Dealing with someone who’s always trying to out-do your story, or step all over your problems by explaining that ‘they’ve had it so much worse,’is annoying as all hell. If you work or live with a certified “one-upper” you might just want to snap on them. But since all that bottled up rage that could land you in jail,here’s how to deal with them.
- Go into the conversation expecting it.Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and know going into a conversation that it’s going to suck. Psychologist Margaret Rutherford says “if you expect it, it has less impact on you” and “it can even make you smile.” You could even make it an office pool to see how many one-ups you can get out of them in one conversation.“New record! I got one-upped five times by Steve today!”
- Sympathize with them.No one wakes up and thinks “I’m going to annoy the living hell out of people today” so there’s a good chance they don’t even know they’re doing it. One-upping is really just a cry to be accepted and to be relatable. According to psychotherapist Jessica Baum, a one-upper usually might have “low self-esteem or feel out of place.” Instead of getting annoyed, be the bigger person and employ some patience.
- Maintain a healthy sense of pride.“One-upping is just a never-ending cycle of madness,” says marriage and family therapist Amanda Deverich. Break the cycle by skipping being competitive. “Encourage yourself when it comes to your goals, and appreciate the experiences of others.” Don’t let theme-monster take away your moment.
- Address it gently.So you’ve tried the understanding and patience route, and you just can’t take it anymore? If this is a person you care for,or can’t avoid,it’s officially time to call them out on it. But it’s best to go about it from a positive standpoint. Baum says to let them know their behavior is stopping you from connecting more with them. Tell them if they stop trying to one-up you, and listen more, you’d be better friends and they could go one-up everyone else’s friendships with yours!