The 6 Rivals Every Guy Needs To Make Him A Better Man

Credit: Acclaim Entertainment

You probably saw that movie “Lincoln,” but you might not know it’s based on a book, “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about how Abe’s advisers (and nemeses) kept him honest. Most of us won’t accomplish a fraction of what the Great Emancipator did, but we still need our own team of rivals: Those dudes who drive us, inspire us or simply make us feel inadequate enough to do something about it.

1. The Sibling Rival

A guy’s first rival is almost always his sibling. That teenage older brother whose big bedroom (and luxurious chest hair) had you boiling with jealousy, but who explained how to talk to girls. Or your little sister, who teased you relentlessly until you learned to stand up for yourself. Either way, our siblings teach us more about life than our parents do.

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2. The School Rival

Maybe it’s a bully who pockets your lunch money. Maybe it’s a nerd whose grades skew the curve and make you look bad. Maybe it’s a new kid who takes your seat at the coolest lunch table. We hated these jerks, but they kept us on our little toes.

3. The Sporting Rival

You’ve accepted that you’ll never be a pro athlete, but–even though your Little League days have passed–you still have the competitive fire. It’s too intense for your office softball team. (And it’s way too intense for your girlfriend, who cries when you crush her in ping-pong.) You need a guy who can match your desire to win, and can beat you at any sport if you’re even slightly off your game.

4. The Romantic Rival

He stole your girlfriend, and now you’re gonna win her back. Or maybe you stole her from him, and he won’t leave her alone. Either way, without this guy you’d probably never bother to buy flowers.

5. The Professional Rival

You’re up for the big promotion after years of working your ass off. But there’s always that one cutthroat, ladder-climbing prick who’ll spread a bunch of gossip about you around the office, and then walk away with the title (and the salary) that should’ve been yours. It stings, but you’ll never let yourself get screwed the same way again. Just wait ’til you’re his boss.

6. Your Lifelong Archenemy

All the aforementioned rivals are fine and dandy, but you need that one enemy–the Joker to your Batman–whose defeat you’re obsessed with. Your primary goal in life is to best him at everything: Bigger bank account, hotter wife, longer lifespan. Maybe he’s forgotten all about you by now, but that’s OK… you’ll dance on his grave someday.

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Aaron Goldfarb (@aarongoldfarb) is the author of “How To Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide.”