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One Upmanship

 

Explanations > RelationshipsStatus Games > One Upmanship

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

When the other person says they have done something that shows them to have a potentially higher status, say something that shows you have done something even more impressive.

You can also help increase what you have done seem more impressive by downplaying what the other person has said.

Be prepared for such interactions by thinking about what you do and how each thing may be useful for playing the one-upmanship with people in the future.

Example

So you met the mayor. That's nothing. I met the president last year.

I went to Fenechi's last night. It's such a great restaurant .... Oh, Jimmi Fenichi's such a great friend.

Discussion

One-upmanship is based in boasting and often becomes a turn-taking game with escalating boasts.

There is a danger that when people get too involved in the game that it descends into exaggeration and lies.

This game is often played in a friendly manner and can be so common that people see it as normal conversation and do not realize they are actually playing a status game.

So what?

When it is a social norm, play the status game gently but without aggression or trying to put down the other person and make them feel bad.

An alternative is to give status, being impressed by the other person's boasts and not just trying to put them down or bring up an even better boast.

When you step outside this game, you can gain status by showing you are not stooping to cheap domination tricks and putting one over others.

See also

Power Displays

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