Blog Archive

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One-upping people: you're doing it wrong.

Everyone knows at least one One-Upper. Y'know, the kind of person who has always done something bigger/better than you and can't just let you tell a story without jumping in to share their own WILDER and MORE INTERESTING story about doing essentially the same thing as you ... only better. You bought a jet ski, they bought a boat. You went to the Bahamas for five days, they went for seven.

Those people are annoying.

But even worse are the people who don't really seem to understand how One-Upping works. And those are the folks we're here to talk about today.

You see, for One-Upping to be effective, there are two crucial criteria that must be met:
1. The original storyteller must be talking about something good that happened, something good that they bought, etc. In other words, it must be a positive story.
2. The One-Upper must offer a story about an EVEN BETTER event or material good.

Here is an example:

I mean, is there something you can do with ten lawnmowers that you can't do with one? Am I missing something?

Now, here is an example of an exchange that doesn't meet one of the above criteria:

Consider yourself One-Upped, black hair. Errrhhh ... wait ...

And here is the most egregious (and common) example of all: an interaction that meets neither of the criteria:
Your move, buddy. Your move.

I call Person B in this situation a One-Downer. They aren't here to outdo your accomplishments; they're here to outdo your sufferings and failures. They can play the misery game all day, good sir, and they will win because when it comes to being miserable, honey, you ain't got shit.

Here are a few situations where the One-Downers most like to make themselves heard:



No matter how sick you are, someone has always been sicker, or at least will claim to have been. One-Downers think that serious illnesses are like badges of honor to be proudly displayed any time someone mentions their own health. Any disease you can do, they can do better.

I once had MRSA, you guys. That's like a Full House -- it's not a hand you'll definitely win with, but it's pretty solid. Give me your worst. Oh, you had mono? Give me a break. We all had mono. Go to Africa for a while, come back with some rare fungal infection, and then we'll talk.


Quantity of Sleep

When someone doesn't get enough sleep, they feel tired and crappy. That's pretty much the long and short of it. You pointing out that you got even less sleep than they did isn't going to suddenly make make them feel spry and energetic -- it's just going to make you look like a One-Downing dick.

Are you Facebook friends with any new parents? Those f**kers LOVE to one-down anyone who mentions that they are tired or that they didn't get enough sleep last night. "Oh, your dog kept you up last night? TRY HAVING A BABY THAT SCREAMS ALL NIGHT LONG LOL LMAO MY LIFE SUCKS I AM SO UNHAPPY."

And if you catch yourself doing this, please just stop it right now. There's this thing called "empathy" that works a lot better than One-Downing in situations like this. Empathy would be "I'm sorry to hear that. I've had my fair share of sleepless nights too so I know how much they suck! Hope you sleep better tonight." 

See, now everyone likes you. Was that so hard??


Amount of Free Time

Ha ha! You don't even deserve a weekend anyway, because you suck.

What I don't get about the One-Downers is, why the hell are you bragging about how much your life sucks? Are you trying to make other people feel jealous of how you don't have time to do anything except work, or feel guilty that they didn't stay up all night puking, or perhaps feel pity for you and your myriad physical ailments? Are you trying to make a point about how people shouldn't complain because there are always those who have it worse?

I don't think so. I think the One-Downers just honestly have it all backwards and have forgotten what sorts of things are impressive to people. So that brings us to the second part of today's post: understanding how to defeat a One-Downer.

Defeating a One-Downer is pretty simple. There are a few basic ways to go about it.

Call attention to the One-Downing in progress: 

This is for when you are the one being One-Downed. If the delivery is right, you can really make the other person feel like a dumbass.

I mean, a full year? Come on. I once went like four months doing nothing at all about a torn muscle in my leg, but I don't brag about it. Because it was f**king stupid of me to do that. It hurt for four months. That is a long time.


One-Down them again with something really ridiculous, and keep going until they realize you're being a dick and making fun of them

This is my absolute favorite. See their lost toenail and raise them a lost toe. See their lethargic dog and raise them a koala with explosive diarrhea. The sky's the limit.

100% true, guys. 100% true.


One-Up their One-Down and make them feel bad

This is best when two One-Downers are in full One-Downmanship mode. Bust in and break the cycle. Remind them of what kinds of things we should actually feel pride over. Assert your dominance. Urinate on them a little.


And the most important piece of advice I can offer is this: don't One-Down me. I find it really annoying, and now that you've been warned, I'm going to open fire on you if you do it. Full auto. You will end up looking like a moron.

Kisses and hugs,


  1. Oh you had MRSA? That's nothing, I've had MRSA 4 times. I even have it right now! Plus chickenpox! And, a hangnail! So you see, my life is worse than yours. I win!



    1. Man, some people have ALL the luck! I wish something terrible would happen to me so I could brag about it all the time!!! It isn't fair that I get to be so healthy and happy all the time :-(

  2. Oh God, I'm a One-Downer...! Must... Break... Cycle...