What’s Up with One-up-manship?

Have you ever known anyone you are close to that tries to one-up you all the time? These people, and I know a few, seem to do it without even realizing that they are pulling off the one-up-manship game on you. Most probably, they don’t realize it because it has become a habit for them.

You know, these are the people who say after you tell them you found a $5.00 bill on the street that they once found a twenty dollar bill! Or, that you have collected 200 baseball cards and are excited about it until they tell you that they have 500 saved, and most are rookie cards.

Image by Felikss Veilands from Pixabay

Or, that they are a better writer than you or a better listener, or a better talker or a better… you name it. Recently, in a conversation about architecture that was hundreds of years old, I said that I was amazed that some of the churches in The Netherlands we saw in 2016 were from the 13th century. Guess what? The churches they recently saw were older…from the 10th century! I knew it was coming. I just had to wait all of ten seconds for the “I’ll do you one better” phrase to be spoken.

I imagine one uppers to have been the people in high school that claimed their A was better than yours. Let’s face it, an A is an A. You know, they’d ask what you got on the exam and you’d reply, “I did well, I got a 95.”

And then they tell you that they got a 97. Both A’s. What’s the deal?! Well, you were one-upped!

These are the people who have the largest collections, the best families, the smartest kids, the best kitchens, the biggest boats, caught the largest fish, etc., etc… It really becomes hard to take.

I did some reading on how to deal with a one-upper and the articles are linked below. Not surprisingly, one of the ways to deal with it is just to stay away from this type of person. Duh! But, that’s easier said than done for most of us. Most of the articles state that it’s somewhat easier to deal with a one-upper if you understand what is causing them to do it. But, the causes seem to vary so there’s a lot of figuring out what to do there. Are they just naturally a braggart, a thunder-stealer, or is it really low self-esteem that causes them the need to one-up you on everything? Or, are they super competitive and cannot bear to let anyone have the upper hand?

I delved into this because I’ve recently had trouble sharing a long-awaited, hard-fought, personal accomplishment with certain people. I cannot seem to get the words out. Maybe I’m just avoiding the inevitable by not sharing. I’m avoiding, the “you did that?” Well, I did this!”

And, if that’s the case, I think it’s okay to stay quiet. Sometimes things are left better unshared. Then, there is no chance to be one-upped!

Resource Articles:

How To Talk To A One-Upper Without Losing Your Damn Mind – Brittany Wong, 2021

Who is a One Upper and How to Shut Them Down – Kirti Bhati – 2022

6 thoughts

  1. Yipes! I think alot of times it is from low self-esteem. Or they feel some sense of threat or jealousy over something you have (probably something money can’t buy) and they can’t help but try to top whatever it is you say or do. I’ve known a few myself lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sara, thanks for understanding. Yes, it seems like there is a need on the part of this person to do it. It’s hard to believe it’s poor self esteem but could be. The latter reason you cite is more likely. With our move, I’ll be away from this person, so most likely my problem will be solved (at least temporarily). lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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