Who Is A One-Upper? How To Shut Them Down

Last Update on April 12, 2022 : Published on November 28, 2021
Who is a one-upper how to shut down a one-upper

We all have that one friend who always has to be one scale upper than you. Such people have a one-upper personality. It’s funny how some people just can’t take it that they have done a little less than the other.

The psychology of One-uppers is to constantly try to be either more miserable or more happier or more fitter or more everything than the other. Even in random conversations that we have in the cafeteria or in a party about the silliest of things, people with a one-upper personality have to be a notch higher than you. 

Let’s understand one upper personality better…

Characteristics Of A One Upper

Characteristics Of A One Upper

One upper is a type of toxic personality which makes someone always want to feel superior in all forms. Even in misery, psychology of a one upper personality, is to have people believe that they are more miserable. One upper personality will always  look at things as a competition that no one else can win.

I understand that some people want to feel superior, that’s why they are very loud about their success but a one upper personality just wants an upper hand at every damn thing. Here are some characteristics that belong to a one upper personality:

  • Enjoy making other people feel like their achievements are less
  • They will always keep themselves a higher than you
  • They hate to feel like they are less than anyone less
  • They will attempt to top anything you say
  • They will make you feel like they see/done/seen everything before you have
  • One uppers are big time braggers, they will brag about anything at all
  • They can’t hurt their egos by swallowing their pride

Also Read: Grey Rock Method: The New Way Of Shutting Toxic People

Trust me, the psychology of one uppers can easily be decoded! If you have a terrible boss, they have twice as terrible a boss than you. And if you work in the same office, the boss gives them more trouble than you. I know you already have a name in your head!

What Is The Psychology Behind One Upping Someone?

Psychology Behind One Upping Someone

It irritates me to the core when one uppers show up with their obvious response to each of my statements. If I break a bone they happen to break two bones a month ago! And somehow there are more painful and tragic stories about it too.

I would always wonder WHY does anyone do that? What do they get out of it? These questions accompanied by a lot of frustration and angst for one uppers & the psychology behind one upping someone, led me to do some searching. Here’s what I found out….

  • According to the psychology of one uppers, they have low self esteem. That’s why they feel like they have to constantly remind others how good, happy, etc they are. 
  • One uppers do it to calm down the fire of jealousy than burning inside of them
  • They fear being insignificant, therefore they pull these tricks to sound significant
  • Another psychology behind one upping others can be that they have a slight bit of the quality of a sadist. They enjoy when others feel like they are smaller than the one upper.

Also Read: How To Deal With Jealousy In A Relationship?

How To Deal With One Upper Friend?

How To Deal With One Upper Friend

I have had quite a few friends who belonged to the one upper personality. Earlier I had no idea how to deal with such people. When I was young I was highly affected by what other people would say and really started to believe that I’m less than them. But that was the time when I didn’t know how to deal with one uppers!

Only after a few years of feeling miserable it struck me that they were just trying to be a notch higher than me. To save all the years i wasted, here are a few ways you can shut down a one upper, this is how you deal with one uppers;

  • Understand their motive: The first thing to do while dealing with a one upper is to know why they are doing it. One uppers often struggle with low self esteem and that’s why they think it’s necessary for them to compete and win at all cost. 
  • Expect their response: once you begin to expect their one upping response, it’ll stop bothering you, it’s the best way to deal with a one upper.  You know your worth, let them be. Let’s be a little empathetic since they are suffering too 
  • Do not compete further: they are big time braggers, there is no point competing with them because true or false their achievements are always going to be higher than you. Focus on yourself and let them be on their own trip, that’s how you deal with one uppers.
  • Stay away from them: if their behavior is getting to your nerves, it’s best to distance yourself from them. One uppers tend to make you feel less so stay away from them for your sanity.
  • Set boundaries: setting boundaries is anyway a good thing. Set some limits and boundaries between you and the one upper and let them know. You don’t enter theirs and they don’t enter yours.

Frequently Asked Questions About One Uppers

While I was doing my research on the one upper personality I found so many different queries about one uppers. So, i decided to briefly answer a few of the questions here;

Q.1 What is one upper personality?

The answer to this question is all over the blog but if you put it in a few lines, it would be, a one upper personality type is when you can’t resist but always try to be one step ahead of others in anything you do. One upper personality is always reflected in their conversations because they are all words and no action.

Q.2 What does one upper mean?

One upping someone basically means to try and be a bit higher than the other in all walks of life. Be it misery, pain or happiness, one upper will always be a little more than you are. 

Q.3 Are one uppers insecure?

To be honest, one uppers are damn insecure! I say this because they are always trying to make an impression on people so that people regard them even more. 

Q. 4 How to know that the other person is one upping me ?

It’s very simple, if the other person reacts to your statement with a story of theirs which is similar to yours but is of a higher degree than yours, they are trying to one up you. You can also take a note of the above mentioned characteristics of a one upper to identify one.

Final Thoughts…

One upping someone time and again is not good. If you are a one upper, invest your energy in rebuilding your self-esteem and get rid of irrational fears. One uppers can really kill the vibe in all scenarios, so it’s better to handle them properly, with empathy and assertiveness together.

I hope you found this article interesting. Do comment and let us know about your experience with a one upper and how did you deal with them?  Make sure you don’t encourage one upping each other!

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.


  1. Lansana Koroma
    Lansana Koroma

    Thanks for this article! It really helped me understand some of my friends better, and how I used to be. Please keep writing!!!

    1. CS Team
      CS Team

      Hey Lansana, We are Thrilled to hear your words. Please Keep Supporting and Sharing. Team CalmSage

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