The Fine Art of "One-Upmanship"


My girl friends and I like to support each other; we faithfully give each other compliments like "You look beautiful in that dress," or "I love your blog," etc. etc.

Men, however, are different with each other.  How so?  Well, my husband explains that he and his friends engage in the fine art of one-upmanship.  You know, the practice of outdoing one another or trying to get an advantage "by doing, saying, or having better things than someone else."

At first, I didn't understand how that could work.  "Wouldn't that person be your enemy?" I asked naively.  After all, not many women like to feel in competition with their friends.  Even more, not many women like women that "tell them" that their (fill in the blank) is better (i.e. Your blog is okay, but you should really check out mine because I have beautiful pictures and the most adorable kids; plus, did I tell you how many followers I have?)  You get the idea.

I took my husband's wisdom and tucked it in my brain along with all the other items I've marked as "useless, trivial knowledge."  Still, I didn't forget...

Last week, my good friend Sue and I decided to make our annual beach trip with the boys--same beach, same routine.  (There's something to be said for traditions...)  For the past few years, we're used to our boys playing nonstop until the back seat looks something like this on the ride home:

This year, however, the back seat wasn't quiet anymore.  It seemed that no matter how much swimming and playing they did, they just kept on getting reenergized...perhaps by their imaginations or perhaps because they were too busy entertaining each other.  I listened in and heard this:
                                           (Unfortunately, my video taping was discovered...)

Yes, there you have it folks--the fine art of one-upmanship between friends.  I never heard it before, but it seems that my five year-old and his six year-old friend are learning how to "talk the talk," so to speak.  There was no anger or hostility.  In fact, their back and forth bantering seemed natural...even fun.  They're still too young to know what the word one-upmanship means, but evidently, they're not too young to master this very delicate art form of guy bonding.

I still don't think I'll be practicing one-upmanship with my girlfriends any time soon...but at least I now understand how it works and can even get a chuckle out of it :)

Have you heard any interesting one-upmanship conversations lately?


  1. That's funny! I love how you videotaped that. There is totally a huge difference between how men and women interact. :)

  2. It is an odd thing that men do - I just don't get it.


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