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How about two people pulling on a spring? It seems to me that you can’t push or pull on someone without feeling the same push on yourself. The person who remains standing is the one who can better oppose that force. But both feel the same force.

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    $\begingroup$ If the rope or spring is massless, the forces must me the same $\endgroup$
    – Ben51
    Feb 18 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Ben51 ok. But both are dealing with the same mass... ok. I can see how it would make a difference with an extremely heavy mass. You can have one person who can’t move it at all. But for a small mass the difference would be tiny. It seems to me. $\endgroup$
    – user288901
    Feb 18 at 18:54
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Sure they can, because the rope can accelerate in either direction (thats how you win the game!).

Imagine two weights $m_1$ and $m_2$ on rope s.t. $m_1>m_2$, both masses feel the same force of tension, however the rope accelerates towards $m_1$, and in turn the whole system accelerates. The same is true for the tug of war.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks but now I’m back where I started on the spring problem . Because I’m saying when you pull a spring with two different forces then f=Kx where f is the tension $\endgroup$
    – user288901
    Feb 18 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ @ExpertNonexpert That is not too difficult to deal with, you can look up spring-pulley problems to see how that is treated. You basically have another unknown for how much the spring is stretched out, and there is a larger system of equations. Imagine a spring attached to a block and you accelerate the block by pushing on the spring, is the block accelerating? Yes. Is the spring compressed? Also yes. $\endgroup$ Feb 18 at 21:15

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