Try to avoid “one-downmanship” conversations where you and a friend discuss who has it worse.

“You won’t believe the week I’ve had.”

Interesting, isn’t it, how often a conversation with someone can slip into exchanging catalogues of disasters?

If you’re not careful, it can end up as a kind of one-downmanship in which each competes to out-gloom the other, turning what might have been an opportunity to lift one another up into exactly the opposite.

We part having had a good grumble, but having failed to gain the lift that a truly good conversation can deliver.


Generally, though, there are ways of steering a conversation out of bluesville.

For a start you can help to set its tone yourself by talking about your own good stuff (even on the shabbiest of days, there is usually some) rather than running through all your woes.

It also makes sense to ask about areas of the other person’s life that tend to be positive rather than those bits you know have a tendency to make them crabby.

Talking about bad stuff may leave you feeling bad.

But talking about good stuff…

Well that’s another story altogether.

One thought on “Try to avoid “one-downmanship” conversations where you and a friend discuss who has it worse.

  1. I have an extended family member who does this often- I don’t fall into the pattern but I do find it makes me cross! I – as has everyone – have had my share of trouble but I don’t want to live there! I have never had any success changing the subject with this individual so instead I try and limit my exposure . I would like to respond in a more positive way than avoidance but am not sure what would work – any suggestions?
    Another great post- thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *