Good for you

I was coming out of the gym this morning and ran into a mom from our daycare and school.

Me: “Good Morning”

Her: “Hi! Did you just workout?”

I was disgustingly sweaty — I don’t shower at the gym, mostly because my house is a block away and also because I am a child and the women’s change room is a little scary to me. I once saw a naked woman having a pretty serious, in depth conversation with another naked woman after they had come out of the shower. They were drying themselves and one of the women — while talking — lifted her large breast and was drying underneath it with great enthusiasm/detail and then proceeded to do this to her other breast. All while she was talking to her naked friend who was drying her vajayjay (just so you know I always use the word vagina with my kids… I don’t want them to be crazy like me). This scene, although completely natural, scarred me. I told you, I am a child. A child with issues.

Me: “Yes, I have a meeting at 10 today so I thought I’d get my workout in early.”

Her: “I saw your husband drop the kids off earlier.

Me: “I’m happy to hear they made it. I had to workout early today otherwise I’d never get to the gym.”

Her: “Good for you.”

There it is. Good. For. You. I used to use this phrase, until one day, years before we were married my husband said to me, “Why do you say that? It sounds so condescending.”

Since then I’ve not used it. I understand what he means. Every time someone says this to me, I now think that they must have some hidden hatred towards me, or that they are mocking me somehow. For this I have my husband to thank.

This was how it used to be:

“Hey Sandy! I just won the lottery!”
“Good for you!” How lucky… it really was good for her!

“I’m going to The Galapagos for three months this summer.”
“Good for you! I love sea lions!” I was genuinely happy, but according to my husband she now thinks I’m a jealous bitch because THAT is on MY bucket list.

“I just got promoted to CEO at work!”
“Good for you!” She’s such a smart, hard working lady and this is soooo good for her!!!

I thought I was praising these people. But according to my husband, “Good for you” is sarcastic and condescending. It really means: Isn’t that just great? And don’t you think you’re so special? Who gives a crap? I hate you. You suck. I’m jealous. Oh yes, your life is so good and mine is so shit. You’re better than me obviously…

A phrase that I once used happily and non-condescendingly is now loaded and forever tainted. Even if the person saying it to me is a smiling friend and genuinely saying “Good for you!” I always hear my husband’s voice whispering in my ear, “What a bitch! I can’t believe she said that to you!”

I’m a little dramatic I know. Good for me.



Disclaimer: In no way do I think that this lovely lady was being condescending to me. I believe that her “Good for you” was genuine. Or was it? GAH. By the way, was this good for you?

  • Mary T.

    I use that phrase with my kids when they don’t listen…”Amelia, stop chasing your sister around the house, one of you is going to get hurt.” I repeat about 3 times and then just as expected…”MOOOOMMMMYYYY…I fell…” Me: “Good for you. Are you going to listen to me next time?”

    Then again I also use it when they’ve done something good. “Mommy I did poo-poo in the potty.” Me: “Good for you baby!” Maybe I’m confusing them …hmmm.  Am I a terrible mother or what? ;)

    • Anonymous

      BAHAHAHAHA! Mary! You are too funny. I use a similar phrase in portuguese which is ‘Bem Feito’ (well done) when they hurt themselves after I’ve warned them. Maybe we should form a club? ;)

      • Daisylea

        I use my tone to indicate if I care or not. I got a new job! Good for you! (happy) I fowas the secret to eat what you want and not gain weight but I’m not sharing! Good for you! (total sarcasm and bit, rather lots of jealousy)

  • Shannon McKechnie

    Drinking at work on a Friday morning are we Sandy? Hehe I can understand the condescending tone of the phrase… In this instance I would totally think someone saying “good for you”, to your statement of fitting in a workout, would be like saying “yay you! Look how awesome you are!” But towards someone winning the lottery or going on a vacation, that’s genuine.  I think it all depends on the situation. To kids, saying “good for you” is positive reinforcement. To adults, positive reinforcement isn’t always taken at face value. Because we’re catty. 

    • Anonymous

      Whatever it takes Shannon. ;) I agree, we’re broken, mostly… 

    • Anonymous

      Whatever it takes Shannon. ;) I agree, we’re broken, mostly… 

  • Erin W

    yeah I only ever say “good for you” if I’m intending on being sarcastic LOL if I want them know to mean that I think whatever they did is great then I said oh that’s awesome, or that’s great or I’m happy for you because I get the impression that “good for you” is a sarcastic comment since that’s how I use it

    • Anonymous

      That is so great! Is what I’ve replaced Good for you with… still questionable. ;)

    • Anonymous

      That is so great! Is what I’ve replaced Good for you with… still questionable. ;)

  • Shannon_b76

    I hear ‘good job’ from the many working in ECE – two in my family. It begins as a ‘positive’ phrase are geared towards children, but because so much time is spent positively reinforcing the every minutia achievement, it becomes an auto-reply when speaking to adults, where IMO it has no place. A simple ‘that’s really great’ with a sincere smile would suffice in most cases, but instead you get a condescending ‘good for you’ like you too are a child who’s finally managed to wipe their ass clean. It’s an irritating, running joke in my family…bad job!

    Mary, your story is too funny and reminds me of my Mom growing up, except she would say “Ya fall down? Good, ya see, God punish ya” Such sweet, sweet sympathy. LOL

    • Anonymous

      HA! So true Shannon. Try watching little kids play soccer: GOOD JOBS all over the place. Watch out for God lady, she’s watching your every move. ;)

  • alimartell

    I’ll probably spend way too much time today trying to figure out if I ever say “good for you” and if I use it sarcastically….Hrmm. Love this. 

Become an
Baby Care Tips Member

for exclusive contests, articles and promotions!

Featured Bloggers

Baby Care & Parents Information - Oh Baby! Magazine Canada