We all do it. It’s like laughing at pictures of cats online or hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s human nature!
Your friend, let’s call him Chuck, breaks his arm. He goes to the hospital, gets a cast, and meets you and the rest of your group at the pub a week later. You all want to know what happened to Chuck. How did he go the way of Tiny Tim? When will he be able to play the trombone again? What will come of his budding one-handed-pushup career? Anyways, the main question is about what happened to poor Chuck and how bad is his break?
Chuck starts to regale the exciting tale of having a been drinking a beer, hearing the door bell ring, and falling down the stairs as he rushed to answer. He hasn’t even gotten to the part where he realized his arm didn’t look right before everyone starts to jump in with tales of their own. You even consider bringing up the story of the great broken wrist of ’06. Chuck is just happy to be out with friends, but he is a little perturbed that he can’t have his moment to be in pain before somebody has to bring up a bad jellyfish sting or an unfortunate tennis game.
The important part:
Okay, if you’re still following then you probably understand what I’m talking about: the old “my horse is bigger than yours” part of human interaction. We always want to one-up our friends because we believe that we have suffered more. Our ordeals are worse than theirs.
Don’t get me wrong. It is somewhat cathartic to discuss our pain and suffering in this way. I do it. You probably do it. It’s totally okay. The important thing, as always, is to remember what situation you’re in. Are you and your friends all sitting around, eating nachos, and reminiscing about sucky times in your life? If yes, then go ahead and enjoy yourselves. Are you trying to offer support to a friend who is going through a hard time and suffering? If yes, then shut the heck up and offer a friendly, non-judgmental ear.
I don’t have much else to say on this topic because there isn’t much to say. Sometimes we just have to shut and listen. Deal with it.
If you have any stories about this kind of thing happening, feel free to share them in the comments. I always ask you to do that and no one ever does…whatever. I’ve had worse! Just kidding…but seriously.