In general I dislike, and discourage conversation topping. You know what I mean. You want just a little bit of sympathy, "My day has been so difficult..." and the response follows, "You think THAT was hard? Let me tell you about MY day."
No really. At this moment I'm feeling sorry for myself and I just want you to be my friend and listen. I will have enough pieces of my soul intact to hear about your life on a different day. Just, right now, allow me to be a mess and please force feed chocolate to me.
However - there are times when conversation topping is the perfect response. For example, "My house is such a mess I couldn't find my car keys. I'm a terrible housekeeper." The perfect response is, "You think YOU'RE terrible? I couldn't find the cat the other day because she had made a cave in the pile of dirty laundry that has grown to cover the entire floor of my bedroom." Okay, see there? Thank you, you are a good friend, and now we will both eat chocolate and be glad that we know each other.
I had a moment like this the other day. I was at someone's house and my son dropped a piece of dry cereal on the floor. He picked it up, blew on it, and popped it in his mouth. So, now I'm going to admit that yes, we do adhere to the 5 second rule. But I'm assuming this is a safe space and there will be little judgment. The hostess, who keeps a sparkling house, thought this was the funniest! I assure you, I sweep and mop, maybe not frequently, but it happens. We taught my son to blow on his food, not because we live in filth (filth is relative though, and a case has been made for it....), but because he's an anxious little guy. He would drop one cracker and begin weeping dramatically, "Oh NO! Now I have lost my FAVORITE cracker and I will NEVER get the chance to taste it AGAIN!!!" In light of this drama we thought, what the hell, "How about you blow on it sweetie? Magically clean!" (I should note that we do get tough when "favorite" pancakes, hot dogs, or other wet things touch the floor.)
When the hostess relayed this to another friend, that friend became a hero. She became the perfect conversation topper. She said, "Oh really? He actually blows on it? The other day my kid played with the dog with his gloves on. We noticed halfway through dinner that he was eating his food with his hands...with the furry gloves on. We did ask him to take the gloves off, but didn't panic. We we figured, meh, a little dirt wouldn't hurt him." This friend is my hero. I'm going out to buy chocolate for her right now, and I vow to back any of you up with well placed self-deprecation in the future.