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How do you handle "One- Uppers?"

OUpearlgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 26, 2007
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We all know someone like this. Something in their life is always better, more original, more fabulous, and more special than anything in yours. On the flip side, they also have been in more pain, had bigger struggles, more problems than anything you can imagine.

My boss is like this. I've worked for her for three years and some days it really gets to me. I almost don't even want to bother having personal conversations because it makes me so crazy. However, since she is my boss, I can't just stop speaking to her!

How do you keep sane?? Any funny stories?
 

somethingshiny

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Jul 22, 2007
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I sometimes come off as a one-upper (like now?). I often share my own personal stories as a way to relate to others. I've never had amazing lottery-winning experiences, but I've had some pretty funny and pretty bad ones. So, when I share them, I do wonder if it's one-uppish.

I worked with a world-class one-upper. This girl told stories about how two men fought for her publicly, complete with cries of adoration for her. She also told a story about how she came across a man beating a woman and she walked up to the girl and told her to run and went up to the man and punched him and hurt her hand while being on the phone with the cops. The man got scared and ran away. Another time, she said she found bars of gold in the walls of an old building on her farm. I think that may have been the best. A friend and I still make reference to that story.

I have a bat-sh!t crazy neighbor who says he was a hobo on a train, a vet of the vietnam war where he got agent orange induced brain cancer, he stole a truck to ride across the country, he married a woman who was head over heels for him (we still haven't found her.) along with a truckload of other crap.

It's so funny because each time one of these lies came about it was in response to something as simple as, "I won $2 on a scratch ticket."

As far as how to deal with it, I ignore it as much as possible and don't surround myself with their personality types. Your situation is obviously different so I'd suggest either standing in admiration while laughing on the inside or coming up with some of your own amazing successes and massive failures.
 

iheartscience

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12,111
Ah yes, the one-upper! I know a few in real life and of course there are plenty to be found online! ;))

I tend to just ignore their repetitive and often ridiculous stories because I prefer not to feed into their narcissistic view that everything that happens to them is more important/impressive/traumatic. If I had a one-upper for a boss I would keep all personal stories to myself and just give one word answers or change the subject when he/she starts going on about their latest triumph/tragedy.
 

TooPatient

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somethingshiny|1312988199|2987907 said:
I sometimes come off as a one-upper (like now?). I often share my own personal stories as a way to relate to others. I've never had amazing lottery-winning experiences, but I've had some pretty funny and pretty bad ones. So, when I share them, I do wonder if it's one-uppish.

I worked with a world-class one-upper. This girl told stories about how two men fought for her publicly, complete with cries of adoration for her. She also told a story about how she came across a man beating a woman and she walked up to the girl and told her to run and went up to the man and punched him and hurt her hand while being on the phone with the cops. The man got scared and ran away. Another time, she said she found bars of gold in the walls of an old building on her farm. I think that may have been the best. A friend and I still make reference to that story.

I have a bat-sh!t crazy neighbor who says he was a hobo on a train, a vet of the vietnam war where he got agent orange induced brain cancer, he stole a truck to ride across the country, he married a woman who was head over heels for him (we still haven't found her.) along with a truckload of other crap.

It's so funny because each time one of these lies came about it was in response to something as simple as, "I won $2 on a scratch ticket."

As far as how to deal with it, I ignore it as much as possible and don't surround myself with their personality types. Your situation is obviously different so I'd suggest either standing in admiration while laughing on the inside or coming up with some of your own amazing successes and massive failures.


Yep.

I work for one of them. This really is the way to go. I've never really thought about trying the 2nd part, but the first certainly describes my day well. "Really!? You know ____?" "You spent the summer there?! I've heard it is wonderful!" "They were lucky you were around to help!"

Just be careful to not start giggling.
 

ladypirate

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Jul 30, 2007
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4,553
I think the only thing to do is realize it comes out of a place of low self-worth. People who base their self-esteem on what others think about them are constantly needing to be the best at things so that others will think that they are amazing. Unfortunately, the harder they try the worse it makes them look.
 

Circe

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I think people like this are just incapable of talking about anybody but themselves. I can tolerate it if they're good story-tellers, like SomethingShiny's one-upper (who, seriously, sounds like she deserves the World Crown): it's if they're boring that my eyes glaze. Life is not a monologue, people!

But if she's your boss, I think you're sort of ... stuck ... with her being boring. I mean, since she's your boss, if she wants to drone on and on about golf, you're sort of trapped, you know? My solution would be to try to stick to inherently interesting topics, even if it means talking about things like lynx attacks and the chupacabra. If she feels like topping that, well ... sit back and enjoy!
 

maplefemme

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thing2of2|1312988610|2987913 said:
Ah yes, the one-upper! I know a few in real life and of course there are plenty to be found online! ;))

I tend to just ignore their repetitive and often ridiculous stories because I prefer not to feed into their narcissistic view that everything that happens to them is more important/impressive/traumatic. If I had a one-upper for a boss I would keep all personal stories to myself and just give one word answers or change the subject when he/she starts going on about their latest triumph/tragedy.

This to a T

My boss is the king of one-uppers, I don't share ANY personal information anymore so it doesn't get personal. I find it's the best way to deal with such people, sometimes indifference is a blessing...
 

galeteia

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I usually respond with "My, that must have been awful for you!" and laugh my head off in private, or find someone who knows them and make comments about how So-and-So told me that story about going to the supermarket in waist-deep snow uphill both ways.
 

HollyS

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 18, 2007
Messages
6,105
How to handle a one-upper?

Avoid.
Ignore.
Don't listen.
Listen, but don't respond.
Change the subject.
Walk away.
Spin your own ridiculous yarn.
Sit back and see if she/he one ups that.
Laugh. Or just nod politely.

And/or:

Understand that they NEED to feel special because they AREN'T special.
Be compassionate about their issues/problems/needs. Say a prayer for them.
Count your blessings, and be grateful that you aren't them.
 

AmeliaG

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Your boss sounds more like a navel-gazer to me - someone for whom their own life in its most infinite detail is so fascinating - anything that affects someone else just pales in comparison. Maybe narcissist is a better word because even when they're not talking about themselves, you get a sense that they are still all about them.

At least you get good entertainment value but when you just want to get work done, it can be annoying. I find the workplace easier to handle the navel-gazers because having to get back to work is always a good excuse to get out of a personal conversation. With one of my clients, I've gotten good at steering her towards work-related stuff at least until I get what I need from her and the meeting is about ready to end. Then when she goes off on one of her personal stories, I've had good luck suggesting coffee so we can go to the pantry where she can get another captive audience and I can leave.

She just wants an audience; she doesn't care who it is so I have no guilt encouraging her to snare someone else so I can get the hell out of there. I just have to be careful to get the business stuff I need from her before I plan my exit.
 

Madam Bijoux

Ideal_Rock
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Most one-uppers are 2 pounds of bullsh in a 1 pound bag. I just nod my head and go along with them.
 

Lauren8211

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OU - I think my story about the one-upper I know is way worse than your one-upping boss. :cheeky:
 

jaysonsmom

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I have a friend who is a one-upper, and her husband is an even bigger one-upper. It's kinda fun just sitting back letting them one-up each other the whole night! Needless to say, I can only take small doses of those 2, try to see them no more than 2x a year.
 

AGBF

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I loved reading all the responses in this thread. I think you are all brilliant. I hope people keep them coming!!!

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

somethingshiny

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Circe~ I'm sure my one-upper does have a crown. She'd like to tell you all about it. One day, while she was minding her own business, a fly came and landed on her cup. As she shooed it away, the breeze that she caused blew out a candle at a neighboring table. The lady who was awaiting her proposal at that table cried hysterically for her special day being ruined. In a fit, the man flung the ring across the room which then landed in my one-uppers cup. As she pulled it out, a man appeared, admitted his unquenchable love for her and slipped it on her finger. It's a lovely 3.5 octavia in a simple platinum setting. At their wedding, she discovered he is the King of Denmark and became became his queen. The lovely tiara is an antique encrusted with tsavorite and spinel.


The one about the gold bars went on and on in a similar fashion to my little story. It started out something about clearing land for her "new" house. While taking down the shed, she noticed something glinting from within the walls. At first she thought it was just a few gold nuggets, but when she finished taking down the wall (all by herself mind you) she discovered glass jars full of rare coins and gold nuggets and gold bars lining the walls. In a fit of pure unselfishness, she called the people who used to live there and tracked down the original builders grandchildren to give the fortune to the rightful owners.
 

princesss

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Oh God, this is my boss to a T! He *always* has to have things first, have done them first, and done them bigger and better than you have - good or bad. I was talking about my heart condition the other day, and he said, "Oh yeah, I've had that..." REALLY, DUDE?!?!?!?!
 

Amys Bling

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Smile, nod and make a mental note to yourself to share less with that kind of person.
 

Gypsy

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We spent the weekend in the company of two one uppers. It was like watching a tennis match. So tiring.

Avoid is my go to. But then... it's pretty much my go to for everything.
 

rosetta

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Look at them like they're insane and then walk away.
 

AmeliaG

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Gypsy|1312999649|2988008 said:
Avoid is my go to. But then... it's pretty much my go to for everything.

Mine too, Gypsy.

But this thread has given me pause. I come from a family of storytellers so I do tend to tell a lot of stories. I wonder if people think I am one-upping. Its not true, most of the stories I tell are not about me at all but growing up in a family like I did, its really hard not to try to come up with a good story to contribute to the conversation.

I sometimes feel a good story is your admission fee to the comraderie. Strange, I know, but its definitely the environment I grew up in.
 

kelpie

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I think people who do this intend it as a way to demonstrate that they relate to you; however because of their lack of social grace it rubs people the wrong way.

ETA- LOVE a good story. That's not one-upping as long as you aren't dominating the conversation. I prefer a great story to the truth any day.
 

centralsquare

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somethingshiny|1312988199|2987907 said:
I worked with a world-class one-upper. This girl told stories about how two men fought for her publicly, complete with cries of adoration for her. She also told a story about how she came across a man beating a woman and she walked up to the girl and told her to run and went up to the man and punched him and hurt her hand while being on the phone with the cops. The man got scared and ran away. Another time, she said she found bars of gold in the walls of an old building on her farm. I think that may have been the best. A friend and I still make reference to that story.

She doesn't sound like a one-upper...she sounds like a liar!! :lol:
 

somethingshiny

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Definitely a liar!


I understand the thought of a good story is the price of admission. That's how we are too.
 

Dancing Fire

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my dog is bigger than your dog!!... :praise:
 

kenny

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People vary.
Some just suck.

I'd let her be.
 

yssie

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Dancing Fire|1313006559|2988075 said:
my dog is bigger than your dog!!... :praise:

Well, mine had bigger teeth ::)
 

Upgradable

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Smile.

Nod your head.

Then go have a glass of wine with a good friend and vent!
 

Autumnovember

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I know a few and I handle them all the same: I don't tell them personal stories or information so I never give them the chance to "one-up" me. If they still try, I just give very dry responses like, "cool" ;))
 

OUpearlgirl

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Haha oh I laugh about her all of the time.

In three years she has been sick every. single. time. that I am. Not once have I walked in with a cold or something similar and not heard her say that she's feeling under the weather as well.

Just a few funny things I've heard over the years.
-A distant relative she found on one of those family history websites was born in a castle. So that means she is royalty. Literally heard her say the words, "So that makes me royalty."
-She has seen three black bears chasing people in her life.
-Was on a plane that almost crashed.
-Narrowly missed being hit by a bus. "I mean, it almost touched my nose!!"
-Makes the best dinners every single night. Everything is from scratch. Even the scratch is from scratch.
-Her son has the most perfect body she has ever seen. He doesn't have an ounce of fat. Every muscle that COULD be developed, is developed.
-She has a blackbelt in karate and trained under the best instructor in the world. Of course, he chose to teach in OKLAHOMA....
-Her son was the YOUNGEST person to be on this gymnastic team. The youngest in the whole wide world!!

Ahh I needed to vent. :tongue: thanks! I would love to avoid her or conversation with her, but we are a very small business. I don't have a desk to retreat to or a way to close conversation. I normally just nod and make fun of her in my head..
 
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