To think it is rude to keep pointing out how lucky someone is?

(49 Posts)
ShakingSultana Tue 30-Jul-13 21:31:46

I've got a lovely friend (A) who had a really awful childhood but has worked very hard over the last few years and is now in a very comfortable position with her career. Another friend (B) is in the same industry as A but has not been so successful. B is always banging on about how 'lucky' and 'fortunate' A has been.

A is very modest and never stands up for herself over how hard she has worked and usually just goes along with what B says. A maintains that luck has played a big part in helping her escape her background. However, B has been very privileged (albeit not very motivated) and I hate seeing her chipping away at A's confidence by constantly attributing all of her success to luck.

AIBU to think it is rude to tell someone that all of their achievements are due to luck? Clearly luck plays a part in everybody's lives but the continual references seem to belittle personal successes.

SirBoobAlot Tue 30-Jul-13 21:35:36

YANBU. And if A isn't going to stand up for herself in these situations with B, you should do so, gently.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Tue 30-Jul-13 21:41:21

We get this. Dh has a really good job which pays very well. We've had comments about things but what we don't feel the need to tell all and sundry is how bloody hard he's worked to get there. He even went to night school to redo a course. The job didn't fall in his lap and he's still got it because he's really good at it. hmm

pianodoodle Tue 30-Jul-13 21:46:08

Yes to keep going on about it is rude. I have people saying I'm so lucky I can play piano as I now have that to "fall back on" as a p/t job that I can work around childcare. Yes I admit it's certainly handy but I wasn't born being able to play it smile

Earthworms Tue 30-Jul-13 21:53:01

I like and use the phrase,

'the more I practice/ the harder I work the luckier I seem to get, strange isn't it?'

The brighter ones get it

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 30-Jul-13 21:54:02

Counter it by sticking up for her and saying actually, she's worked really hard to get where she is and I am very proud of her.

petuniapickletits Tue 30-Jul-13 21:57:08

do not even get me started!

ShakingSultana Tue 30-Jul-13 22:21:28

Thank you for the responses. I'm generally fairly quiet in social situations but I'll make sure that I stand up for her if/when it happens again.

Arisbottle Tue 30-Jul-13 22:24:40

DH and I often get told we are lucky, I agree we are very lucky to have a great marriage, children we adore and financial security.

Why is lucky an insult?

Jan49 Tue 30-Jul-13 22:47:41

Could you turn it round and tell B how lucky she is? You say she has come from a privileged background so whenever she comments about A's "luck" you could mention something about B's "luck".

Sophita Tue 30-Jul-13 22:53:32

I think it's fine and healthy for someone to acknowledge their own good fortune / count their blessings etc, but it does become really galling when other people try to 'impose' luck upon you.

When I was at university, I successfully applied for a very competitive bursary. I know that luck played a part, but so did hours and hours of bloody hard graft - so it would have been really nice if people had said 'well done' instead of 'aren't you a lucky sod'!

Earthworms's line is perfect - wish I'd had that to hand all those years ago!

Arisbottle Tue 30-Jul-13 23:00:01

When people tell me I am lucky I take it as a compliment, only on MN is it an insult

LemonPeculiarJones Tue 30-Jul-13 23:31:16

Obviously it's insulting to be told you're lucky to have something if you've worked very hard to get it.

You're lucky to win the lottery. You're not lucky to have forged a great career after years of hard work.

dandydorset Tue 30-Jul-13 23:37:05


on some threads you here this rolled out

some people do put in a lot of time ,effort,sacraffice with achievements in their lives

granted some have an ellement of luck

but if somebody has worked hard in whatever way they should not be made to feel they have not earned it

arisbottle to be told you are lucky negates hard work. It is insulting. We bought a house aged 23 (10 whole years ago) as a result we are now well established on the housing ladder. We hav some friends who refer endlessly to our luck. But they don't see that we both worked hard & saved hard. I had two jobs, Dh launched straight in to his career specific MSc one year after his BA, we had no holidays, car, meals out except birthdays etc while we saved for a deposit. They on the other hand did pretty much the exact opposite.

We weren't lucky, we were conscientious & made sacrifices. I get the rage when they trot out the luck line.

Same with how I'm lucky I can speak fluent French & lucky to be able to afford a career break to be at home with the dc. Nothing to do with planning & sacrifice. We ARE lucky that things haven't gone wrong, if Dh lost his job this would all change. But that isn't what these people mean.

So op yanbu

Redbindy Tue 30-Jul-13 23:55:09


You were lucky to be born with a work ethic.

MCos Tue 30-Jul-13 23:55:46

'the more I practice/ the harder I work the luckier I seem to get, strange isn't it?'
The brighter ones get it


mirry2 Wed 31-Jul-13 00:02:50

People make their luck

deleted203 Wed 31-Jul-13 00:04:43

babies I would agree wholeheartedly with your fabulous post!

I get a bit stabby when people tell me I am 'lucky' about things I worked damn hard for. And it makes me feel a bit like when I was a kid listening to my gran telling me 'there are starving children in the world who would be grateful for pigs fry and cabbage for their tea'...

I'm lucky to have a close-knit and loving family. But DH and I both came from fairly poor backgrounds - we were certainly expected to stand on our own two feet from a pretty early age.

We basically worked hard for all of our 'material' possessions, skills and successes.

lackingimagination Wed 31-Jul-13 00:15:12

I think sometimes 'you're so lucky' can be meant as a compliment - as in 'oh my gosh your new house is so lovely you're so lucky'. However it is regularly used as a not so sly insult which more times than not implies jealousy on the user's part. I think it's often used in situations where people are feeling jealous and don't want to show it but are struggling to come up with something nice to say - they just don't realise how transparent it is.
I think in this situation is is very rude and spiteful. YANBU.

AmberLeaf Wed 31-Jul-13 00:15:22

Lots of people work very hard and never see the same level of 'success', so of course luck/right place- right time/whatever you put it down to, does play a part.

People get all insulted at the suggestion of luck playing a part because often they want to put their success down to sheer brilliance, which it often is not!

AmberLeaf Wed 31-Jul-13 00:19:03

I think some people should acknowledge that they are very fortunate to have had the opportunities they have had.

karinmaria Wed 31-Jul-13 00:26:34

YANBU. I find being called 'lucky' quite frustrating. Not so much from strangers, as I can understand their viewpoint: I have a great DH, lovely baby, have good stable jobs and we own flat we live in.

It pisses me off being called 'lucky' by people who know me and my family well. My mum died when I was 7 months pregnant and never got to meet her first grandchild. My FIL is extremely ill and needs a lot of care. My MIL is very stressed and worried because of FIL.

Friend B should know better. She knows about friend A's hard work and effort to escape her background.

lackingimagination Wed 31-Jul-13 00:29:56

Agree Amberleaf, however I don't think it is ever someone else's place to suggest this as it carries a certain implication, especially when someone really has worked bloody hard to gain their success.

It is equally irritating though when someone refuses to acknowledge the part of fortune/luck when discussing their own success and seems to forget about all the people who work their arses off and don't get the breaks they deserve.

SavoyCabbage Wed 31-Jul-13 00:46:46

My mother says

"It's not luck, it's good management".

auntmargaret Wed 31-Jul-13 00:47:49

My sister and I both did law. I graduated first, although I was younger. The day my sister graduated, when my heart was bursting with pride for her, my evil stepmother said to me "At least this one was due more to hard work than good luck" . When I told my sister, she was livid. My stepmother was a cow, if I'd been older, I'd have called her on it. I agree there is luck in life. I agree its important to be lucky, I wish it for my children. But an achievement is more than that. I agree with the poster who says winning the lottery is lucky. Getting a good job, a good degree is usually down to effort. Call her on it, she's being mean spirited and jealous.

Some people are fortunate & some people succeed despite everything life has thrown at them. Amberleaf I have no wish to produce a long list of tragedy from my life (accompanied by my teeny tiny violin) but I could. Yet many people don't know about it. Some people don't bleat on or get bitter when things go wrong.

Maybe they are lucky to be determined.

minibmw2010 Wed 31-Jul-13 07:06:25

To me it sounds like Friend B is jealous of Friend A and almost offended that she's done better, even though B had the better beginning in life and may have been expected to be the more successful. Well done A!

Tee2072 Wed 31-Jul-13 07:07:20

I personally think it is said with envy. 'You're so lucky.' With longing in their voice.

I get that a lot because I freelance and set my own hours. Sure, I guess I'm lucky. Or maybe it's because I took the chance to leave a good job to launch my company and I'm working my damn ass off to make it a success.

TroublesomeEx Wed 31-Jul-13 07:15:41

We all make choices in life. Some of those choices work out, some don't. Most people make the choices they do believing that they are the right ones.

I suppose there is an element of luck when the choices people make are the right ones. After all, no one knows what the future holds and decisions can usually have both negative and positive unforseen future consequences...

You create your own luck. I was once told that I'm so lucky that I always land on my feet. Wrong. I don't. I left University & walked straight into a job. So I'm lucky. Apparently. That job was as a checkout operator in Tesco. I then took an entry level (ie admin, filing & photocopying) position in the organisation i went on to manage adepartment in 8 years later.

The person calling me lucky was unemployed for 5 years as she waited in her small rural town for a graduate position in her specialised field to come up. Eventually, she got a job, but wasalways'too good' to do the things they expected of her. She had a degree dontchaknow.

There are periods of everyone's life when a series of unfortunate things happen & you feel unlucky. But the universe is not out to get anyone.

CoTananat Wed 31-Jul-13 07:42:09

I don't know about this.

We're doing pretty well these days. I would say we're lucky. I work bloody hard, but you know, I worked hard all that time when life was complete shit too. In fact it was harder, a lot harder, when I was getting nowhere. It was pure luck that got me the leg up. I'm the same person I was then, but I just got a chance and I took it. And I know people who graft like anything but just cant reach escape velocity, for one reason or another they never get that chance.

DH is paralysed. That's not so great. But most people like him are dead or living in exhausting grinding poverty, which is where we lived for a long while. And we're both SO lucky to be smart in particular ways that mean we can work despite that challenge. I often have the sense that we have scrambled over the heads of thousands of less lucky people to get our seat at the table. I do try my hardest to feel my luck, and give as many hands up as I can myself.

Arisbottle Wed 31-Jul-13 07:44:27

babiesinslingseathair DH and I have worked hard, not harder than most people but the hours have been put in, but it is luck that turns that into fortune. I can think of lots of people who have worked harder than DH or I, are cleverer, nicer etc and they have less.

grumpyoldbat Wed 31-Jul-13 07:46:00

I find it more rude to be reminded I'm a failure and have that attributed to laziness and stupidity on my part. I may be stupid but I've also worked incredibly hard but faced a few horrible set backs.

DontmindifIdo Wed 31-Jul-13 09:35:09

YANBU - friend B is deliberately trying to deminish friend A's achievements by calling her 'lucky' - when actually it was friend B who had the 'lucky' start. Sounds like friend B finds friend A's success difficult because it's a great big "look what you could have won" if friend B had worked harder/made better choices.

It annoys me too when I hear achievements being dismissed as 'luck' - but then I think I'm more aware than most that our situation is down to choices, DH could earn an extra £50k (potentially more) if he was prepared to go self employed - but we don't want to take the security risk now when DCs are small, and he currently gets home at around 5 each day (although goes into work early) so he can spend time with the DCs. I could be envious of friends posher holidays and big cars, but I know we've sacrificed those for security and more family time. Similarly, I know an old friend who thinks I'm 'lucky' that it's entirely my choice if I go back to work after DC2, without thinking that she wanted to live in a large house with period features, requiring a mortgage that's nearly twice ours so she had to go back to work around 6 months after having both her DCs. It's a gorgeous house, and I could think she was 'lucky' to have it, but I know it's not luck, she made a choice I wasn't prepared too. although knowing that doesn't stop my kitchen envy

arisbottle I'm sure it's all subjective. How do you KNOW they have less. Some people are bad with money & some people save like mad so that they don't appear to have much. Some people with less financially have simply made different choices, they are not less lucky, they just have different priorities.

Thing is, I'm an atheist. I don't believe in magical fairy tale forces. So I guess that I why I refuse to believe in luck. Wearing certain pants does not help you pass an exam, seeing magpies does not mean shit, except there are some magpies.

I think if you are a positive person you are more likely look for a way out of a bad situation (perceived as good luck) & not give up. Negative people moan about what a bad hand luck dealt them, refusing to accept any responsibility for their situation or accep that you do have control over your own life (I'm not naive enough to suggest that some people have a head start in life, not luck, just fact).

But then maybe those people are 'lucky' to be so positive...

grumpyoldbat Wed 31-Jul-13 09:43:22

Yes don'tmind obviously I deserve to be struggling!

I firmly believe that luck is needed to succeed. I'm not trying to diminish the success of people because I also believe that a lot of hard work is required to capitalise on good luck. I just know from personal experience that all the hard work in the world is worthless without a little luck.

Arisbottle Wed 31-Jul-13 10:00:00

They have less because I know what the do for a living, both of us have good wages but DH in particular so few people earn more than us.

I don't believe in a magical force called luck but just that for some people things work out and that for far more they don't.

I was lucky to be born reasonably intelligent, that is not about hard work. yes I worked hard at school but the raw ingredients were needed. I have been lucky that each time I have applied for a job there has not been a better candidate. I was lucky to meet my husband. I was lucky to have my I children. I was lucky that we managed to buy the land to build our home.

Arisbottle Wed 31-Jul-13 10:00:45

I just know that I have more than most and I am distinctly average.

trice Wed 31-Jul-13 10:02:19

It works both ways. Some people work incredibly hard but do not succeed. Are they unlucky? I find people who have achieved success and put it all down to hard work are deluded. You need both luck and graft to do well.

Friend b is however being a daft cow. She should be buttering up friend A like a good little networker if she knew what was good for her.

Smartiepants79 Wed 31-Jul-13 10:05:14

I agree with you in your situation. She has not been particularly lucky in her life and has worked hard for what she has.

On the other hand I am always aware of how lucky I have been. Happy, healthy family, financially secure etc..
I try to never forget it.

Dozer Wed 31-Jul-13 10:07:58

The friend is being rude.

But dislike the "the harder I work the luckier I get" line, it's smug! And doesn't tell the full story.

I was once told that DH and I could fall in shit and come out smelling of roses. This was after I was given redundancy notice so DH searched for a new job to cover my wage losses. hmm

PenelopeLane Wed 31-Jul-13 10:13:25

I think it's often a case of having the graft and skills (and sometimes the personality or confidence) to be able to make the most of good opportunities when they arise, so a bit of both. I don't think it's ever just luck or just hard work.

Having said that I do consider myself very lucky to have had been in work a few years before the credit crunch as I was able to move to London before it started and got a series of really good contract jobs which have assisted my career to no end. I have a friend with very similar skills and experience to me that did the same two years later and it didn't really work out at all due to the timing and the opportunities having dried up somewhat. It wouldn't be fair or honest to look at that friend now, compare our current jobs, and say that I worked harder.

Arisbottle Wed 31-Jul-13 10:15:21

I am just lucky, as I said distinctly average and prone to fecklessness - and yet we live like pigs in muck.

CuChullain Wed 31-Jul-13 10:33:05

In my experience it is not so much as 'working bloody hard' it is 'working bloody hard and intelligently'.i.e channeling your hard work in the right direction, having a plan, constantly reviewing yourself and adjusting your plan if things are not progressing as you like. Most successful people I know have taken several falls along the way before picking themselves up and trying again. Yes there is an element of luck, but I believe it is often overplayed to the detriment of the real achievements of the person concerned.

DoJo Wed 31-Jul-13 10:52:22

I think part of the problem might be that there isn't really a term in common use that sums up achievements which owe a large part to effort and perhaps a small element of luck. 'You've done very well' generally implies a slightly undeserving windfall (you've done very well out of that deal etc) and could be interpreted as patronising. I could probably give friend B the benefit of the doubt and assume that her intention is to talk friend A up, but that she's going about it in the right way. Perhaps that would be the best way to approach it 'I know you are trying to be supportive, but when you say that A's lucky, I think she feels that you don't think she deserves what she's got.' and hope that she is just guilty of poor phrasing.

AmberLeaf Sat 03-Aug-13 12:02:49

Some people are fortunate & some people succeed despite everything life has thrown at them. Amberleaf I have no wish to produce a long list of tragedy from my life (accompanied by my teeny tiny violin) but I could. Yet many people don't know about it. Some people don't bleat on or get bitter when things go wrong

So could I.

I don't bleat either and am certainly not bitter, I am positive and value what I have [even though it's not much in the material sense]

Maybe they are lucky to be determined

Again, that [determination] implies that it's all down to what a person does, which is bollocks and a wee bit insulting to those who do all they can within their circumstances yet still have little in the material way.

Opportunity seems under rated.

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