Good for you is not good for me

Timken Roller Bearing Co., calendar, September...

(Photo credit: George Eastman House)

Do you sometimes get a “Good for you”? What’s with this phrase? It sounds so meaningless and halfhearted to me, yet I get it all the time since I have been married, so is this a phrase for wives only?

“What do you do?” – “I am a teacher.” – “Well, GOOD for you.” (and only then can we talk about more interesting subjects. Like the advantage of having two legs instead of only one. Or why a snickerdoodle is called snickerdoodle. …hum, well THAT one is actually an interesting question.)

But anyhow. Whenever I talk about my job, I get a “good for you”. I mean, I could also answer upon being asked “What do you do?”: I wait for plumbers, I pay bills, I try to convince my dog to walk faster than my 97-year old grandma, I try to annoy people with my blog… Then I would understand a “good for you”. Because here’s the thing: A “good for you” always sounds a little pitiful, don’t you think? I might be lost in translation, but to me it seems to say: “I don’t take you seriously anyway, so I don’t want to rack my brain to come up with a more thoughtful reply. (And please, can we change the subject?)”

I realize that people mean to say something nice. But come on, is “good for you” the only thing you can come up with? And after all, we all know how tiring it is to hear “nice” all the time, that’s why students studying English are taught to use a variety of adjectives. I am sure there must be ways to express approval other than “good for you”.

There are 2 different ways to say “good for you”. (Apart from the sarcastic way.) Some people say “GOOD for you” which comes with a whiff of surprise, as if what they really wanted to say was: “And I thought you’d be watching TV all day long, getting fat.”, followed by a “why, look at YOU!” The other version is “good for YOU” which to me sounds like “Well, I guess that’s as good as it gets for you, you silly little bimbo.”

The Reuben sandwich: Possibly invented in Omah...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, “good for you” sounds like a euphemism used when somebody doesn’t want to say what he/she really thinks: That you are one sandwich short of a picknick. Darn, a euphemism AGAIN?Do people actually pay attention prior to using this phrase? Or is it like “Hey, how are you?” – “Really bad.” – “Oh, good.” Just out of cattiness, I started to include “good for you” in my daily wordpool. And there I am, lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to get back at you, my good-for-you’ers, looking forward to conversations like: “My in-laws are moving in with us.” – “Well, good for you!” or: “My psychiatrist prescribed prozac.” – “Good for you!”

Come to think of it, I am starting to really like this phrase for its versatility!


One thought on “Good for you is not good for me

  1. Pingback: Feeling grumpy? Ernesto might help. | Expatially Mexico

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