You know a few of these kind. I know you do. These kind of peeps who always want to trump your story. They always have their 2-cents worth plus 20 more cents to add to the discussion. They always seem to be talking and not listening. Yes, we all know this person. This ‘one-upper’ individual.
Sitting in the coffee shop the other day trying to get some work done, I couldn’t help but hear the conversation happening at the table to my right. Several elderly ladies were visiting…or trying to anyway. One lady in the group dominated the entire conversation. I wasn’t eavesdropping—or I hope I wasn’t.
I have no idea what they were talking about. I just know that the ONE lady had better grandkids, better weddings, better children, better vacations, better pictures, better every single topic talked about.
After this happened, self-reflection came into play.
Do I do this?
Do I ever try to ‘out do’ my friends when they are sharing stories?
Oh dear Lord, I hope not! I pray not!
Sometimes when I am visiting with my friends and they share a story, it causes a thought to pop into my head which then causes me to share. Is this looked upon by them as me being a ‘one-upper?’ Oh good grief, I certainly hope it doesn’t.
But maybe it does?
I can sincerely say, without a doubt, that this experience certainly makes me more cognizant of my own habits when visiting with others.
It is easy to be annoyed with that person who tries to one-up us every time. That kind of stress is not needed by any of us so how do we deal with these one-upper folks? My thought is to take the high road and never ever stoop to their level:
Listen: The one-upper isn’t very good at listening so be a role model. Listen with an open heart and open mind. Then…pitch out a compliment or two.
Compliment: Give a sincere compliment to the one-upper. It will help build that relationship between the one upper and the rest of the crowd, and it helps the one-upper’s soul feel nourished. Mark Twain once asserted “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Redirect: Remember back to the early days of parenting. We needed to redirect our children’s attention when they began a journey down the wrong path. This may prove to be beneficial when visiting with a one-upper. Be calm and ask questions that have the opportunity to turn the conversation around. Be empathetic and blend in conversation alternatives. Dr. Steve Maraboli stated it well when he said “every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.”
Walk away: If you reach the level of sheer annoyance with the one-upper, walk away. It wouldn’t be fair for anyone to receive the brunt end of your irritation. It’s not that you’ve given up, it’s just that you’ve realized your limits. That, people, is known as wisdom.
Yes, one-uppers can be infuriating at times, however, we are the bigger person in this situation. Be classy and set a good example for all the others who are feeling the same way you do. Model the behavior that you want to see and experience.