Author Topic: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?  (Read 7331 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« on: December 10, 2011, 09:41:40 PM »
That phrase drives me nuts.  Why, yes, it is nice, thank you for sarcastically and passively aggressively noticing.  Why do people say that?  Do they really want you to feel bad about having a good time and/or enjoying something?  That's exactly how it makes me feel and I hate it.  Or is it that they just want to draw attention to their own woes?  "Oh, it must be nice that you got to sit at home tonight and watch TV while I was at work grueling away."  Well, yes, yes it was nice.  I don't know if the intent is there to make you feel bad about being happy, but it sure as heck happens.  I think it really is driven by self-centeredness.

It first I use to ground out a "It was." I then decided that I would take the comment at face value and not let it bring me down.  Now I smile and confirm enthusiastically that it was, indeed, nice.  I thought this would help me get past it, and for the most part it did.  Then I saw that he commented on someone else's post on Facebook that "It must be nice".  The way the reflected on him made me ashamed.  I cringe at what people must be thinking of him when I know he's not like that usually (just in comments like "It must be nice"). 

Has anybody else encountered this and what have you done?
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Shores

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 09:56:34 PM »
Encountered it? Heck, I say it! And I really think you're reading WAY WAY WAY too much into it if you find it "sarcastic" and "passive agressive." Going on a cruise next week? Must be nice! Where's the sarcasm? I'm saying it must be nice! It must be exciting that you get to go on this awesome trip! It must be wonderful to know that you're going to be sunbathing in Tahati in 5 days! It must be nice!  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!
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LadyL

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 09:59:10 PM »
  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

In the context of certain relationships this could come off badly. "I'll be here toiling away while you have fun." It dampens the person's excitement by putting the focus on another person's issues. Again in certain friendships this type of ribbing doesn't have those overtones, but in more casual relationships it comes across as a bit of a guilt trip.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 10:02:54 PM »
Encountered it? Heck, I say it! And I really think you're reading WAY WAY WAY too much into it if you find it "sarcastic" and "passive agressive." Going on a cruise next week? Must be nice! Where's the sarcasm? I'm saying it must be nice! It must be exciting that you get to go on this awesome trip! It must be wonderful to know that you're going to be sunbathing in Tahati in 5 days! It must be nice!  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

It must be in the way he says it then because it comes out in a very passive aggressive tone.  Perhaps not sarcasm, but derision maybe?  I am having trouble finding the right word.  He kind of says it with a tone of contempt.  "It must be nice to sit around and do nothing while I wile away at work, I'm jealous and I'm letting you know about it" kind of tone."

Also, with the way you say it, I probably wouldn't be as annoyed as with the way he says it, but what do you expect someone to say in return to your comment?  I can't think of an answer (honestly, I'm not being snarky) even if someone said it to me nicely.  I'd probably look confused and say, "Why, yes, it is nice."  What's your motive in saying it? (Again, no snark.  I'm just trying to understand.)  What do you get from pointing out that someone gets to do something you want to do but can't/aren't at the moment? 

  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

In the context of certain relationships this could come off badly. "I'll be here toiling away while you have fun." It dampens the person's excitement by putting the focus on another person's issues. Again in certain friendships this type of ribbing doesn't have those overtones, but in more casual relationships it comes across as a bit of a guilt trip.

Even in this 2 year relationship it comes across as a guilt trip to me.  It makes me feel bad when seconds before I was happy and thought I was sharing something fun.  Instead I get made to feel bad for enjoying myself.
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Lady Snowdon

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 10:23:09 PM »
Encountered it? Heck, I say it! And I really think you're reading WAY WAY WAY too much into it if you find it "sarcastic" and "passive agressive." Going on a cruise next week? Must be nice! Where's the sarcasm? I'm saying it must be nice! It must be exciting that you get to go on this awesome trip! It must be wonderful to know that you're going to be sunbathing in Tahati in 5 days! It must be nice!  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

This comes off sarcastic and passive aggressive; the very qualities the OP was complaining about.  Most of the time I hear this phrase, the person is trying to insinuate that I'm being irresponsible or flighty.  "Must be nice to be able to go on vacation without considering costs" is one I've heard quite a bit, along with "must be nice to have all that free time for reading" from people who don't think they have as much time as I do. 

A more appropriate response that doesn't focus everything on the fact that you can't join them might be something like "Oh, that sounds like so much fun!  I can't wait to see pictures when you get back!". 

SisJackson

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2011, 10:33:37 PM »
It must be exciting that you get to go on this awesome trip! It must be wonderful to know that you're going to be sunbathing in Tahati in 5 days! It must be nice!  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

This is how it comes off to me, but without so much of the "secretly".

When someone says, "Must be nice" - usually about my travel and vacations - I hear, "Woe is me, I'm so envious of your good fortune, while I have to toil away/scrimp and save/etc.  You should feel sorry for me."

I wish that people would instead just say, "That's great, I hope you have a wonderful time."


[ETA:  Dogzard points out a possible other interpretation, that the phrase sounds as though she should take a more serious look at how she is spending her time/money and be more mature about it.  I was thinking about the speaker making it all about him or her, but Dogzard could have it right as well.  Either way, it doesn't come off as a nice thing to say.  Regardless of how the "must be nice" person says it, it's a pretty loaded phrase.]

bbgirl

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2011, 10:40:04 PM »
I agree with Dogzard.  Saying "It must be nice" is almost always followed by some type of counter comparison from the person who said it.....usually something which is not as nice as what the first person has shared.  For example, I know someone in the carribbean at the moment....when another family member heard about it, they exclaimed it must be nice! while they are stuck at work in the cold all for little pay.  The intent was not to offer congratulations or share in the excitement with the other person, but to draw attention to their own situation which for some reason they feel they need to comparet to others. 

So yes, I find it passive aggressive too and if I know someone who tends to do that, I tend to downplay my own travels/accomplishments/promotions with them because I truly don't want to hear how their life is craptastic in comparison to mine.  We can do that any old time...but at a time of excitement or joy it is just innapropriate.  I think that's commonly called a debby downer.....at least in my circle it is.  Thank you SNL..
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 10:48:26 PM by bbgirl »

shhh its me

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2011, 10:43:28 PM »
   I've never heard "must be nice" without it being meant as a jab.   Maybe it's tone I've heard used but I'm struggling to hear it as a happy " that's great ".   I actually hear more malice in " must be nice " then " I wish I could...." .  " I wish I could..." I can hear it as " I simpley wish I too could do that , you've made good decssions and/or had some luck"


If my SO was saying "must be nice" to me a lot I think we would need to have a talk.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 10:54:05 PM »
   I've never heard "must be nice" without it being meant as a jab.   Maybe it's tone I've heard used but I'm struggling to hear it as a happy " that's great ".   I actually hear more malice in " must be nice " then " I wish I could...." .  " I wish I could..." I can hear it as " I simpley wish I too could do that , you've made good decssions and/or had some luck"


If my SO was saying "must be nice" to me a lot I think we would need to have a talk.

I wouldn't say he says it to me a lot...maybe once a month or two, if that.  This semester, all but one of my classes was online, so I got to spend a lot of time at home.  I'm sure he saw that as me doing nothing (especially when he'd come home to me playing video games and the dishes weren't done yet :/ (I played until he got home because it was his turn when he got home so then I'd do housework when I had nothing else to do)) even though I was doing a lot of homework.  That's why I tried taking it at face value at first, because it didn't happen all that often.  When he said it to someone else today, though, it made me cringe and I realized how much it really bothers me.  I do want to have a talk with him, but I have no idea where to start because this isn't something I've dealt with before.  I was thinking, "I don't think you realize how selfish and self-centered you sound when you say "It must be nice".  I really don't want people to think of you that way, but it really hurts when you say that stuff."
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Shores

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 10:58:15 PM »
  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

In the context of certain relationships this could come off badly. "I'll be here toiling away while you have fun." It dampens the person's excitement by putting the focus on another person's issues. Again in certain friendships this type of ribbing doesn't have those overtones, but in more casual relationships it comes across as a bit of a guilt trip.
Well, considering that all of that was meant to be my mental musings as I excitedly said "Must be nice!" when told the good news, that would be the listener's problem if their mood was dampened because they decided I was being sarcastic or implying "I'll be here tolling away."
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2011, 11:05:09 PM »
  Me, I'll be sitting in here in cold, writing more papers, grading more quizzes.... being secretly green with envy and waiting for awesome pics.... but in the meantime, must be nice for you!

In the context of certain relationships this could come off badly. "I'll be here toiling away while you have fun." It dampens the person's excitement by putting the focus on another person's issues. Again in certain friendships this type of ribbing doesn't have those overtones, but in more casual relationships it comes across as a bit of a guilt trip.
Well, considering that all of that was meant to be my mental musings as I excitedly said "Must be nice!" when told the good news, that would be the listener's problem if their mood was dampened because they decided I was being sarcastic or implying "I'll be here tolling away."

I can agree to that, but the words themselves carry a weight when they are constantly connected with a negative tone.  I still don't understand your motivations, though.   :-[
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bbgirl

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2011, 11:08:57 PM »
But putting the term must in front of it makes it a qualifying experience.  Must be nice....even if you say it with nothing attached means, in comparison to what? 

shhh its me

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2011, 11:16:58 PM »
  OP I think in your context "it must be nice" = I resent  and maybe " I think our divsion of labor is unfair" .   

I think you can say that ....

 it must be nice to stay home and watch TV all day

I feel bad when you say that and I want to know what  you are really bothered by..........

Do you mean to imply you resent me watching TV , being a student , having on-line classes or specifically watching TV at 5 pm( whatever time he comes home) or are you trying to say that our divsion of labor is not fair?


(keep in mind) are you implying that I'm not busy with school work 20,30,40 (whatever applies) hours a week?  You're not concluding that seeing me watch TV at 5 pm means I did not attend my classes , study or do my papers for 6 hours today and that I wont be working another 3 hours this evening , are you?   

Shores

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 11:20:44 PM »
But putting the term must in front of it makes it a qualifying experience.  Must be nice....even if you say it with nothing attached means, in comparison to what?
That makes no grammatical sense at all. If you said "Must be nicer than!" THEN you would have to have something else attached. There's no comparison implied with "that must be nice." If you said "that must be exciting!" would you have to say what its in comparison to? If you said "that's too bad", would you ask "in comparison to what?" It's expressing a thought that whatever you just shared is good new. It's "nice!" Are there people who use it sarcastically? Absolutely. Am I willing to concede that a phrase is immediately wrong due to those people? Nope. People say "good job" sarcastically all the time. It doesn't make it a rude statement.



I can agree to that, but the words themselves carry a weight when they are constantly connected with a negative tone.  I still don't understand your motivations, though.   :-[
I thought I explained my motivations quite clearly. I'll try again. "Must be nice!" or "That must be nice!" or "Must be exciting!" or a million other ways to phrase it is said as an expression of excitement/happiness on someone else's behalf because they get to do something/go somewhere that I do not get to. It's no different than "How cool!" or "awesome!" unless it is intentionally said nastily. That doesn't make the phrase itself rude or wrong.

Overall, unless a clear and discernible tone is present (which would clearly make ANY uttered phrase sarcastic and rude), how about giving people the benefit of the doubt and not taking offense at the drop of a hat?
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2011, 11:35:18 PM »
But putting the term must in front of it makes it a qualifying experience.  Must be nice....even if you say it with nothing attached means, in comparison to what?
That makes no grammatical sense at all. If you said "Must be nicer than!" THEN you would have to have something else attached. There's no comparison implied with "that must be nice." If you said "that must be exciting!" would you have to say what its in comparison to? If you said "that's too bad", would you ask "in comparison to what?" It's expressing a thought that whatever you just shared is good new. It's "nice!" Are there people who use it sarcastically? Absolutely. Am I willing to concede that a phrase is immediately wrong due to those people? Nope. People say "good job" sarcastically all the time. It doesn't make it a rude statement.



I can agree to that, but the words themselves carry a weight when they are constantly connected with a negative tone.  I still don't understand your motivations, though.   :-[
I thought I explained my motivations quite clearly. I'll try again. "Must be nice!" or "That must be nice!" or "Must be exciting!" or a million other ways to phrase it is said as an expression of excitement/happiness on someone else's behalf because they get to do something/go somewhere that I do not get to. It's no different than "How cool!" or "awesome!" unless it is intentionally said nastily. That doesn't make the phrase itself rude or wrong.

Overall, unless a clear and discernible tone is present (which would clearly make ANY uttered phrase sarcastic and rude), how about giving people the benefit of the doubt and not taking offense at the drop of a hat?

But why point out that you don't get to do it?  That's what I don't get.  Why does that have to be added, what are the motivations behind pointing out that you don't get to do it?

I also did not take offense at the drop of a hat.  I do not know where from you got that conclusion.  My boyfriend is not saying it to be genuinely happy for someone.  His tone of voice explicitly implies that he is resentful that he does not get to do it.  In your words, "a discernible tone is present".  He does not say it with an upbeat tone of voice.  I also conceded that I would be less annoyed if it were to be said upbeat (as in the way you described you said it) but added that I still would not understand why it was being said that particular way; that does not mean I would take offense at the drop of a hat.  Like I said, I would be confused.
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