Solely In Black and White: A Compromise: “I am so Happy for You.”

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Compromise: “I am so Happy for You.”

From a few various posts spread around blogosphere it would seem the IyHbY is still a highly debated and much talked about item. I must admit that it was “enlightening” to read some of the responses that people had towards the IyHbY. There’s quite a divide between how people view its use. At any rate, there is a reverse issue that should be address as well. The “I am So Happy for You.” (IaSHfY)

Like its IyHbY counterpart IaSHfY is a common phrase said by many people at simchas. It has become a social norm and is accepted as such. Being that the words are in and of themselves neutral, IaSHfY lends itself to become one of those phrases that can be uttered innocuously, nonchalantly, and even warmly. However, like the IyHbY, it can be used to convey other unpleasant and hidden messages. Furthermore, some people do not possess the requisite demeanor, or more aptly referred to as a “straight face,” to say the IaSHfY without bitterness and venom. Because you can tell! The clenched teeth, furrowed brow, overly fake smile, or a lack of direct eye contact are all “tells” that sort of give it away…

For the sake of burying this hatchet, let us make a fair comprise. There are always going to be people who say the wrong thing. That’s part of life and a given for any society. Furthermore, there are always going to be small subset of people who will say those wrong things intentionally just to be mean. However, that is not the majority of people; at least I don’t believe that most people are cruel. For the sake of creating peace or at least in an effort to foster it, maybe we can collectively create an agreement. Okay, not a formal agreement per se, but at least something said for purpose of informing everyone to be on the same page with regards politeness and etiquette. The exact wording can be amended but something along the lines of: engaged and married people should refrain from saying IyHbY unless they specifically know the other person will not be offended; singles should refrain from saying “I am so Happy for You” unless they truly mean it and they know the person they are saying it to will not misinterpret it.

Personally, the way I see it, this whole discussion can be summed-up as follows: Regardless, if someone does say either of those two lines, one should try not to take personal offense with it. Just write it off as a societal misconception and not a personal affront. At least that’s my take on it, but you already knew that. ;-) 


  1. You're really trying to equalize the balance, aren't you? Sorry, not buying it. In the end, you're in the driver's seat - you got the gal, you have a wedding coming up, happily ever after, etc. etc. - and you're going to nitpick over someone's felicitations upon your engagement? If someone snarls, "I'm so happy for you," do you go to bed fuming over that hours later? No. You think of your shmoopie (Seinfeld term), and how you ecstatic you are.

    I'm single! I get to be particular how someone chooses to remind me of that.

    A visual aid: You have just been thrust upon a pedestal, you are complete, you could fly from bliss. One of the many attempting to wish you well is not cheerful enough. Do you come crashing down? No. Cause who needs him?

    Versus: Me being one of the crowd attempting to wish you well. You kick me in the gut and I go plummeting backward. At least, that's what my self esteem feels like when someone says IYHBY.

    While some exaggeration was definitely applied, see the difference?

  2. You are right; they aren’t even comparisons, nor would it be an equal trade. I wasn’t trying to say they are equivalent. Rather, the point of the post, albeit in a tongue and cheek fashion, was to say that anyone can take offense at other people’s statements. Whether one choose to do so it their own prerogative.

  3. So there's no such thing as an insult? It's all in my head?

    Or, better yet, I am merely being an overly sensitive, easily hysterical, typical female?

    Fear not. I was merely being tongue in cheek.


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