body parts recalled to my mind the seminal Foster article. I failed to mention that the seminal article was by Cosmo columnist Zoe Foster, and about dry shampoo (hey, they were both about hair…)
    • When I sit next to her in lectures I type furiously at irrelevant points with a very pinched moue**. Bizarrely and hilariously, she follows suit.
    • A longer-term strategy I’m working on is befriending Aziz Ansari and getting him to work his study group sabotage magic…

*Actually, on second thoughts that sounds like a fun exercise. I already know that I want a choir of cherubic Italian schoolboys singing an operatic version of 99 Red Balloons on loop, my body to be superheated into a diamond and set in a Titanic Heart of the Ocean-replica necklace and cast into the sea/given to Leo DiCaprio (or the offspring who most closely resembles him), and an ice luge brimming with peach schnapps.

**This was the strategy I employed at my old lawfirm. It was commented upon that I always looked stressed and that I worked too hard. Which was true – those Farmville crops didn’t just sow themselves!

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