The other night a friend and I both had a random song in our heads we couldn’t quite place. A quick smartphone search later and we learned it was from the musical Legally Blonde. My friend said, “oh that’s right I saw that on Broadway!” Without missing a beat I replied, “Cool, I saw it in London.” In the moment I thought I was just stating a fact, but I quickly realized I was inadvertently being one of “those people” we all love to hate – the One-Upper.
One-Uppers freely roam the streets these days, ready to pounce on your relatively cool statement with something decidedly more awesome. Your weekend at the pool is no match for the One-Upper’s weekend by the ocean. If you’ve been to Paris, the One-Upper has been there twice. The One-Upper will take your 10K walk and raise you one half marathon. See a new movie the other night? The One-Upper saw it first and could’ve warned you it was terrible. There are also One-Uppers who sneak up on us without speaking a word. Those of you who skillfully craft Pinterest-worthy cake pops whilst juggling two Ralph Lauren-clad toddlers and a demanding job – I’m talking about you.
While one-ups can be a subtle means of competition, sometimes they simply jettison out of our mouths unsanctioned as a means to connect. Even the best of us are guilty of a good thunder stealing now and then. Innocent or not, we’ve been one-upping each other since the my-dad-can-beat-up-your-dad days. But there’s a hot new trend taking the world of one-upping by storm – one-downing.
One-Downers are bred from this era when excellence is perceived as sleeping less, working more, and being a little less happy. You’ll first recognize the One-Downer by his ho hum response to your not-at-all-interested-just-trying-to-be-nice chit chat. Did the One-Downer have a nice weekend? Doubtful. Did the One-Downer enjoy his vacation? Nah.
Rather than attempt to top you, the One-Downer prefers to claim rock bottom. If you’ve put on two pounds, the One-Downer has put on five. If your flight was delayed thirty minutes, the One-Downer suffered a cancellation and a long red eye. If you had a rough night of sleep, the One-Downer has been awake since last Thursday. The One-Downer is busier than you, broker than you and has fewer Instagram followers than you. His misery is not at all interested in your company. The One-Downer sucks all the fun out of one-upping.
We’ve all done stuff, been places, seen things, and otherwise been around a block or two – so when a friend announces a fill-in-the-blank accomplishment/happening/exploit, it can be difficult not to unintentionally steal the show. But in the battle of the One-Uppers versus the One-Downers, I‘d rather be one of “those people” that went to London (three times!) anytime.
Did anyone one-up or one-down you today?