FWP: A ‘Good for You’ Text
PROBLEM: OKAY. So, I shared some very big (and happy) life news with my best friend and all I got back was a lousy “good for you” text. Am I needy for attention or does my best friend need life lessons on how to be supportive?
LG: This is all very vague and mysterious. Are you a spy receiving an award for a lifetime of secret, selfless service? Your polyamory club’s Mistress of the Month? A newly be-sabred Star Wars LARPer? If so… I kind of get your friend’s response. Good for you. Without details — and potentially with vastly divergent personal interests — it’s difficult to get more revved up than that.
Or, it may be possible that response is sincerely the highest level of support your friend offers? (This is true for the mother of a friend of mine; in anyone else, “Good for you” would be a sarcastic pin-to-the-balloon, but she manages to imbue it with warm, expansive enthusiasm, bless her.) But since you’re complaining, I’m going to guess that’s not the case. So, test it by inviting your friend out in person for celebratory drinks. If s/he shows, you have your answer?
MM: I agree with LG; big and happy is a wide spectrum. Was it a pregnancy announcement? A promotion? Your dog gave birth to 16 puppies? Since you’re clearly upset, I assume, whatever the case, it’s something mega-important to you. Maybe your friend missed the memo on how monumental a life event this is for you — but cut her some slack, and tell her how you feel the next time you’ll meet. (Text confrontations seldom go well.) Or as LG suggests, invite her out to celebrate before you decide just how upset to be.
Or maybe she has other not-so-happy things happening in her life and is too preoccupied with her own shit to be enthusiastic about yours. Move on, and celebrate with those you don’t have to arm-twist into being happy for you.
KB: This is all about context. Is your friend normally a bubbly, enthusiastic, emoji-using, happy person? If so, then yes, this response seems uncharacteristically dour. But if your friend is a gray-wearing, Bob Dylan-worshipping, restrained person, then this seems like a perfectly appropriate response.
Also, just call her. It’s easy to misinterpret tone over SMS. Some things are better shared and expressed in person, especially if you’re going to be all sensi about the response.
SB: Your friend could probably muster up a little more enthusiasm even if blasé is her personal style, or she doesn’t get how big the news is. I mean, how much effort does it take to throw in a champagne bottle + dancing lady + confetti emoticon sequence? I think it’s justified that you feel let down… unless you’re the kind of person who shares small successes every day, and you’ve burnt out all your friends that way. In that case, maybe a journal is a better place for the day-to-day excitement and save your friends for the bug stuff, so they know they difference. As a fellow phone-ophobe I get the temptation to text updates, but gotta agree with K on this one: For an effusive response you may have to put in a little effort yourself and just give her a call.
Got any first world problems? Write to the Swaddle Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll sort you out. Kind of.