Author Topic: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?  (Read 9004 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5729
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2011, 01:52:56 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.

I was wondering why, too, but I couldn't pinpoint it exactly.  I think you've hit it right on the button.

Honestly, I think a lot of it is my own communication problems.  When something doesn't involve my feelings, I have absolutely no problem talking about it.  Oh, that noise really grates on my ears...so I say, "Can you please stop doing that?  It hurts my ears."  When emotions come into play, however, I freeze up.  I have a history of feeling like when my feelings get brought up I am dismissed and scoffed at, or I am told that I shouldn't be feeling that way and wind up thinking it's wrong to feel that way.  When he says, "Must be nice", it makes me feel guilty.  In trying to work on feeling guilty for how I feel, I am trying to look at things from a different point of view (the whole your sandals and tan lines are gross thing...that thread was very enlightening!).  That was also why I posted this thread and why I was trying to understand shores's point of view.  I know I have problems in these areas and am trying to work on them, and that includes how to bring up how I feel in a constructive manner, especially without being too rational point of fact about it.  So again, you've hit it right on the button.  (It's also not necessarily all him; I have been very short of patience lately and am stressing over a lot of things.  I am trying my best not to take it out on him...I didn't even think of him saying this until I saw it on Facebook and how awful it made me feel about what people must think of him because he isn't usually like that.)
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Aeris

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9641
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2011, 01:58:14 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.

Possibly, though I do think we may be searching entirely too hard for a logical reason why the phrase means what it seems to mean. I'm not convinced there's much linguistic logic to it at all, really. I've been thinking more about what I posted above.

Logically, 'must be nice' would be the nice phrase, and 'I'm so jealous' would be the nasty phrase. Yet somehow, that's just now how they are used. "I'm so jealous" seems to be universally nice, in my experience, which is odd.

Additionally, a lot of times the addition of totally meaningless words can cut the negative impact of 'must be nice' - for no logical linguistics reason. Just because it moves it further away from the stock phrase. If I see "Wow, that must be so nice to have your deck finally finished", I don't read any negativity at all. But if someone simply says "Wow, must be nice" all that negativity is there - is the word 'that' or 'so' really so powerful? No, it's just that somehow, contextually, the other phrase seems to come off at face value - because it's not invoking the meme/idiom nearly so directly.

iradney

  • DoSWMBO
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 555
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2011, 06:54:57 AM »
I've only ever experienced "Must be nice" in a sarcastic, golly-gee-whiz-aren't-you-a-super-privileged-person kind of way.

E.g.
 
"I'm going for a mani-pedi this weekend!"
"Oh...that must be nice <sneer>"

Generally when people I've met are genuinely excited about something for you, phrases like:
"That is awesome" "Holy cow, that sounds like fun" "Hey, need someone to carry your bags?" "Oh, that's a brilliant experience"

I don't know if it's a generational thing. But the people that say "That must be nice" in my experience have been the same people who call servers and cashiers "my friend" "honey" and "sweetie" - and not in a friendly manner. So of course, that does colour my opinion of those phrases.
“It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.”
-Thomas Huxley

poundcake

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1365
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2011, 09:44:28 AM »
95% of the time, anyone I encounter responding "Must be nice" mean it passive-aggressively. It's just one of those phrases, like "Have a nice day!" that has come to mean something, so that the 5% who might mean it genuinely would be better off finding a less loaded way to express genuine pleasure. Of course, most of it depends on the person saying it, and it is likely that you know a person who can say "It must be nice" and they really mean it in a good way; because you know the person well, you know that's how they mean it. But generally it's almost always said and heard in the previously mentioned "sarcastic, golly-gee-whiz-aren't-you-a-super-privileged-person kind of way."

A flip-side of this is a great aunt of mine who had a pat phrase that she used in response most of the time: "Oh, good, that's nice." (And "nice" had a particular midwestern tang to it when she said it, like "nay-ice.") So conversations went:

"Aunt Lola, did you hear, we just bought a house!"
"Oh, good, that's nice."
"The kids went to Disney World last week. They brought you a little present."
"Oh, good, that's nice."
"We're all going to have Thanksgiving dinner at Sister and BiL's this year. We can pick you up if you don't want to drive."
"Oh, good, that's nice."


I'm sure she didn't mean it to sound sarcastic, but after a while, it was hard not to hear it as "Aunt Lola doesn't really pay attention to what we say" or "Is Aunt Lola being passive-aggressive about this?" And it got to the point where family members can't say "Oh, that's nice!" genuinely, because all the meaning has been siphoned away with previous experience.


SiotehCat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3712
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2011, 10:39:49 AM »
I use "that must be nice" a lot. There is nothing sarcastic in the way that I say it and I don't think anyone has ever said it to me in a sarcastic tone.

Frostblooded

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1246
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2011, 10:45:43 AM »
It sounds like this is perhaps a local thing. Where I'm from (Central Virginia area) it's used in a sarcastic way and is very passive-aggressive, and I wouldn't find it 'nice' at all.

grannyclampettjr

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 212
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2011, 12:53:44 PM »
I've always heard it as a jab as well.   I've heard it most frequently from women with children--"Must be nice to have all that free time since you don't have any responsibilities."  Well, yeah, it is.  I've deliberately arranged my life so as to have it run as smoothly as possible.  And it took me a long time to achieve it, as women without kids are frequently given the worst schedules at work, which puts a definite crimp into doing things like dating, taking classes, starting a side business and generally advancing ones life.   

OP I hear what you are saying about the housework.  I prefer to use my alone time for other things.  I can do the housework when the BF is home.  It's harder to sink into a good book, watch a chick flick, write or draw when he is home.   But I've had a hard time getting him to see it that way.  My strategy is to take a few minutes and take care of any major messes (usually his, as he is much messier than I am) just to keep the peace.  It really doesn't take long--I've spent much longer stewing over it than it actually takes to do.  You mentioned dishes.  This is probably his hot button.  Try taking 5-10 minutes to do the dishes and wipe the counters and see if that doesn't hush him up.   If he keeps finding other things to harp on after you've done what he asks then he's the one with the problem, but you won't know until you do what he asks.   After I started to do just a couple of minor things his way, my BF backed off on just about everything else.  As a matter of fact he told me as he was leaving for work to take it easy today and not worry about housework and cooking.   

gollymolly2

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2703
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2011, 01:13:44 PM »
I think in most contexts I've heard it, it's at least passive aggressive, although I believe the posters who say they say it without any hidden meaning.

  I think, though, that if you know people are going to infer something from a phrase you use, even if that's not what you meant to imply at all, it may be better to use a different phrase.  Im not sure whether enough posters here have weighed in to suggest that this is the case here, but it's something to think about.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10014
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2011, 01:18:23 PM »
Add me to the people who've only heard it in a PA tone. I think it can be meant benignly, but that's not how I interpret it because of the tone that tends to go with it.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

cass2591

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3372
Re: Why does he say, "Must be nice"?
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2011, 03:12:17 PM »
This is obviously a phrase that, in my opinion, is construed via tone, mainly. Perhaps in writing it would be contextual. Either way, people have differing reactions and this thread is going nowhere except down.

Additionally, if you are unsure as to what somebody meant, ask to clarify rather than tell them their grammar made no sense. I get the distinct impression that some people are begging to be banned, and we are more than happy to oblige. What I don't understand is why read/post here if it's so unpleasant.

Thread locked.
There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~ Mark Twain

Adopting a pet won't change the world, but it will change the world for that pet.