Why do some people feel the need to “win” everything?

By Real Simple
Updated October 16, 2015
Sadly, petty thieves do rise through the ranks. A good boss knows her success dovetails with making employees feel appreciated. A bad boss fails to give you recognition for what you’ve accomplished—or worse, claims your accomplishments as her own. How to manage her: This is a sticky issue. Confronting her petty theft directly likely won’t get you the results you want. If you think she’d be receptive, you could try framing the conversation in a non-accusatory way: “I’m really aiming to get promoted this year, so I would love if you could help me make others aware of my accomplishments—like that account I just landed.” Also, be sure to put your feats in writing. If there’s a way to claim credit for a work coup you orchestrated, let the rest of the team know before she has a chance to steal your thunder.
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Everyone has been “one-upped” at some point in his or her life. Maybe you told a friend about an accomplishment at work, and she bragged about her promotion. Maybe you’ve dealt with a mom in the carpool line whose daughter takes ballet lessons with yours, but also gets tutored, plays softball, and is learning another language. When did everything become a competition?

This week on “I Want to Like You,” Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop discusses one-upping with etiquette expert Lisa Gache and Amy Marella, a wedding décor and floral design expert. Gache, who lives in Beverly Hills, explains this behavior as a combination of insecurity, a competitive nature, and a need to overcompensate.

So how do you handle a friend—or group of friends—that consistently turn everything into a contest? The short answer: You just have to be the bigger person. It’s not the most groundbreaking solution, but it will work.

For more ways to gracefully deal with one-upmanship, listen to the full episode below. Don’t forget to subscribe and review in iTunes!