It’s a cliché in movies. The boss fires the employee, and they reply “you can’t fire me, because I quit”. Similarly, when in a romantic relationship, one person may decide to end it and the other answers the news with “well, I have been thinking about ending this for some time” (whether true or not).
Both of these replies should be unwarranted and effectively meaningless: the end result is the same. Yet, people often feel this need to “one-up”1 one another. Does this need have a name? And do we have any formal findings (or ongoing research) as to why we have it?
1 Not exactly “one-upping”, since you’re not outdoing the first person — more like preemptively doing what they’re doing, as if life works like a MTG game, and the last thing any of you do is the first to happen.