Posts tagged talking
Posts tagged talking
A few months back, I blogged about “Negative Nancy’s;” AKA the kind of person who exudes a severe doom-and-gloom mentality, bringing down everyone around them. When I wrote that post, I thought extreme negativity was one of the worst personality traits that a person could have, until I recently realized: nope…I found something worse.
A One-Upper is a person who constantly (and obnoxiously) takes a conversation that isn’t about them, MAKES IT about them, and tries to ‘trump’ the other person as if said conversation was a weird contest of some sort.
The strange thing is, these kinds of people always want to have a better story than you, even if you’re talking about something shitty.
Oh, you had a bad day? Well I had a WORSE day.
You’ve got a cold? Well I have the flu.
I’m sorry your cat died; did I ever tell you my ENTIRE FAMILY was murdered?
With One-Upper’s, it doesn’t stop there. They also want you to know that if something good happens to you, they have a story far superior. You went on a vacation; they went on a better one. You bought a car; they tell you about the more expensive/fancier one they drive. Oh, your significant other did something nice? Time to hear about how they are dating/married to the world’s most perfect and generous specimen.
You can’t win. And the funny thing is? You weren’t trying to.
I actually think it’s normal to talk about yourself and your personal experiences in certain conversations — it shows the person you’re talking to that you’re relating to them. I also think it can be valuable to tell someone that you’ve been in a similar situation before; maybe offer up some kind of advice or suggestion, and tell them about your experience.
But One-Uppers do this in EVERY conversation, even if the relatability factor or the advice is unsolicited. Sometimes I want to just tell someone that I get really bad migraines — and have for my entire life — without them telling me that THEY, too, had a migraine once, and it was really terrible. Okay? Thanks for that tidbit of information.
Perhaps you just want to anecdotally state that you’re exhausted, and not get into some weird ‘WHO’S MORE EXHAUSTED’ contest with the person you said it to.
“Oh, man. I didn’t sleep well last night. I think I got like, 4 hours of sleep. I’m so tired.”
“YOU’RE tired? I didn’t sleep at all. Literally, AT ALL. Zero hours of sleep.”
…Oh, alright. You… win, I guess?
I think it can be difficult to refrain from talking about yourself in conversations. After all, it’s a subject that we’re all the most knowledgeable in. But it’s important not to turn a dialogue into a competition, and make the other person feel like their story or feelings are far more inferior than yours.
Remember, guys, NO ONE likes a One-Upper.
I watched a ‘Seinfeld’ episode recently (I’ve been on a rerun kick lately) where Elaine didn’t want to take a car service home from work because she complained that the drivers always try to have a conversation with her. She ended up taking one, and lo and behold, the driver tried to engage a casual conversation during the ride. In order to avoid this, she pretended to be deaf.
Seems extreme, but it made me laugh. Why? Because even though I’m a social person, and some might even say “talkative” (SOME might even say, “never shuts up”), there are plenty of situations in life where I want to rest the vocal cords and be left alone.
Us humans have to engage in conversations all day; at work we need to talk to clients and coworkers, we talk to our friends and family on the phone, and then see roommates/significant others who we are also forced to speak to when we get home (ha, just kidding). So is it SO terrible to want silence when you’re in a scenario other than these?
I remember getting a gift certificate for my first massage when I was in college. I was so excited to go, and desperately needed it due to my neck and back spasms and migraines (yes, even then I was a mess). I got to my appointment, laid on the table, and in came the masseuse…who subsequently NEVER STOPPED TALKING. “Where are you from?” ”Where do you go to school?” Who wants to get a massage and leave MORE stressed and aggravated when it’s over? Lady, this visit ain’t cheap, and I paid for you to get my knots out; not to ask what my major is.
Similarly, when I get my hair cut and have to first get shampooed, that chick ALWAYS talks to me. It’s such a nice, relaxing part of the haircut process, and now I have to discuss my weekend plans with someone whose hands are on my scalp while water is running and there’s suds in my ears.
Occasionally here in the city, you’ll also get a chatty cab driver. Depending on your mood and where you’re going, this can be a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge pain in the ass. During my unemployment I often took cabs to interviews, and would do a last minute review of the company/position in the backseat. It would be in those exact scenarios where my cabbie felt particularly talkative, and would give me his social commentary on life and god knows what else. Despite giving one-word answers and trying not to engage, they kept going. There was also the time a cab driver I had did NOT stop talking about casinos and Atlantic City. I have no idea what prompted this, but the conversation started when I got in the car and continued until the meter turned off. KILL ME.
I’m OK with small talk on lines at the store or in the elevator, but there are some places and times in life that should allow for us to be left alone. If I’m riding on the train and am either on my e-reader, listening to my iPod, or dozing off; this would not be an ideal time to spark up a conversation. So I gotta say, I’m on Team Elaine Benes here. From now on, I’m pretending to be deaf.