Monday, February 23, 2009
We all know these types of people. The type of person who has to “one-up” everything you say. These are the kinds of people I simply cannot talk to. The second that these people open their mouths, I embrace myself for some poorly conceived story putting themselves in the social spotlight.
Just picture 4 guys in hanging out in a room. One of them tells a story about how they twisted their ankle the other day. The competition ensues. The game has begun and each must have a better story than the preceding storyteller.
The game begins when one person tells tale of his twisted ankle.
Now the ball is in the court of the football player jock who says, “My senior year, I broke my ankle and still made the winning touchdown!”
The skater goes on the offense. “Oh yeah! Well, I was in the parking lot attempting a super-McTwistie- 360-front flip-tail grab- 0’spin-ally when I landed wrong and sliced my shin clear through.”
Then the hick says, “That’s nothing! I was huntin’ with my pa’. I shot at a grizzly, missed. It chased after me and ate my whole left foot. I wrestled it and it’s now the carpet in my living room.”
Guy with twisted ankle- 0
(hmm… the jock isn’t winning the competition?)
Maybe the guy with the twisted ankle legitimately wanted to just tell people how he twisted his ankle. He probably didn’t know it was a competition.
It really grinds my gears when I just say some offhand comment in everyday conversation. Immediately, Mr. “My story’s better” grabs my innocent, docile story and chokes it until it turns blue in the face from inadequate story telling. If I had known it had been a competition, I would have buttered up the story and sold it with all of the detail I could muster. I, however, find it much easier to just avoid socially competitive people.
The examples are countless:
“I had a bad date. I really liked this girl, but I don’t think she likes me.”
“Oh yeah! Well that’s nothing! I had a date, where I was late, I ran out of gas, my fly was unzipped, she beat me with her purse, and placed a restraining order on me!”
That never helps the situation.
Maybe the cause of this problem is that some people feel the constant need to be the center of conversation. Any focus of attention away from them is grounds for drawing the conversation back to hover around them. They do that buy one-upping and negating others’ stories.
Don’t be “that guy.” Nobody wants to hang out with “that guy.” Don’t say “those things.” Don’t try to draw attention to “yourself.” Don’t use “quotations” to emphasis the point that “you’re trying” to make. Quotations just “confuse” people. What am I “referring” to with these “excessive” quotations?”