Author Topic: The etiquette of good news / happiness  (Read 3351 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 12:07:04 PM »
Perhaps with the job, you could compare it to a previous job you didn't like?  "Oh, work is still going well.  I am SO grateful, especially after the time I spent at Kicks Puppies Co.  Did I ever tell you about the time..."  Your happy circumstances may be easier to handle if they remember that you didn't always have it so good.

Oh, why be negative? It's not good for you, nor is it necessary, to run around always reminding yourself of the places and times you were UNhappy.

Just talk about specifics. The more specific you are, the less gloating it'll be.

SamiHami

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2012, 01:12:25 PM »
Remember that by having a generally happy demeanor you are putting good energy out there. It's a reminder to people that things can get better. As a person who has struggled with depression for years, I know that when I surround myself with positive people I tend to have a better attitude in general myself. Being with other depressed or unhappy people seems to feed the beast and brings me down. So I say don't brag, but don't be afraid to show your happiness at your good fortune when appropriate. And don't be afraid to spread the sunshine around!

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Iris

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2012, 03:14:57 PM »
About #1, there was nothing worse to me than to have someone complain about their pregnancy in front of me.  But being happy about their pregnancy let me be happy too.  Of course, each couple will be different so I think just playing by ear would work the best -- but in my infertility groups, the biggest gripes/hurts used to come from others complaining about their pregnancy. 

Overall though, I've found that the truly happy people don't have to state their happiness.  It comes across in their entire being. 

That's very true - it's certainly not a case of me wanting to go around saying "I'm soooo happy! My life is sooo awesome!".       It just kind of comes across.    e.g. I look back at what I've said in a particular conversation and realise it's all really really positive things.   If people ask me casually about work, I only have exciting things to say, and if I know they're in a negative place it's hard to know how much I should tone it down and just say "Oh yeah it's going well" and redirect the conversation. 

Re the pregnancy complaints, it's actually a pet peeve of mine when people complain about their pregnancy or about their children.   I understand commiserating / sharing issues with those who can relate, but I really dislike negativity about life choices.  (I feel the same way about people who constantly complain about their spouse or say nasty things about them - it just seems so horrible unless it's a constructive conversation designed to help fix a specific problem!).   So I don't think I'm guilty of that.   On occasion when I've commented to DH about a particular unexpected pregnancy ailment he comments "But you wanted a baby!"  and that's really what it comes down to in the end.   I would never ever complain to my siblings about pregnancy being hard, when I know how much their spouses want to be pregnant.  My SIL cried when she found out I was pregnant, but I know that she is truly happy for me.  She's just unhappy for herself.

I think that's a bit much. I chose to have children, sure, but to expect me to be ecstatically happy about every single aspect of child raising all the time is unrealistic at best. Women choose to be pregnant, but if they throw up every day for three months they are entitled to not like that and frankly if I mentioned that fact to my husband and the only sympathy he could muster was "Well, you wanted a child" I'd be pretty ticked off.

I also chose my career, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have a bad day at work and want to unload. All life choices, even ones that you are very happy with, have occasional downsides.



Unloading on an infertile or unemployed person isn't a right and likely to hurt feelings.  There are other people who can and should fulfill that role for those who need it.

Obviously complaining to a friend desperately trying to get pregnant and failing that morning sickness is a pain is tactless and could lead to hurt feelings, but that's not the point here. A general, blanket statement was made about complaints about pregnancy/children with no caveat as to who those complaints were made to. That's what I was responding to. In fact the specific instance given was complaining to a *spouse*. If I can't say to my husband EVER "Gee, the kids drove me nuts today" without being harshly judged for it then I think that's a bit much. YMMV.

To explain why I feel so strongly about this - there were a lot of social issues in previous decades because women were falsely given the impression that motherhood was one everlasting joy which led to many women feeling unnecessarily guilty because when their baby cried for 8 hours straight they didn't actually enjoy that. My own mother carried guilt for literally decades for this exact reason. We've come a long way towards "Yes, if you never feel like you love your baby you may have PPD, but it is normal and healthy for some women to at times feel frustrated, exhausted, and even panicked as to whether they have done the right thing. Please seek help if you are feeling too alone or overwhelmed." I am extremely worried about the new trend towards "Well, SOME people can't have children and you WANTED them, so you should never, ever complain or you're being INSENSITIVE!" What if Caellach (god forbid) says to her husband after the baby is born "I just feel so alone, and like I'm a terrible mother. I just want to sleep all the time" and he says "But you wanted a baby!" instead of "Poor darling. I will take care of the baby for tonight while you sleep, and tomorrow we might visit the doctor."
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mj

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2012, 03:38:18 PM »
About #1, there was nothing worse to me than to have someone complain about their pregnancy in front of me.  But being happy about their pregnancy let me be happy too.  Of course, each couple will be different so I think just playing by ear would work the best -- but in my infertility groups, the biggest gripes/hurts used to come from others complaining about their pregnancy. 

Overall though, I've found that the truly happy people don't have to state their happiness.  It comes across in their entire being. 

That's very true - it's certainly not a case of me wanting to go around saying "I'm soooo happy! My life is sooo awesome!".       It just kind of comes across.    e.g. I look back at what I've said in a particular conversation and realise it's all really really positive things.   If people ask me casually about work, I only have exciting things to say, and if I know they're in a negative place it's hard to know how much I should tone it down and just say "Oh yeah it's going well" and redirect the conversation. 

Re the pregnancy complaints, it's actually a pet peeve of mine when people complain about their pregnancy or about their children.   I understand commiserating / sharing issues with those who can relate, but I really dislike negativity about life choices.  (I feel the same way about people who constantly complain about their spouse or say nasty things about them - it just seems so horrible unless it's a constructive conversation designed to help fix a specific problem!).   So I don't think I'm guilty of that.   On occasion when I've commented to DH about a particular unexpected pregnancy ailment he comments "But you wanted a baby!"  and that's really what it comes down to in the end.   I would never ever complain to my siblings about pregnancy being hard, when I know how much their spouses want to be pregnant.  My SIL cried when she found out I was pregnant, but I know that she is truly happy for me.  She's just unhappy for herself.

I think that's a bit much. I chose to have children, sure, but to expect me to be ecstatically happy about every single aspect of child raising all the time is unrealistic at best. Women choose to be pregnant, but if they throw up every day for three months they are entitled to not like that and frankly if I mentioned that fact to my husband and the only sympathy he could muster was "Well, you wanted a child" I'd be pretty ticked off.

I also chose my career, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have a bad day at work and want to unload. All life choices, even ones that you are very happy with, have occasional downsides.



Unloading on an infertile or unemployed person isn't a right and likely to hurt feelings.  There are other people who can and should fulfill that role for those who need it.

Obviously complaining to a friend desperately trying to get pregnant and failing that morning sickness is a pain is tactless and could lead to hurt feelings, but that's not the point here. A general, blanket statement was made about complaints about pregnancy/children with no caveat as to who those complaints were made to. That's what I was responding to. In fact the specific instance given was complaining to a *spouse*. If I can't say to my husband EVER "Gee, the kids drove me nuts today" without being harshly judged for it then I think that's a bit much. YMMV.

To explain why I feel so strongly about this - there were a lot of social issues in previous decades because women were falsely given the impression that motherhood was one everlasting joy which led to many women feeling unnecessarily guilty because when their baby cried for 8 hours straight they didn't actually enjoy that. My own mother carried guilt for literally decades for this exact reason. We've come a long way towards "Yes, if you never feel like you love your baby you may have PPD, but it is normal and healthy for some women to at times feel frustrated, exhausted, and even panicked as to whether they have done the right thing. Please seek help if you are feeling too alone or overwhelmed." I am extremely worried about the new trend towards "Well, SOME people can't have children and you WANTED them, so you should never, ever complain or you're being INSENSITIVE!" What if Caellach (god forbid) says to her husband after the baby is born "I just feel so alone, and like I'm a terrible mother. I just want to sleep all the time" and he says "But you wanted a baby!" instead of "Poor darling. I will take care of the baby for tonight while you sleep, and tomorrow we might visit the doctor."

The very first post in this quote tree is mine and did very specifically address complaining to infertile couples.  The original poster followed up with her own experience with her own husband.  At no time was there a general blanket statement made. 

Iris

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2012, 03:48:00 PM »
Okay, we've gotten muddled in the quote tree. I see.

I was responding to

" it's actually a pet peeve of mine when people complain about their pregnancy or about their children" and the rest of that paragraph, especially "On occasion when I've commented to DH about a particular unexpected pregnancy ailment he comments "But you wanted a baby!"  and that's really what it comes down to in the end." Sorry for the misunderstanding.
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Ceallach

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2012, 06:41:06 PM »
About #1, there was nothing worse to me than to have someone complain about their pregnancy in front of me.  But being happy about their pregnancy let me be happy too.  Of course, each couple will be different so I think just playing by ear would work the best -- but in my infertility groups, the biggest gripes/hurts used to come from others complaining about their pregnancy. 

Overall though, I've found that the truly happy people don't have to state their happiness.  It comes across in their entire being. 

That's very true - it's certainly not a case of me wanting to go around saying "I'm soooo happy! My life is sooo awesome!".       It just kind of comes across.    e.g. I look back at what I've said in a particular conversation and realise it's all really really positive things.   If people ask me casually about work, I only have exciting things to say, and if I know they're in a negative place it's hard to know how much I should tone it down and just say "Oh yeah it's going well" and redirect the conversation. 

Re the pregnancy complaints, it's actually a pet peeve of mine when people complain about their pregnancy or about their children.   I understand commiserating / sharing issues with those who can relate, but I really dislike negativity about life choices.  (I feel the same way about people who constantly complain about their spouse or say nasty things about them - it just seems so horrible unless it's a constructive conversation designed to help fix a specific problem!).   So I don't think I'm guilty of that.   On occasion when I've commented to DH about a particular unexpected pregnancy ailment he comments "But you wanted a baby!"  and that's really what it comes down to in the end.   I would never ever complain to my siblings about pregnancy being hard, when I know how much their spouses want to be pregnant.  My SIL cried when she found out I was pregnant, but I know that she is truly happy for me.  She's just unhappy for herself.

I think that's a bit much. I chose to have children, sure, but to expect me to be ecstatically happy about every single aspect of child raising all the time is unrealistic at best. Women choose to be pregnant, but if they throw up every day for three months they are entitled to not like that and frankly if I mentioned that fact to my husband and the only sympathy he could muster was "Well, you wanted a child" I'd be pretty ticked off.

I also chose my career, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have a bad day at work and want to unload. All life choices, even ones that you are very happy with, have occasional downsides.

On the original topic - be happy, enjoy it, and if others can't handle it that's their problem. Within normal conversational bounds there is nothing wrong with expressing happiness. I discuss my happy relationship with my single friends when it is a natural part of the conversation and there's never been any problem.

I never said people have to be little miss sunshine about every detail, I'm certainly not.  It's not an all or nothing type of thing where people MUST be happy all the time.  Right now I'd love nothing more than to get out of bed and get on with my day, instead my body is refusing to cooperate and demanding yet more rest.  That kind of sucks, and if somebody asked how I was feeling I'd definitely say that I'm tired and that adjusting to the slowdown is a challenge.  But I certainly wouldn't start venting about how being pregnant is soooo hard and I'm always sooo tired and this whole thing sucks.   When I say I don't like people complaining about their life choices, that's the kind of thing I mean.  When they're complaining to the point that you wonder "Wow, I wonder why they bothered in the first place?".      That's what I dislike.  Likewise I have no problem with people venting about their children or spouses or specific issues.  I don't like the whole "My husband is such an idiot, marriage is such a waste of time" constant putdown type of complaining.   But of course you're entitled to disagree with me.

I guess I could say I'm differentiating between actual complaints vs. constant complaining. 

Anyway, this wasn't the actual point of the thread so let's not split hairs over a fairly minor side comment.
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Ceallach

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2012, 07:00:58 PM »
About #1, there was nothing worse to me than to have someone complain about their pregnancy in front of me.  But being happy about their pregnancy let me be happy too.  Of course, each couple will be different so I think just playing by ear would work the best -- but in my infertility groups, the biggest gripes/hurts used to come from others complaining about their pregnancy. 

Overall though, I've found that the truly happy people don't have to state their happiness.  It comes across in their entire being. 

That's very true - it's certainly not a case of me wanting to go around saying "I'm soooo happy! My life is sooo awesome!".       It just kind of comes across.    e.g. I look back at what I've said in a particular conversation and realise it's all really really positive things.   If people ask me casually about work, I only have exciting things to say, and if I know they're in a negative place it's hard to know how much I should tone it down and just say "Oh yeah it's going well" and redirect the conversation. 

Re the pregnancy complaints, it's actually a pet peeve of mine when people complain about their pregnancy or about their children.   I understand commiserating / sharing issues with those who can relate, but I really dislike negativity about life choices.  (I feel the same way about people who constantly complain about their spouse or say nasty things about them - it just seems so horrible unless it's a constructive conversation designed to help fix a specific problem!).   So I don't think I'm guilty of that.   On occasion when I've commented to DH about a particular unexpected pregnancy ailment he comments "But you wanted a baby!"  and that's really what it comes down to in the end.   I would never ever complain to my siblings about pregnancy being hard, when I know how much their spouses want to be pregnant.  My SIL cried when she found out I was pregnant, but I know that she is truly happy for me.  She's just unhappy for herself.

I think that's a bit much. I chose to have children, sure, but to expect me to be ecstatically happy about every single aspect of child raising all the time is unrealistic at best. Women choose to be pregnant, but if they throw up every day for three months they are entitled to not like that and frankly if I mentioned that fact to my husband and the only sympathy he could muster was "Well, you wanted a child" I'd be pretty ticked off.

I also chose my career, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have a bad day at work and want to unload. All life choices, even ones that you are very happy with, have occasional downsides.



Unloading on an infertile or unemployed person isn't a right and likely to hurt feelings.  There are other people who can and should fulfill that role for those who need it.

Obviously complaining to a friend desperately trying to get pregnant and failing that morning sickness is a pain is tactless and could lead to hurt feelings, but that's not the point here. A general, blanket statement was made about complaints about pregnancy/children with no caveat as to who those complaints were made to. That's what I was responding to. In fact the specific instance given was complaining to a *spouse*. If I can't say to my husband EVER "Gee, the kids drove me nuts today" without being harshly judged for it then I think that's a bit much. YMMV.

To explain why I feel so strongly about this - there were a lot of social issues in previous decades because women were falsely given the impression that motherhood was one everlasting joy which led to many women feeling unnecessarily guilty because when their baby cried for 8 hours straight they didn't actually enjoy that. My own mother carried guilt for literally decades for this exact reason. We've come a long way towards "Yes, if you never feel like you love your baby you may have PPD, but it is normal and healthy for some women to at times feel frustrated, exhausted, and even panicked as to whether they have done the right thing. Please seek help if you are feeling too alone or overwhelmed." I am extremely worried about the new trend towards "Well, SOME people can't have children and you WANTED them, so you should never, ever complain or you're being INSENSITIVE!" What if Caellach (god forbid) says to her husband after the baby is born "I just feel so alone, and like I'm a terrible mother. I just want to sleep all the time" and he says "But you wanted a baby!" instead of "Poor darling. I will take care of the baby for tonight while you sleep, and tomorrow we might visit the doctor."

As I mentioned in my OP, I myself suffered severe clinical depression for many, many years.  My husband supported me through that for a very long time, so do you really think he would suddenly turn into an unsupportive jerk if I succumb to PND, or even just the baby blues?   That makes no sense. 

Just because I'm happy this year and have a great life right now, doesn't mean I'm immune to day to day issues.  The situations I was referring to when he reminded me that this pregnancy is a *good thing* were the very odd occasion where I commented "Wow, being pregnant is hard!" type remarks (which to me falls into the category of "complaining about a life choice").     In terms of actual day-to-day issues such as "I am tired can you get dinner" or "My feet are killing me" or "I have been throwing up for 3 hours and can't sleep", he is extremely supportive.

FWIW, my tertiary studies (for over a decade) were all focused on Psychology and Sociology, including extensive time focused on women's issues, and even a specialist semester on PND and pregnancy related concerns.  I also work in the disability and mental health fields.   Please take my word for it that I do not in any way minimize people's individual issues nor do I think it's productive to compare one person's situation to another in terms of coping.  If we did that nobody would ever be entitled to be upset about anything, there's always somebody worse off!   Again, this is completely irrelevant to the thread but I hope it sets your mind at ease that I'm not "harshly judging" anybody, nor am I perpetuating negative social pressures!
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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2012, 01:40:13 PM »
I am kind of experiencing this myself, except ironically my life is not necessarily going well - I have just developed a better attitude/coping skills about it. I have battled PTSD and severe depression for the past 2 yrs. Therapy/group work/inner work and meds have finally seemed to kick in and I am actually feeling better. I am now apparently the 'happiest' person in my support group. I do not feel guilty for feeling good or worry about upsetting others. I am hopeful for them. If I could crawl out of the pit then I have faith that they can lift themselves up as well. I hope they can look at me and realize that it can get better. I'm no shining beacon or even a "success story" - I was down and now I'm up and I'll take it!

I remember when I was stressed about being unemployed, I sometimes got tired of hearing my friend talk about her job, especially if she was complaining. I felt resentful that she was griping about her job when I didn't even have one. But that was my problem and coming from a petty and bitter place in my mind. Now that I'm more optimistic (though still unemployed), I wouldn't care if she talks about her job. I guess my point is, you can control what you say, but you can't control how other people feel about it (or themselves) and react to it.

There is a difference between bragging about good fortune and simply acknowledging/celebrating it with people you care about. When I talk about my own joy, I am also wishing that joy on my friends and family - "I'm happy and I hope you are too. If you are struggling, I empathize and wish you comfort and success." I am reaching out instead of wallowing in my own misery. If others are not doing so well, I may or may not be able to commiserate by sharing my own story of woe, but I can still sympathize. I can still listen.

As long as your own happiness and good fortune don't prevent you from caring about those less happy or fortunate that you, you should not apologize or worry about sharing with them.

Joy should be inspirational and contagious - not a cause of jealousy or sadness!
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Allyson

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2012, 02:47:45 PM »
I think you're awesome to acknowledge that things are going really well for you! So often people will focus on the negative no matter what, and someone else who is having a genuinely rough time will only ever hear 'me too!' type comments...as though everyone needs to be miserable together. Being happy and putting out happy energy is so necessary, especially for people who maybe aren't doing so well. You aren't going out of your way to derail their issues with your good news, and really that would be a problem even if you were derailing their issues with your *bad* news.

There are some people who want everyone to be unhappy when they are, but I think most people aren't going to see it as gloating. I hope, anyway! Though one thing you might have to deal with is comments like 'oh, must be nice to...' and 'you're so lucky that..' that almost seem like you should be guilty about feeling joy. That can be frustrating because there's no good response...when it happens to me, I just say "Yes!' and change the subject.

Sterling

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2012, 11:26:22 PM »
I am right there with you.  My life right now is amazing.  In the last 12months I finished my masters degree and was accepted to the doctoral program i want, got a huge promotion at work, got married to an amazing man and had a dream wedding followed by a once in a life time trip, we refinanced the house cutting the interest rate in half, both of us got major raises and paid of big debt, and about a month after we got home from the honeymoon we found out we were expecting a baby.

Best year ever.  I know how lucky we are because previous years had not been so good.  There have been years of clinical depression, money trouble to the point of needing a food bank, unemployement, deaths in the family and relationship problems.

My solution is to be supportive of others and relate to them about the bad things.  Share the good things in a way that doesn't make their problems seem unimportant and in front of those who are suffering be grateful for the good things in your life.
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Yankeegal77

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Re: The etiquette of good news / happiness
« Reply #25 on: December 25, 2012, 03:28:29 PM »
First, @Celleach, I am sooo glad that you are in a good place! Enjoy it. Relish it. And don't feel bad. You deserve to be here.

Regarding your pregnancy--there is a line between a little healthy complaining (sitting down slowly with friends and if your back hurts, maybe a small, off-hand comment of, wow, this kid doesn't want me to sit down!") and the obnoxious complaining that some women do. It annoys some of us, but it can be downright insensitive to women who are childless not by choice. It's a real know-your-audience thing.

With your friends--the very best thing you can do is LISTEN and if you have advice, give it. If you can't commiserate, don't. Just be very sincere, try to chat about solutions and offer to help/be a shoulder to cry on. As someone who has had a less-than-stellar year, I can tell you that the fact my friends and family have listened to me and offered advice means the world.

Hope this makes sense. :)