Author Topic: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?  (Read 9010 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Shores

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7668
  • F.O.E.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2011, 11:57:13 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?

Oi. Let me try one more time. That whole "stream of conscious babble" in my first post was meant to SYMBOLIZE the thoughts that are running through my head when I said things like "must be nice!" or "must be exciting!" NONE of that is said aloud. It's just meant to show that I'm thinking "lucky you!" when I said things like "must be exciting!" I do not say that I don't get to do it.
Wherever you go.... there you are.

Aeris

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9641
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2011, 12:03:41 AM »
This is one of those cases of language running with connotations created solely from typical usage.

A very typical usage of 'must be nice' is to express some sort of judgment, or woe is me, or 'gee you're so spoiled and you don't even realize it' kind of feeling. Very much a 'wow, look at you, getting this awesome benefit - I would have liked that awesome benefit - but for some inexplicable reason, you got it and I didn't, and I'm jealous and resentful of that."

Typically, among people that I know, when someone is being passive aggressive, they say 'gee, must be nice'. When someone is being genuine, they say 'O-M-G, I am SO jealous!!" (Usually followed by "you better take pictures!!" or something.)

If I saw someone say 'must be nice' on say Facebook, without some seriously mitigating contextual usage, I would think they were most likely being passive aggressive, whiny, and a sourpuss.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5736
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2011, 12:11:25 AM »


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?

Oi. Let me try one more time. That whole "stream of conscious babble" in my first post was meant to SYMBOLIZE the thoughts that are running through my head when I said things like "must be nice!" or "must be exciting!" NONE of that is said aloud. It's just meant to show that I'm thinking "lucky you!" when I said things like "must be exciting!" I do not say that I don't get to do it.
<snipped some out to make the box shorter>

Let me try one more time to explain what I don't understand, because that's not it.  I realize that you do not say it out loud, but even you yourself said that was part of the motivation of saying those specific words.  You said (bolded is mine):
Quote
"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.

Why does it have to be excitement for that reason?  That's what I don't get.  Why can't you just be excited that they get to do it regardless of whether you do, too?  If that's the reason behind you saying those specific words, why is that the reason?  THAT is what I don't understand.  From what you said, your words "Must be nice" are because you don't get to do it.  Why does it matter that you don't get to do it?  That is the motivation I don't understand.  Why not say something that has no ties to whether you get to do it, too?
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Shores

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7668
  • F.O.E.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2011, 12:15:38 AM »


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?

Oi. Let me try one more time. That whole "stream of conscious babble" in my first post was meant to SYMBOLIZE the thoughts that are running through my head when I said things like "must be nice!" or "must be exciting!" NONE of that is said aloud. It's just meant to show that I'm thinking "lucky you!" when I said things like "must be exciting!" I do not say that I don't get to do it.
<snipped some out to make the box shorter>

Let me try one more time to explain what I don't understand, because that's not it.  I realize that you do not say it out loud, but even you yourself said that was part of the motivation of saying those specific words.  You said (bolded is mine):
Quote
"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.

Why does it have to be excitement for that reason?  That's what I don't get.  Why can't you just be excited that they get to do it regardless of whether you do, too?  If that's the reason behind you saying those specific words, why is that the reason?  THAT is what I don't understand.  From what you said, your words "Must be nice" are because you don't get to do it.  Why does it matter that you don't get to do it?  That is the motivation I don't understand.  Why not say something that has no ties to whether you get to do it, too?
Because.... if I was there doing it WITH them... I'd have no reason to express excitement at the news? Why would I say ANYTHING unless someone was sharing news that didn't relate to me? I really don't get your point. Any news that's shared is something I'm not doing... or it wouldn't be news, I'd already know. And generally, don't we comment on stuff that's exciting? You're right, I'm not likely to comment that your trip to Farm Fresh is Exciting or Nice or Wonderful. That's mundane. Going to Tahiti, taking a long vacation, shopping with Tim Gunn on Rodeo Drive... that's worth commenting on.
Wherever you go.... there you are.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5736
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2011, 12:18:58 AM »
This is one of those cases of language running with connotations created solely from typical usage.

A very typical usage of 'must be nice' is to express some sort of judgment, or woe is me, or 'gee you're so spoiled and you don't even realize it' kind of feeling. Very much a 'wow, look at you, getting this awesome benefit - I would have liked that awesome benefit - but for some inexplicable reason, you got it and I didn't, and I'm jealous and resentful of that."

Typically, among people that I know, when someone is being passive aggressive, they say 'gee, must be nice'. When someone is being genuine, they say 'O-M-G, I am SO jealous!!" (Usually followed by "you better take pictures!!" or something.)

If I saw someone say 'must be nice' on say Facebook, without some seriously mitigating contextual usage, I would think they were most likely being passive aggressive, whiny, and a sourpuss.

That has been my experience, too.

I also agree with the connotations from typical usage bit.  Even if someone did say it with an upbeat tone, people would question the motives simply because it is not usually heard that way.  I know it would definitely confuse me in the very least.  Even when Dark Boyfriend first started saying it I was confused.  I couldn't understand why he wanted me to feel guilty for having a good time. 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5736
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2011, 12:25:10 AM »


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?

Oi. Let me try one more time. That whole "stream of conscious babble" in my first post was meant to SYMBOLIZE the thoughts that are running through my head when I said things like "must be nice!" or "must be exciting!" NONE of that is said aloud. It's just meant to show that I'm thinking "lucky you!" when I said things like "must be exciting!" I do not say that I don't get to do it.
<snipped some out to make the box shorter>

Let me try one more time to explain what I don't understand, because that's not it.  I realize that you do not say it out loud, but even you yourself said that was part of the motivation of saying those specific words.  You said (bolded is mine):
Quote
"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.

Why does it have to be excitement for that reason?  That's what I don't get.  Why can't you just be excited that they get to do it regardless of whether you do, too?  If that's the reason behind you saying those specific words, why is that the reason?  THAT is what I don't understand.  From what you said, your words "Must be nice" are because you don't get to do it.  Why does it matter that you don't get to do it?  That is the motivation I don't understand.  Why not say something that has no ties to whether you get to do it, too?
Because.... if I was there doing it WITH them... I'd have no reason to express excitement at the news? Why would I say ANYTHING unless someone was sharing news that didn't relate to me? I really don't get your point. Any news that's shared is something I'm not doing... or it wouldn't be news, I'd already know. And generally, don't we comment on stuff that's exciting? You're right, I'm not likely to comment that your trip to Farm Fresh is Exciting or Nice or Wonderful. That's mundane. Going to Tahiti, taking a long vacation, shopping with Tim Gunn on Rodeo Drive... that's worth commenting on.

It's the words that are being used, not that something is being commented on.  I don't say "That sounds like fun!  I hope you have a great time!" with the motivation that I don't get to do it.  I am sharing in the excitement in the first part  and wishing them well in the second part.  I would think, though, if the news DID relate to you, you'd at least say, "Yes, I can't wait!  It's going to be so much fun!" or something similar (I realize not everyone would, but people do comment when things do relate to them and that's all I'm trying to say in that part).  This is why I don't get the motivation that you're saying those words because you don't get to do it.  Why does that factor in to commenting on somebody's exciting news?
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

bbgirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 734
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2011, 12:29:51 AM »
Ok, I can conceded that my grammar was incorrect.  Aeris was much more eloquent in stating how that phrase is used and I have to agree with her.  It's not a term used in social situations that doesn't hold some type of undercurrent or meaning. 

And please, written conversations can be had without the all caps emphasis. It really does feel as if you are yelling to get your point across and all that does it turn people off to civil conversation. 

Shores

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7668
  • F.O.E.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2011, 12:31:02 AM »

It's the words that are being used, not that something is being commented on.  I don't say "That sounds like fun!  I hope you have a great time!" with the motivation that I don't get to do it.  I am sharing in the excitement in the first part  and wishing them well in the second part.  I would think, though, if the news DID relate to you, you'd at least say, "Yes, I can't wait!  It's going to be so much fun!" or something similar (I realize not everyone would, but people do comment when things do relate to them and that's all I'm trying to say in that part).  This is why I don't get the motivation that you're saying those words because you don't get to do it.  Why does that factor in to commenting on somebody's exciting news?
Yeah, no, sorry. You're using semantics to twist motivations. We've hit the agree to disagree point.
Wherever you go.... there you are.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5736
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2011, 12:39:48 AM »

It's the words that are being used, not that something is being commented on.  I don't say "That sounds like fun!  I hope you have a great time!" with the motivation that I don't get to do it.  I am sharing in the excitement in the first part  and wishing them well in the second part.  I would think, though, if the news DID relate to you, you'd at least say, "Yes, I can't wait!  It's going to be so much fun!" or something similar (I realize not everyone would, but people do comment when things do relate to them and that's all I'm trying to say in that part).  This is why I don't get the motivation that you're saying those words because you don't get to do it.  Why does that factor in to commenting on somebody's exciting news?
Yeah, no, sorry. You're using semantics to twist motivations. We've hit the agree to disagree point.

Yeah, no, sorry, I don't think I am.  I will agree that we've hit that point, though.

bbgirl - I only ever get the yelling feeling when the entire sentence/long phrase is in caps.  Frankly, it's easier to put one word in all caps than it is to type the coding.  I am sorry you felt we were yelling; I felt we were emphasizing specific words rather than bolding.  (Yes, I realize that I did both in one post; I can't really tell you why the disparity). 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

bbgirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 734
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2011, 12:46:17 AM »
Sorry Dark M, I really only read it as yelling when it happens in every sentence and see it alot on the board and especially so when a conversation begins to heat up. I think it tends ot inflame discussions.  But perhaps I'm extra sensitive to it.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5736
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2011, 12:54:53 AM »
Sorry Dark M, I really only read it as yelling when it happens in every sentence and see it alot on the board and especially so when a conversation begins to heat up. I think it tends ot inflame discussions.  But perhaps I'm extra sensitive to it.

Quite alright  :D  People see things different ways.  I will try to be more consistent in the future just so no one things I'm yelling at all.  Then they will know when I'm yelling because it will be different  :P
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Paper Roses

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4807
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2011, 01:01:37 AM »
I have to say, I actually do see the OP's point.  So many people actually DO say "must be nice" in a sarcastic tone that it's bound to come across that way in print, or on line. 

I have even said it myself that way.  For example, we had tenants who got later and later paying their rent, until they eventually just didn't pay at all, and were insulted when we started eviction proceedings.  We often said, "Gee, it must be nice to drive around in a BMW, especially when you're not even paying your rent!" 

As for why he says it, if he means it that way, I don't know.  I think some people just express themselves that way so much that they don't even realize they're coming across badly.

Personally, rather than "Must be nice," if I really mean to express that I'm happy for someone, I'll say something more like "Wow!  That's great!" or "Awesome!" - I don't, as a rule, use "Must be nice" because I can see how it would come across seeming sarcastic.
No, you can't, because you wishpishabonnyfish.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28769
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2011, 01:09:27 AM »
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!

There's two ways "must be nice" can be interpreted,. You may find that your friends really don't appreciate their good news being greeted with that exact phrase, (unless you expand it significantly) because it is often is used in a very sarcastic way.

"That's nice!" is enthusiastic.

"Must be nice...." means "nice for YOU, but I never get anything like that, and why not? You don't deserve it more than I do."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2011, 01:14:51 AM »
I'm getting a bit tangential here but I've been musing on why "Must be nice" without any qualifiers sounds a bit snarky - and indeed has always been meant as a bit of a jab.

I think it's because we usually use the word 'must' when discussing something we haven't personally experienced e.g.
"I went to work with orphans in India for a month" "Wow, that must have been really interesting" - as in "I imagine" that that would be interesting, but I don't personally know.

So when someone says "must be nice" it does carry with it an undercurrent of "but I wouldn't know, myself". Hearing that often would really irritate me.

Dark Magdalena - it sounds as though you are having trouble with a few things with Dark Boyfriend lately and honestly they all seem to come down to poor communication. DB may not be aware how he comes across in certain circumstances and you may not be communicating to him effectively that he is bothering you. Don't really have any advice to fix that, sorry, but just my 2c.

"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28769
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2011, 01:30:16 AM »
So when someone says "must be nice" it does carry with it an undercurrent of "but I wouldn't know, myself".

That's it, exactly. As opposed to "that IS nice," which just recognizes something is pleasant.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."