Sucks to Be You...

So I write to one of my friends about my recent potential medical problems. The gist of it is that I went to the doctor last week, had my blood drawn and gave a urine sample and tomorrow I go get an ultrasound on my liver and gallbladder, to see if I might have gallstones. So I tell my friend this and she writes back,

“Sorry about your ultrasound. Sucks to be you.”

I was taken aback by this. How should I respond? Is this offensive? I talked to my best friend down in Kentucky and she was offended by it, but she’s quite opinionated and is apt to fly off the handle about comments that might not be that bad. I’m the opposite. People can say things to me and I have no idea that they’re being mean to me or offensive. How would you react if you got a response like this?

As for my reaction, I was a bit hurt, but have decided to think about this so that I don’t jump to conclusions, which is a very bad habit of mine, and the reason why I’m asking you guys about it.

off with her head!

I would usually take “sucks to be you” as sarchastic and unfriendly. I don’t know your friend’s sensibilities, so this is all conjecture - but I would be offended.

I can’t imagine responding to such news this way. This is a phrase reserved for when someone you couldn’t care less about expresses annoyance at something trivial. It would seriously piss me off if I got a response like this to a similar email.

With friends like this, sucks to be…

Depends on how close a friend she is. If I was really close to someone, and they knew me well, I might say something like this, but only if they knew me well enough to know that I meant it differently then how it sounds. I don’t think that I would say this to someone that I didn’t know really well though, maybe she was having a bad day or something…

Like Slacker wrote, I dunno how your friend usually comes across, so I might be wrong. That being said, I’d be pretty pissed if someone responded to news of a medical problem of mine in that manner. In my view, “Sucks to be you” equals “Oh well…Tough shit, I guess.” Was this the entire contents of the email?

I understand that it’s sort of a weird reaction, but if you have to ask us whether or not to be offended, you’re not offended. Why try to be?

I think it was kind of offhanded and tactless, but not meant in any malicious way. I’d write back and say “wow, way to lay it on the line, babe” and she’d probably see that it seemed curt.


It sounds unfriendly and sarcastic to me.

However, I first saw this phrase used in the online comic Sluggy Freelance, where it was the callous remark of a particularly unpleasant character, though, so my view of it may be a little biased.

Yes, this was the entire content of the e-mail. I had written a pretty long e-mail about my days and such and my trip to the doctor’s office, etc.

I’ve had emotional rodeos with this friend before, because I’ve never had a friend with her type of personality. I went through 6 months last year hating her guts, but then I decided that I was making much ado about nothing and became friends with her again. Lots of times I jump to conclusions and I need other people’s opinions, which is rather odd, to see if I’m correct in making a big deal out of it.

I’m thinking that she means well, but is so self-centered that she doesn’t realize her response comes off as cold and uncaring. Lucky for me, I’m out of high school and she’s still in it and it’s easier to begin to distance myself from her.

It is an immature and callous response that shows she has no feelings and doesn’t give a flying frick about you. Although it is not quite as bad as stepping on you while you are down, it’s basically equivanelt to not offering you a hand up.

The only times I’ve ever heard this expression, it was definitely sarcastic and mean-spirited. I’d certainly not say it to someone who I cared about, especially regarding something as serious as gallstones. Not much of a friend, I’m guessing…

My take is that she was trying to be humorous. You say she is only in high school. You wrote a pretty heavy letter to her and downloaded a lot onto her. She might not have the maturity to graciously reply something about how she feels sorry that you are going thru alot, yadda yadda yadda. So instead she uses humor to deal with a serious issue.

She also might be one of those who laughs at problems, even her own. That kinds of person comes across as callous rather than just a fairly optimistic person. This kind of person only worries when it is really serious, and I mean the death kind of serious.

Even if she wasn’t kidding, you have the choice of how to interpret her words. You can reply with a humorous response so that she knows you took her words as a joke or let this fester within you. I think it is healthier for you–you are going thru some pretty serious health issues and don’t need this kind of stress. So just reply back with humor. Maybe something like the below:

Yep, sounds sarcastic and petty to me.
Something along the lines of what I’d say would be, “Oh man, that really sucks, I’m so sorry.” and that’s not even being that nice.

Anyway, I’d say something to her about her being rude. In the mean time, next time you’re online IM me and let me know how it went.

Love ya

When my dear father was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, an acquaintance responded by saying, “Boy, that sucks!” This coming from an assh*le who thought the world was ending whenever he had a cold.

I felt like ripping his throat out, which would have really sucked for him.

No! This is text we’re talking about, here!

What am I telling you right now? -->
Exactly! You can’t tell how I meant it. This is one of the problems of text communication. Don’t let it spike your guns. Instead, sit there and say that phrase out loud until you hit upon what your friend probably really meant (hint: put the emphasis on sucks).

This phrase, now in common currency, replaces “wow, that’s a bummer, man” a 1960 slang phrase that was itself revied in the 1980’s for ironic, not empathetic value.

Of course what you need to receive is “I’m so sorry to hear that, is there anything I can do?” But to many people this comes out sounding insincere: “tell you what, 'cause I’m a friend, I’ll enroll in medical school and dedicate my life to curing your disease.” Not likely, so why lie?

All you wanted was a kind, if empty, word; not the brutal truth. But three truths apply when you’re young:

  1. You want to be more honest than the preceeding generation.
  2. Your world is new, so you must express yourself using phrases new to the world.
  3. You have no time whatsoever for other people’s troubles.

Try not to dwell on it, or at least not take it personally. You have enough troubles now without agonizing over the lack of common courtesy in some people.

It’s just my opinion, but if you have to a lot of time and effort deciding whether you’ve been insulted, you should probably assume you weren’t and let it go.

This is what my mom was saying. But I tend to think that my friend can be pretty self-centered, cocky, and arrogant in real life at times, which is what I thought about when reading the message. If it had come from one of my other friends, I probably would have a question mark over my head about it but go on my way and not think about it.

It sounds like you’ve got no real reason to put up with crap like that from her, so I think you’re doing the right thing.

It’s not unusual for my friends and I to commisserate with “Sucks to be you.” When we say it, we mean, gawd, yes, I agree that what happened to you sucks. That’s obvious from the tone when we say it face-to-face, so we know how it’s meant when we email it to each other, though I agree that without those non-verbal clues, you don’t know how it’s meant.

I’d email her back and let her know that you found her comment a bit suprising. She might go off on you and tell you to stop being a crybaby, or she might tell you that she didn’t mean it sarcastically. Either way, you’ll know what she meant–and if she meant it kindly, then she’ll be alerted to the fact that not everyone percieves that phrase the same way.