14 definite signs someone is trying to one-up you (and how to respond)

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Remember that one kid in elementary school who always had to outshine you?

You know the type: often a golden child, and always annoying as hell.

I wish it stopped in childhood!

Sadly, this kind of behavior continues throughout life. Some people just never learn.

Here’s what to do if a showoff is constantly competing against you and trying to rub your nose in how great they are.

14 definite signs someone is trying to one-up you (and how to respond)

Some people never grow up.

They always need to be better than you, even if it’s an upgraded model of car, a hotter girlfriend or a better job title.

It’s exhausting, and you shouldn’t get down to their level.

Instead, you should recognize these warning signs and respond in the ways I’ll outline below.

1) They steal your credit

It really goes back to childish patterns, as in this example.

One of the most definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they try to steal your credit on a regular basis.

They may do this in a number of ways, which I’ll get to.

But the bottom line is that they want to be approved of by the boss, the social group, society or those who are around.

For that purpose, they are always the one who should get recognition.

They will portray you as badly as they want in order to get that glory.

They will even literally plagiarize and falsify work they’ve done in order to steal your credit.

2) They trash talk you to others

One of the top tactics of these kind of folks who want to one-up you is that they talk bad behind your back.

They will spread rumors about you, sabotage your reputation and try to do whatever they can to leave a bad taste in other people’s mouths about you.

This is really unfortunate backbiting behavior, and I wish it didn’t happen.

If somebody is doing this to you, you need to take it seriously.

You may be inclined to not take it personally or brush it off as a disturbed and jealous person…

…But left unchecked, this kind of gossip-spreading crap can really add up and become a lot of unwanted drama.

Call it out quickly and fully when it happens and talk to the gossiper one on one.

3) They try to run your life

Another top symptom and one of the most definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they try to run your life.

They tell you what to do and give you a co-star role in their life.

They delegate your chosen tasks to you and let you know the boundaries of your dreams.

Why would anyone put up with that type of garbage?

The truth is many of us who don’t know what to do are inclined to believe someone who’s confident and tells us what to do.

The key antidote to this is to discover what you really want to do in life and why.


What would you say if I asked you what your purpose is?

It’s a hard question!

And there are far too many people trying to tell you it will just “come to you” and to focus on “raising your vibrations” or finding some vague kind of inner peace.

Self-help gurus are out there preying on people’s insecurities to make money and selling them on techniques which really don’t work for achieving your dreams.



The truth is that visualization and positive vibes won’t bring you closer to your dreams, and they can actually drag you backwards into wasting your life on a fantasy.

You want solutions, but all you’re being told is to create a perfect utopia inside your own mind. It doesn’t work.

So let’s go back to basics:

Before you can experience a real change, you need to really know your purpose.

I learned about the power of finding your purpose from watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself.

Justin used to be addicted to the self-help industry and New Age gurus just like me. They sold him on ineffective visualization and positive thinking techniques.

Four years ago, he traveled to Brazil to meet the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, for a different perspective.

Rudá taught him a life-changing new way to find your purpose and use it to transform your life.

After watching the video, I also discovered and understood my purpose in life and it’s no exaggeration to say it was a turning point in my life when I was able to escape the clutches of jealous and petty people who wanted to bring me down.

I can honestly say that this new way of finding success by finding your purpose actually helped me to embrace my own personal power and stand up to the kind of crybullies who try to control your life.

Watch the free video here.

4) They actively undermine your work

Another of the unfortunate definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they actively try to undermine your work.

In a professional setting, this can go as far as them deleting files or projects you’ve worked on and trash talking you to your boss.

This kind of fly in the ointment is very hard to deal with.

How are you supposed to succeed in life and reach your potential with a weight around your ankles all the time.

There’s no real way to work together or compromise with somebody who’s doing these kinds of things to you.

This will require confronting them directly, then going to superiors.

If it’s happening in your personal life, it will probably require a break-up.

5) They stalk you and compete with you on social media

Jealous and petty people love social media.

It is the ultimate realm of comparison and showing off.

Let’s face it:

It’s also a great place to check what people are up to and keep track of them in various ways.

For this reason, you may notice that they’re watching all your stories and excessively clicking and commenting on what you do.

It’s like having your own personal hall monitor.

“Nice watch, man, looks real or is it a knockoff? Lol.”

Yeah…fun times.

These kind of toxic individuals have simply never grown up and they will always be there pestering you.

Social media is one of their favorite avenues to do this.

If you put a photo of you on a sailboat having an amazing day …

They’re up three hours later with a photo of them on a yacht shaking hands with a sheik.

Very cool.

6) They brag to you about being better than you

Another one of the definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they brag.

It seems so garish and pathetic, but they really will do this, and they’ll go hard.

They will tell others about their accomplishments and how much they are respected in various ways.

They will explain how they have outshone you in every sense.

In a personal context, they will outline how they are a better person than you.

Always good to know!

7) They compete with your accomplishments

Like I said in the last point, another of the really definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they compete with your accomplishments.

So you have a Ph. D? They worked at the f*cking State Department.

So you did a spiritual retreat in Bali that revolutionized the way you look at the world? They f*cking went on a spiritual trip with shamans in Tibet that most normal people will never even know exists.

They are on a higher level than you. You’re a f*cking peasant in comparison.

Always nice to be treated this way, right?

It’s even worse when you’re already feeling fairly terrible in life and not good enough.

So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut”?

Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.

I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.

You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.

And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.

Click here to learn more about Life Journal.

Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.

It all comes down to one thing:

Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.

Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.

So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.

Here’s the link once again.

8) They degrade your beliefs and values

One of the most worrisome definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they degrade your beliefs and values.

They are always wiser, smarter and more experienced than you.

Whatever you experienced is somehow lesser, more basic or not of value.

Go figure.

The reasons they give why you are wrong, ignorant or just don’t get it don’t really matter.

The basic emotion is always the same:

They are superior, you are dirt.

They somehow get it, and you don’t.

They’re sacred, you’re impure.

Always the same narrative, whatever form it takes. It ultimately adds up to the same thing.

They’re one-upping you. They’re “better” than you.

9) They judge and analyze your life choices

People who try to one-up you always take the place of the critic.

As former President Theodore Roosevelt put it, these are the people who don’t count. They just stand back and let others fight it out.

Like he said:

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…”

The one-upper isn’t in the arena for real.

They’re standing in the crowd trying to get the lions to eat you.

They’re cheering as the gladiators rip each other apart for their amusement.

They’re betting on the action while the real drama unfolds.

They just want the credit, the rewards, the money, the sex, the glory.

They don’t want any of the work.

That’s why they’re losers and pathetic sh*theels who attack and undermine others and make your life worse than it has to be.

10) They use money as a weapon over you

Money matters a lot more than many of us would like to admit.

Part of that is that when we have it, we have a choice:

We can use money to grow, learn and spread power or we can use it to hoard, hide and “keep” power.

The second choice leads to exactly the type of person who spends their life in a competition.

They’re comparing how rich they are right up until the day they’re folded into a coffin.

It’s f*cking sad is what it is.

One of the top definite signs someone is trying to one-up you is that they constantly try to use money as a weapon over you.

They have more of it, more access to it, and they’re on a different level than you.

The result is that you feel disempowered and may become even more insecure about your finances.

We all know money has enormous power in today’s world.

Those who swing it around to bully others are the lowest of the low.

11) They shame your relationship history

In the relationship sphere, people will try to one up you by shaming and questioning your relationship history.

What, you’ve only had one relationship? How sad…

What, you’ve had ten relationships? How promiscuous…

You just can’t win.

They’ve always gotta be on a better track than you and one-upping you in the romantic department.

If you’re at an event together, their partner has to be smarter, hotter and more prestigious.

If you post a photo with your significant other on the beach, they post a photo in an exclusive resort in Fiji.

They’re always one step ahead and having a better love life than you (or at least pretending to).

12) They brag about material possessions and opportunities

The classic game of one-upmanship is, of course, material wealth and possessions.

A bigger boat, a better car, a nicer house…

It gets shallower from there:

Whiter teeth!

More prestigious job title!

A better suit…

Cooler friends…

And on and on.

It’s endless, and you can’t win. It’s best to just smile and laugh off this kind of idiocy.

Finding your own purpose will leave you much less worried about the childish antics of jealous and insecure people.

13) They joke at your expense

Joking about someone else is fine, in my opinion, especially when everyone knows it’s just lighthearted ribbing.

Australians call it “taking the piss,” and it’s funny.

But someone who’s legitimately trying to one-up you doesn’t just engage in light-hearted ribbing.

They take hurtful digs at your past.

They insult your family.

They indicate that where they come from or their faith makes them better.

They will joke about how you look, or even your hair. There’s no low somebody won’t stoop to when they’re trying to make you look bad and one-up you.

It really is sad, but taking these kinds of jokes on the chin obviously gets old pretty quickly.

Just walk away. You don’t need to take the abuse.

If walking away’s not an option, tell them to “f*ck off.” That will break the humorous atmosphere they were going for, most likely.

It’s hard for a joke to land, even a mean joke, when it’s subject openly shoots it down and makes things awkward.

14) They won’t let grudges go

The kind of people who try to one-up you are grudge holders.

They don’t forget grudges:

Real or imaginary, they’re grinding axes 24/7.

No matter what you did, or did in their imagination, they’re on you constantly about what went wrong.

You seem to always be the bad guy.

With some debt to pay…

What’s up with that?

It’s them trying to one-up you.

More technically, it’s known as gaslighting. They want you to feel bad so they can gain power over you.

It’s super lame.

Don’t fall for it.

Game over

If someone is constantly trying to one-up you, you have basically two main options:

You can see this as a chance to get back at them.

Or you can see it as a chance to build such rock solid security and embracing your own purpose that it barely registers for you.

Being one-upped hurts a lot more when there’s an element of insecurity already nagging away inside you.

When you feel powerful and in charge, the games and manipulations of jealous people aren’t going to have the same impact.

Defense through strength is always the best policy for peace.

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