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My Friend Is Constantly One-Upping Me. Help!

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Here's the latest installment of the Friendship Court.

Marcy from Connecticut writes: I met Lynn a year ago. We had an instant connection and became very close very fast. I like so many things about her, but I have recently taken to calling her (behind her back) my "top that" friend.


Two women talking
No matter what I am telling her about me or what is going on in my life, she has this unending need to "top that." If I say I had a good day at work, hers was better. If I have the flu, she had it worse. If I call excitedly to tell her about a great shopping find, she bought more or better stuff. No topic is safe -- and I am at my wits end. I know "The Friendship Court" is supposed to settle disputes, but I would like some "declaratory action" before we get in to a dispute from which we can't recover. Thanks for starting up "The Friendship Court."

Guest blogger Leslie AdlerMarcy, I declare you a "great friend," because you are seeking advice before you "blow your top" and obviously care about Lynn enough to want to find a way to communicate and continue your friendship. You are not the first Vuv out there to run into the "top that" friend. This personality type has a recurring issue -- insecurity. Whatever Lynn is showing on the outside is masking some inner need to be "top dog" or be validated. Next time you tell her something that happened to you and she "tops that," stop her in her tracks and say, "Lynn, I would appreciate it if I could tell you something about me and you could just
listen and hold off sharing your story. I love hearing about things that have happened to you, but when you immediately respond with something that "bests" my story, it feels like you need to "top me"--  and I am sure you don't mean to do that." This is a kinder and gentler way to discuss the topic than starting with "Lynn, you always ..." She will either just "hear you" or want to discuss it. Either is good. Remember, insecurity is at the core of this issue, so be reassuring about your feelings for Lynn and tell her that because you want this friendship to last, you may point this out in the future, so she can be more cognizant of it. If Lynn is as good a friend as you are, she will appreciate this. Happy New Year Marcy!!

Do you have a "top that" friend? Tell us how you have handled them in the Friendship Court.



next: Plump It Up!
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Marge January 1, 2009, 12:43 PM

I had a “top that” friend and I couldn’t take it anymore! I never really thought of it as an insecurity issue. Maybe I could have saved the friendship if I looked at it that way. Kudos to you for that point of view.

Cheryl January 1, 2009, 12:56 PM

I broke up with a “top that” friend. I didn’t think she was ever really listening to me and what was going on in my life. I don’t think it’s an attractive trait, but I would like to know how Lynn handles what Marcy tells her.

Sydney January 1, 2009, 1:43 PM

Great advice mom! I’d like to bring some of my friends to the friendship court. Is it okay that we are only eleven?

Pat January 1, 2009, 6:26 PM

My “top that” friend is also a “speakover” friend. Whatever you are saying she “speaks over” you. What would you do about that?

~ME~ January 2, 2009, 8:37 AM

I have a friend like that as well.. ive been friends with this girl since the 4th grade. so many years later and still she is always topping what i have done or said. but out of all my friends she has been the one to be there for me, i look past her flaws, and on the days when i can not look past them i dont even bother to bring anything up that she could top..

Anonymous January 2, 2009, 12:56 PM

One of my husband’s coworkers is exactly like this and she wonders why I don’t like her. (We don’t go out to dinner together anymore.)
If you are a “top that” person, surely you realize that you are doing this, no? If you don’t - please realize that it makes for poor (one sided) conversation, especially coupled with being an “speak over” talker.

I’m sure that you have wonderful qualities, but really, I personally can’t get past this one. I’ll buy that you’re insecure - but guess what - I am too. And I don’t need you making me feel worse that I already do. I can be gracious about a lot of things, but not at the expense of my well being or enjoyment.

Cassandra March 4, 2009, 7:27 PM

It sounds like your friend has some insecurity issues, but by always “topping you” she may very well cause you to have insecurities. When one of my friends calls me and is upset and in the middle of a crisis I listen to them and try to comfort them but I make sure not to talk about any crisis I might be going through. There will be time for that later, and then they can comfort you. If my friend call and says they got a new 2007 car I am not going to say well I got a new 2008 car. I would say that’s great I’m happy for you I bet you are really enjoying it.


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