Pet Peeve/Pet Please: “If it makes you feel any better,…”

2w1bSometimes there are two sides to a pet peeve. When that happens, we have a pet peeve/pet please on our hands.

I’m sure at some point you’ve heard someone use the phrase “If it makes you feel any better,…” Without fail, this phrase never makes anyone feel better, and it’s usually more roughly translated as, “Instead of talking about you, I’m going to talk about me!” Example:

Person A: “I just found out today that roof on my house leaked while I was on vacation, and my second-floor ceiling caved in.”

Person B: “It it makes you feel any better, that happened to me a few years ago. Fortunately my landlord took care of it.”


Person A: “I got in a car accident today, and I can’t feel my left arm.”

Person B: “If it makes you feel any better, I think I pulled a hamstring while doing yoga this morning.”

You get the idea.

This would make a good pet peeve, but the glory of that phrase is that it’s so ridiculous that someone would say it in response to someone’s troubles that it’s actually funny. It’s a comical juxtaposition.

So the next time you hear somebody say “if it makes you feel any better,” instead of rolling your eyes at the response, rejoice in the absurdity of it. It’s more fun that way.

6 thoughts on “Pet Peeve/Pet Please: “If it makes you feel any better,…””

  1. 10 points for the Arrested Development photo and 10 points for turning a negative into a positive. You’re right, it’s not insulting enough that it’s worth spending time being mad. It comes from a good place but it is preposterous so the best response is to laugh.

    On a somewhat related note, I heard a really good point the other day about the phrase “it could be worse” and how it’s another preposterous thing to say to people, making it about something other than exactly what’s happening to them. The clutch point was that you would NEVER tell someone who’s happy “it could be better” so let’s stop telling people who are bummed “it could be worse” and let us all just feel what we feel, shall we?

  2. Even though I’ve heard (and said) this exact thing a lot, I’ve never looked at it from this perspective, but rather thought it was more trying to be empathetic and showing the person that, “yes, I’ve been there too and it stinks, but it –whatever is it– isn’t the end of the world.” Sure, some people use that phrase as a way to one-up themselves, but I don’t think that’s always the case. On occasion I’ve paired that phrase with a completely off subject statement and a silly cat picture (in text or email) when talking to a friend who is having a rough time, as a way to add some humor and make them laugh.

    • Katy: I can completely understand your intent when you say that phrase. I think the key to understand–at least in my opinion–is that when someone shares something that is painful or hurtful to them, the very last thing they want to hear is a story about someone else. For that moment, that person is asking for the spotlight to be on them, not someone else.

      At least, that’s my observation of human behavior. We can test it out–I’ll use the phrase on you a few times and we’ll see if it feels empathetic. 🙂


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