I Have Zero Tolerance For Your One-Upmanship: A Rant

just-be-nice

Why do some people want to make everything into a damn contest or a display of one-upmanship? The foolery alarm goes off the minute they start a sentence with “Try.”

1. “Teaching middle school is so damn hard!”
WRONG RESPONSE: “Try teaching second grade.”
RIGHT RESPONSE: “I bet! That sucks! I teach and it’s hard for me, too! Let’s be annoyed together! YEAH!”

2. “Wow, my day sucked because I’m sick.”
WRONG: “Try being sick for two weeks.”
RIGHT: “I KNOW! Been sick for two weeks and it blows and also sucks! Let’s complain together! BONDING MOMENT!”

You also know you’re on a ride through Dicklandia when their response starts with “Welcome.”

1. “I had a fourteen hour day today! Whew!”
WRONG: “Welcome to my every day”
RIGHT: “That’s rough! I had one, too. MILLER TIME!”

2. “Aw, damn, I didn’t get the job.”
WRONG: “Welcome to the real world.”
RIGHT: “I’m sorry. It’s been rough out there for a lot of us. MILLER TIME.”

It doesn't actually have to be Miller

It doesn’t actually have to be Miller

When you say say “Welcome” or “Try” in these contexts it belittles the other person’s experience. It implies that they’ve never had this hardship before and you go through it all the time. It implies that, no matter how difficult the person is finding their experience, yours is HARDER. It’s a dick move, EVEN IF IT’S TRUE. You can commiserate with someone without belittling them. You’ll get your chance to complain. You don’t need to bogart theirs.

And yes, sometimes people are complaining about shit they have no right to complain about. When I was selling my mother’s house (she was ill and towards the end of her life), the real estate agent bitched and moaned to me about how he used to go to cultural events in Oakland all the time, but now there are just “too many Black people.” The appropriate response to that may very well be “Welcome to 2003” with the addition, “YOU ARE A RACIST AND I AM GOING TO A DIFFERENT REAL ESTATE AGENT AT ONCE.” I’m not talking about people who are being awful, racist, selfish, or entitled. I’m talking about people complaining about their regular lives– you know, the kind of complaining we all do. Ow, my back; my kids are driving me nuts; I have no job; my job sucks; my mother-in-law is certifiably insane. You know, the usual.

The people who can’t let anyone else have a moment to do some basic human complaining are the same people who just can’t let anyone have the spotlight for even one minute to celebrate, either.

“I just did an awesome thing! Whee!”
WRONG: “My kid did that awesome thing when they were two, plus I did it seven times with Shatner on the back of a monkey-driven, rocket-powered donutmobile AND I WAS BORED.”
RIGHT: “Congratulations!”

If you find yourself responding to someone and the first word out of your mouth or keyboard is “Try,” YOU ARE NOT BEING COOL. Unless that person is saying, “OW I AM BLEEDING” and you’re saying “Try putting pressure on it,” in which case, carry on. If you find yourself responding to someone and the first word out of your mouth or keyboard is “Welcome,” YOU ARE NOT BEING COOL unless YOU ARE BEING SINCERE.

“Look at this picture of my new baby!”
SINCERE RESPONSE: “Welcome to parenthood! She’s beautiful!”
BULLSHIT RESPONSE: “Welcome to my world. Good luck getting any sleep until February.”

You really do not need to be the winner every single time. Let others have the spotlight from time to time. I promise you won’t disappear if it shines on someone else for a second. It actually feels great, and, as my wonderful former mother-in-law says, it earns stars for your crown in heaven. Not that we subscribe to the same religion. She’s a Christian and I’m a follower of Moradin, god of the dwarves.

The only god who will give you +2STR and +10HP just for asking.

The only god who will give you +2 STR and +10 HP just for asking.

Now go be excellent to each other.

excellent.laurengregg

This art is by Lauren Gregg, who is a badass. See for yourself at http://www.etsy.com/shop/laurengregg

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13 thoughts on “I Have Zero Tolerance For Your One-Upmanship: A Rant

  1. ckaiserca says:

    Guilty. Something I am working on. It’s not always about me. Thanks for this eye opening post.

  2. tyroper says:

    Moradin, awesome

  3. Julie says:

    Ugh, I have a friend who is THAT person. And, I’m ashamed to admit it, but she has worn off on me. Now, whenever she tries to complain/celebrate, I shut her down, just as she always does to me. Such a terrible habit that needs breaking, pronto.

  4. Karen says:

    I am SO right there with you! In the interest of NON-oneupmanship, I was shooting some pool with my sister-in-law yesterday. We had played an even number of games (and were tied) and had time for one more before we had to go, but decided to stop while we were tied, finish/enjoy our beer and celebrate our mutual victory. It made the overall experience much more enjoyable for both of us!

  5. Nina Collins says:

    I would also add that responding to any child-related complaint with “That’s what you get for breeding” or any variation thereof instantly makes you a candidate for Asshole of the Year.

  6. Oh, God, thanks for this!

  7. kizzylee says:

    brilliant post! and yup i have been guilty in the past i was ignorant i didnt see it this way until i read this, i mistakenly thought i was, i don’t know, commiserating with them? so i hold my hands up, guilty, and from now i will make the effort and hopefully catch myself before the wrong comment spills forth, you have made me a better person thank you

  8. Jessica L says:

    Stumbled onto this by accident. LOVE IT! Well said! I think another one that could be added to the list, in my experience, are sentences beginning with “wait till”, e.g.:

    “My baby is into EVERYTHING and it is so tough!”
    “Just wait till they start walking, then it gets REALLY hard!”

    This is one I hear a lot, especially in the parenting world. Does this really need to happen?

  9. Lee says:

    What is it called when someone posts something like “What are the temperatures in Jamaica in January?” or “Best places for new suitcases?”, blatantly ignoring Google and clearly wanting everyone to know they’re going on holiday without actually saying it outright? Not quite ‘humblebragging’, ‘vaguebooking’ Or even one-upmanship? Whatever it is, they are both real examples from someone in my friends list and it doesn’t p1ss me off enough…

  10. SS says:

    Here’s another thought – even these ‘right’ responses seek a share of the spotlight. I have a friend who just cannot resist commenting on someone else’s hard luck without referring it back to her own. To be a truly great friend, and make their moment about them, how about:

    “Wow, my day sucked because I’m sick.”
    WRONG: “Try being sick for two weeks.”
    RIGHT: “I KNOW! Been sick for two weeks and it blows and also sucks! Let’s complain together! BONDING MOMENT!”
    BETTER: “Sorry you’re ill – that sucks – can I help with anything?.

    “I had a fourteen hour day today! Whew!”
    WRONG: “Welcome to my every day”
    RIGHT: “That’s rough! I had one, too. MILLER TIME!”
    BETTER: “That’s a long day – you must be tired!

    “Aw, damn, I didn’t get the job.”
    WRONG: “Welcome to the real world.”
    RIGHT: “I’m sorry. It’s been rough out there for a lot of us. MILLER TIME.”
    BETTER: “Aww, sorry -you must be disappointed – I know you really wanted that one.Don’t give up – there a great job out there for you!

    Still showing empathy, but making it about them, them, them, not me, me, me…

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