One of the most unique types of friendship is one that develops between two rivals or competitors. It seems counterintuitive to the very meaning of friendship, but can actually be a strong and respectful relationship. This type of friendship is very often seen in business or sports rivals, and develops on the field first, or through several face-to-face meetings.
This type of friendship is different from one that derives from a mentoring relationship, where one friend clearly has more experience and perhaps is also older. In a friendship between rivals, the two people are mostly equal, and have each won and lost against their friend.
A friendship built from a rivalry usually starts with mutual respect. Each person has learned something from the other, and values their knowledge and experience. While they might still want to win against the other person, they also give their friend credit for their own victories.
The interesting thing about this type of friendship is that it often involves a great deal of learning from each other. One person might study the other for techniques to win at sports or business, but then the knowledge they receive transforms into admiration and respect.
Not the Same As Friends Who Tries to One-Up You
Friendship rivalries aren't the same as friends who try to one-up you all the time, however. Rivals genuinely compete in whatever field or area they share in common. A friend who is jealous may try to compete with you on personal things like boyfriends, clothing, or attention. This isn't to say that you won't be pit against a friend in a personal situation at some point in your relationship. If you're friends you probably have a lot in common, so you may run up against each other in certain things. However, rivals are people who either become friends as a result of their rivalry, or end a friendship because they are competing each other professionally.
There have been several famous rivalries throughout history in places like politics, sports, music, and the celebrity world. Some of these people started out as rivals only, and then developed a friendship. Others started as friends and then ended up as rivals.