The biggest turn-off for me when I am in a conversation is when I am one-upped. Conversations should be an exchange, and includes a speaker, listener, response from listener, the circle of conversing. Maybe an exchange of ideas, experiences, or vacation spots. One-uppers always have a better idea, a better experience and certainly had a better vacation spot. They know more than anyone participating in the conversing; one-uppers can spit out stats, numbers, book titles, the latest scientific findings on anything. One-uppers have found better sales, better appliances, better neighborhoods.
It is exasperating for me to be in an energy exchange with someone who knows, has and done it all- and has the need be number one. Totally drives me crazy. If I am complaining to people, say a group at lunch or while having drinks; I really do not need to hear that I should be grateful for my little problem, because compared to them, it ain’t nothing! If I am happy about something, no big deal, they have had a better experience lately that has made them happier.
I think there is a proper way to exchange personal stories without one-upping….don’t do it.
When I do find myself in the midst of a one-upper, I have learned to keep my mouth shut. I just don’t talk to them. But one-uppers are kind of fun to mess with. One of my husbands (I have had a few) had a sister who was the typical one-upper. I had just read the book of Genesis and was sharing that I thought that when Cecil B DeMill direct The Ten Commandments he should have used Biblical truth. Charlton Heston came down the mountainside with two tablets and newly grayed hair; guess that was his take on being in the presence of God- one would gray. But, in the Big Book, Moses was glowing. He was lit. Literally. At night he was his own lantern for a while.
Wouldn’t that have been a better scene?
Sister-in-law knew all of this, knew about the line in the Bible that says, “Moses gloweth.” She also had read all of the books my husband brought up, and she added input to the stories, the endings the authors. When she left that evening, I asked about the conversation, “I didn’t know you had read all of those books. I didn’t recognise anything you were talking about so I couldn’t be a part of your conversation.” He laughed, “I didn’t read anything. I made all of that up. Did you notice she knew every book, every story!”
“So, you think she may have stretched the truth about meeting the cast of Dynasty?
I have found that the smartest people I have met are fairly arrogant as young men and women- looking down a bit on the masses of people whose intelligence lies in the largest area of the big bell curve. I am sure it is lonely being an outlier. But they don’t try to out do someone in intelligence it just happens. A mature outlier may just stay quiet and only speak out of necessity. “I’ll take the special,” may be all one hears. My point is smart people know they are smart and don’t have to prove it. Proving it is wearisome.
I love smart people. Once when I was watching one of my husbands (I have had a few) play guitar on the San Antonio Riverwalk and a three couples decided to stop and listen as well. They pulled two tables together, and while doing so invited me to join them. I did. I found myself sitting with some scientific leaders from NASA. One of them was the main guy in charge of the Hubble. This group was a load of fun. We laughed so much. I noted the men all donned pocket protectors, one snorted when he laughed and one had a rock collection so valuable that it is insured. They were in their 60’s or something close to that. smart people are fun. They asked me questions and made me feel like I was actually interesting! And, they picked up my tab! Thanks smart people! None were one-uppers. I would like to see someone try with a group like that.
Certain groups have one-upper rights, like Grandmothers.
Grandmother’s are natural one-uppers. This is one group I will say needs to be left alone. Grandmothers love their grandchildren, and if they want to brag about how their’s is the best- don’t challenge her. She is right. Her grandson is the cutest, brightest, most promising child to ever grace our world.
If I bother you about my grandson, just smile nod and walk away…after you hand me back my pictures!