“You Missed A Great Time!”

by admin on May 16, 2013

I’m looking for some advice on whether I am the victim of poor etiquette or just being overly sensitive. I am a social person but I also have a polite spine. I am not afraid to say no to a social activity if it is not conducive to my schedule or an emergency arises. In recent weeks I passed on two dinners. One was a fundraiser connected to my work, we had plenty interested in going and a limited ticket budget so I passed so some of the new staff members could attend. The other was dinner with a group of girlfriends that I was excited to attend but unfortunately became ill so I stayed home to rest and keep my germs at bay from others.

Following each of these dinners I received messages from people who went saying “You missed a great time!” My first reaction was to feel hurt. I did want to go to these dinners but stayed home for good reasons, is it fair to rub it in that I couldn’t partake in the fun? I am always sensitive to others who aren’t included no matter the reason. I think it is okay to share how much fun you had but not to say how much fun the others missed.

Am I too sensitive about this? Perhaps over analyzing the meaning of the message? Or is it reasonable to be offended that others brag about what I missed? 0502-13

It would have been better if they had said, “You were missed!  We had a lovely time but your absence was felt.”  That conveys the thought that they were thinking of you, and encourages you to come the next time because they enjoy your company.

I, personally, would not take offense and prefer to view it as they are awkwardly expressing their belief that you would have enjoyed the evening with them.  I’d rather have someone acknowledge in some clumsy way that they thought of me and how much fun they knew I would have had, then the alternative which is completely putting me mentally on the shelf without a further thought.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

ferretrick May 16, 2013 at 8:57 am

Seriously oversensitive. It’s just an expression.

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sstabeler May 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

They aren’t bragging- they’re expressing sympathy you couldn’t come to a great event. Especially the one where you were sick.

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Library Diva May 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

I can see how this would sting if you had genuinely wanted to go to these events, but I don’t think your callers meant any harm. It’s just a case of poor phrasing on their part, and I would let it roll off.

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Dust Bunny May 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

You’re being overly sensitive.

It’s a catchphrase, not a personal message. Let it go.

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Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 9:28 am

I am thinking that the others are simply acknowledging your absense and that you were missed. I wouldn’t take offense at all.

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Lo May 16, 2013 at 9:38 am

I don’t think you should take offense to this. I do understand where you’re coming from, but people don’t say things like that to rub it in. More likely they are expressing their hope that you come to future events. With friends you can easily chalk 99% of grating or inappropriate responses up to lack of forethought and not offensive intent.

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Allie May 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

I think Admin is spot-on here. I seriously doubt these people meant any offence, although their choice of wording could have been better. Perhaps you are being a bit sensitive, but they were correspondingly unsensitive in how they chose to convey that they had a great time and you would have enjoyed it. I don’t know that much more is to be expected of your work colleagues, but you girlfriends could have been more sympathetic that you were ill. In that situation, I would have said “we had a great time and we’ll plan another evening just as soon as you’re better.”

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Politrix May 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

Maybe no offense was meant by the comments, but I think “You missed a great time,” said to someone who would have liked to attend but couldn’t (for whatever reason), is extremely rude and insensitive. Even if someone in my circle of friends opts out of a social gathering, (even if it’s just because they simply don’t want to go), I’ll never say “You missed a great time,” but rather, “We had a great time, but you were missed. Maybe you’d like to join us another day.” I would think that if you phrase it like that, the person would be more inclined to join you next time. If someone says “You missed a great time,” I’d wonder if I really did.

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Lisa May 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

I have friend who would say the exact same thing, and for a while I did react defensively, but finally came to realize just what Admin said; she was only thinking of me, and that’s just how she is, no need for me to take offense.

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Lisa May 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

Yes, you are being oversensitive. Let it go.

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Surianne May 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

I agree with admin, I think they’re trying to express that you were missed, not to rub in that you missed the fun. If you can think of it that way, they’re actually trying to be nice.

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Din May 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Way overthinking this. They’re saying they missed you.

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sv May 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

It’s their way of saying, ” You missed a great time! Wish you were here !! ” They are acknowledging that you could not make it and they noticed your absence. No offence was intended and you should not take it that way.

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Sarah Jane May 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Much better than, “Oh? You weren’t there?”

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Livvy17 May 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Admin is perfectly right…they meant to say, “we were so sorry you couldn’t make it; it was a great time, but would have been more fun if you had been there.”

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schnickelfritz May 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Seriously over-sensitive. As if you thought they should not have a great time without you? I don’t understand why anyone would be offended, that their friends were having a blast! My friends would send me pics and funny text messages – like my biggest high school or current crush just turned up, asking about me, free wings and drinks etc. Pass the phone around teasing and making up stories, etc. The next day, someone would call me, and let me in on anything hilarious or gossip I may have missed. I love the follow-up calls, especially hearing different versions from attendees. That is always interesting too.

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NostalgicGal May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I’d take it as they meant to say “Darn you missed it. We missed you. It was a great time and wished you could’ve been here with us.” That’s how I’d take it, and if when for example, you did get back to work, look at the pictures if they’re sharing and keep the attitude positive. Yeah it looked like it was a great time, glad You and Everyone Else had fun; I sure hope to be there next time.

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Xtina May 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Yes–overly sensitive here. That’s an expression that, while it’s probably technically an incorrect or poor way to express it, just means pretty universally that you were missed at the event.

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Stella May 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I personally feel like when someone has to miss something fun because they are sick (as OP was), it’s a bit crass to tell them that they really missed out on something good. I’ve occasionally sent messages to friends who haven’t been able to join saying, “It’s fun, but it’d be even more fun if you were here/it’s not the same without you!”. Usually after the missing person has asked about how things are going first.

But yes, I actually do think it’s not polite to send messages to someone who was forced to not participate and tell them what a good time they missed. I doubt the OP’s friends meant anything bad by it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not thoughtless.

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Cat May 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

It’s hard to tell without knowing the person who said it. For some people, it would have been a way of saying that they wanted you there. For others, maybe not so polite.
I have a relative who would send me pictures of family gatherings to which I was not invited, through no fault of my own. It hurt me to see my family and know that I was not wanted. He didn’t mean it to hurt me; and I know he was not the kind of person to do anything hateful. I did ask him not to send me any more pictures.

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Toni May 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Very sensitive. Life get’s a whole lot harder than this.

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Marozia May 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I agree with Admin. I think they meant that they had a good time, wish you were here’.
Your workmates knew you wanted the new colleagues to go and your friends knew you were sick. I think they just missed you.

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missminute May 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm

I agree and disagree that OP is being sensitive, it depends on how her friends behave regarding social events at other times. I work long hours and don’t wish to drink with my co-workers after a 12 hour shift. I attend major functions – Christmas parties and leaving parties for staff, but I politely excuse myself from casual get-togethers. They take offense to this and often try to bully me into attending and, if I succeed in refusing, they remind me at length that I missed a great time. They don’t mean it kindly, they mean to infer that I made a mistake in not joining them.

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Katie May 17, 2013 at 4:00 am

I would take this as saying that they missed you and wished you had been there. If I have to miss something, I actually like getting these messages as it shows I’ve been remembered :)

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Enna May 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I agree with the posters that they were saying those people missed your company.

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Rob aka Mediancat May 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Unless this comes across as “nyaah nyaah! You missed a great time! Stinks to be you!” then I lean towards the writer being a bit oversensitive. They’re almost certainly just telling you they wished you could have come.

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Heather May 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Depending on context, I can see how this would be annoying, though ordinarily I would say they didn’t mean it the way it sounded. The “depending on context” goes like this: are you an introvert? Are they extroverts? Do you sometimes feel pressured by them to attend social events, with overtones of “if we don’t see you there, you aren’t being friendly?” This kind of thing can really grate on introverts, and “you missed a great time!” can sometimes be used as a reinforcer of that kind of pressure. Like the situation missminute described. If “you missed a great time!” really bothers a particular person, coming from particular people, that may be what’s really going on in their situation. I can’t know for sure about someone else’s situation–it could certainly be a case of mildly poor phrasing instead.

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AustinRhea May 21, 2013 at 5:41 am

I say this often to friends. Whether it is by phone call, text, email, or a Facebook message, it is meant as a wish you had been here/there and you were missed. I might have meant it callously a few times when someone told me they would be at a party I was throwing and then didn’t show up and didn’t bother to tell anyone they had changed plans. But in that respect they were still missed at the party.

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Molly May 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Perhaps they’re trying to encourage you to come the next time because they like your company.

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