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To be pissed off with a friend who said "I love talking to you your life is more shit than mine

(31 Posts)
whataboutbob Thu 06-Dec-12 12:05:09

I have a friend at work for whom i mostly feel affection and respect. We talk about most things and usually I respect her values and life choices. We also have a laugh. However twice she has said that she draws comfort from the fact that my life is worse than hers- in a jokey way, of course. Background: we both live in London, 2 kids and partners and not particularly high paying jobs. In the last year I've also had to face up to the fact that my father has Alzheimers and take on more and more responsibility for him. He lives with my brother who has mental health illness. This has been pretty stressful and i've been helped by attending counselling. Yesterday she asked me what I was doing on my day off. Answer: my father's tax returns. Peels of laughter and the comment about being cheered up by my life being more shit than hers. I'm now feeling I don't want to overlook this. I considered sending her an email about it but think I'd rather say something face to face. I know it's human to draw comfort from downward comparisons when feeling low, but i can say with some authority it's not nice providing the downward comparison. Any advice?

I'm sure she was joking - try not to be so sensitive.

DeafLeopard Thu 06-Dec-12 12:07:38

I would hope that she meant it in a joking sympathetic way, trying to be supportive - as in she has got crap going on in her life, but she feels for you going through crap too?

I think face to face is better if you're going to call her on it though.

youdontknowmebut Thu 06-Dec-12 12:09:15

I'm sure it was meant as a joke but perhaps you should talk to her, she obviously doesn't understand the sensitivity of what she said to you.

SCOTCHandWRY Thu 06-Dec-12 12:11:07

Mmmm. I would be offended by that - but maybe you friend means that when she talks to you she realises that her problems (which may worry her a lot), are pretty insignificant in reality... maybe that gives her a kick up the arse to deal with her problems IYKWIM

tallwivglasses Thu 06-Dec-12 12:13:46

How about a variation on the mn mantra: 'Did you mean to be so insensitive?'

WorraLorraTurkey Thu 06-Dec-12 12:15:25

I'm sure she was joking too and to be honest, that ship has sailed now as if you were going to say anything you should have done it at the time.

Bringing it up now will just make your look really easily offended and may possibly make her feel too awkward to talk to you much in future.

KenLeeeeeee Thu 06-Dec-12 12:16:12

It sounds like she was trying to be sympathetic but just missed the mark by a mile and a half.

I think you should either, next time she says it say 'Wow, that's a pretty hurtful thing to say! But I know you don't mean it that way...' and let her realise how insensitive she is being.

Or if you don't want to wait until then tell her some 'great news' of yours and say 'It's nice that you're happy to hear about my good news too. You know it feels a bit weird that sometimes you seem pleased to hear about bad things happening to me - I'm sure you don't mean it that way...?'

She is being horribly insensitive but if she is made happy by someone else's life being worse than hers, her life can't be all sunshine and roses, so that's where it's coming from. She's struggling.

WorraLorraTurkey Thu 06-Dec-12 12:16:56

Oh God can someone please come up with a new MN mantra that's not so feeble and shit?

I'd bee too embarrassed to say that because it just makes the person sound really po faced.

DontmindifIdo Thu 06-Dec-12 12:17:51

I wouldn't send her an e-mail now, but next time add a "yes, things are pretty shit at the moment, pointing it out doesn't really help." If she really is a friend, that will make her feel awful and she'll start apologising, if not, she really is just keeping you in her life to make her feel/look good, and people like that are worth cutting out because when your life does improve, she won't be happy for you, and might even try to scupper it.

Frontpaw Thu 06-Dec-12 12:18:12

Not a nice joke though - its not like you were spending your day cleaning out your septic tank or volunteering to muck out at the pet sanctuary. You are working on something for your dad who has alzheimers. I would have been hurt - if she'd said 'poor you! you have it harder than me...' then not so bad.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Thu 06-Dec-12 12:18:31

I can't imagine saying that to someone confused it seems rather heartless. But then you say you like her and you have a laugh so maybe she was joking?

I think people say things without think quite a lot.

A few weeks a go I was talking to someone and they asked me about my family. I was put on the spot a bit and ended up telling her that my son had committed suicide and my mother had died when I was four.

She said ' oh my god you've had the crapest life! ' cheers for that love!

How would you word it to her?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 12:19:36

Advice? Lighten up..... What were you honestly expecting someone to say when your day off was taken up with a tax return? You may well be a fragile, sensitive creature with big problems but she's doing you the huge honour of treating you like a robust, well-balanced, coper with a good sense of humour. Respond in kind and you will gain.

TantrumsAndBalloons Thu 06-Dec-12 12:20:40

New mantra fuck off and stop being such a cunt ?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 12:22:19

It's just another way of saying 'if you didn't have bad luck, you'd have no luck'... 'it never rains but it pours'.....

WorraLorraTurkey Thu 06-Dec-12 12:25:55

Oh Tantrums that's so much better grin

Even reading it is like scratching an itch

TantrumsAndBalloons Thu 06-Dec-12 12:35:21

I use it quite a lot in RL grin

irishchic Thu 06-Dec-12 12:49:07

Yeah I can BEAR that whole "did you MEAN to be so rude, nasty, insensitive..etc" It sounds so prim and passive aggressive!

irishchic Thu 06-Dec-12 12:49:27

can't bear obv!

DIYapprentice Thu 06-Dec-12 12:52:50

'Cheers for that, like I didn't feel bad enough with what's going on in my life.' <said with a stony faced glare>

3b1g Thu 06-Dec-12 12:55:57

It feels a bit pants, doesn't it? DH's colleague was having a bad day, but then cheered herself up by saying to her DP, "Oh well, at least we're not the 3b1gs". And then decided to share this anecdote with my DH!!

MamaMumra Thu 06-Dec-12 12:58:04

Do you generally get the impression she revels in your misfortune? She might not mean it, or she might. I knew someone who only once said that she felt better about her situation knowing that I was going through a dreadful time (I paraphrase, but yswim?). If you think she was serious dont share stuff with her.

CelineMcBean Thu 06-Dec-12 13:04:14

An email? Really?

I doubt she meant any harm. Sorry you're having a tough time sad

NinjaChipmunksGotBigBaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 13:17:15

I think you just say the penultimate sentence in your op. it says all it needs to. I also think she means you cheer her up by making her realize she's not the only one having a shit time.

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