Ask Alignor

Am I better off starting a relationship by collaborating or competing with the other person?

There is no hard and fast “rule” for whether you should start a relationship collaborating or competing with the other person. For example, if the other person has a history of being competitive, and has clearly expressed an intention to compete with you, then you might be better off starting the relationship by competing in order to protect yourself and to try to win some respect from the other person. On the other hand, most of the time, you are probably better off starting a new relationship by trying to collaborate with the other person. This is because when you start off competing, the other person generally responds by competing, and it can be very hard to break out of that type of back-and-forth competitive dynamic. If you start out trying to collaborate, then the other person will often respond in kind. If not, you can always switch later to a more competitive approach.