One of my least favorite games is the one up game. I don’t like it when I try to one up people and I don’t like it when people try to one up me. It’s strange how so many of us are drawn to this behavior. I suppose it’s some weird quirk in our human nature.
If you’re not sure what I mean here’s a couple examples -
Me: I just got a new iPhone. I’m so excited. I’ve been saving for two years to get one.
Other person: I have had an iPhone since they came out. I can’t believe you don’t have one.
Other person: You have twins?
Me: Yes, they are 10.
Other person: Well, my kids are 9 months apart and that is harder than twins.
Seriously, why do we do this? I’m as guilty as the next person, I am sure. I’ve noticed myself doing it and tried to examine my though process once I noticed it was happening. Sometimes, it’s my way of identifying with the person – trying to let them know I’ve done the same thing or I understand what they’re going through to a certain degree. Sometimes, I simply am annoyed that the other person sounds like they think they are somehow better than me. But, it’s the really weird one ups that make me crazy. When I hear them it’s hard not to comment on the strangeness of it all.
Some of the most odd one ups I’ve come across are (aside from the twin one above which I find super weird/funny):
- My labor hurt more than yours
- My kids are better than yours at sports/school/music/thinking/breathing
- Me staying at home with my kids is better/harder than you working and taking care of your kids
- My experiences outweigh your experiences and license me to give you advice on parenting
- My financial donations are better than yours
Ultimately, I feel like this comparison thing gets us nowhere simply because we are all living different lives with different experiences. It’s impossible to prove to someone that their efforts are somehow less simply because they are not the same as our own.
I am just fascinated that once I started noticing it – I now notice it with SO MANY PEOPLE. They don’t even know they are doing it. Listen around you – you’ll notice it too.