Social Question

janbb's avatar

Does "being proud of someone" imply ownership?

Asked by janbb (54025points) June 19th, 2018

For example, if I say I am proud of my adult kids for something, am I taking away from their accomplishment? Or if I say I am proud of my uncle who was a Civil Rights era hero? I didn’t really do anything to contribute to their acts. Saying “I’m proud,” sounds a bit like you are taking personal credit. How else could one say it? Or am I overthinking this?

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24 Answers

notnotnotnot's avatar

I have always had an issue with this as well. I agree that it implies some level of ownership or involvement.

janbb's avatar

On Father’s Day, I wrote to my sons and said how lovely it was to see what great fathers they were. That seemed to me to be a better way to say it.

zenvelo's avatar

I use that phrasing often because I am proud of my kids. When I use it I am so impressed by how much they have done, their accomplishments have far surpassed their father’s, and they get all the credit.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I see absolutely nothing wrong with saying “I’m proud of…” & I don’t see how it diminishes anything the person has done because THEY are the one who did it & NOT you!!!

Since it seems to bother you, maybe you should rephrase to saying “You have accomplished so much in your lifetime that it brings me joy to realize ALL that you’ve accomplished.”

canidmajor's avatar

I think it’s a semantic shift from the literal. It may, at the root of the language used, imply something proprietary, but it has been in common usage as more of a “Wow, I am so pleased/impressed by your accomplishment.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think so. I think it’s a compliment any way you look at it. Sometimes I tell my grandkids, “Wow. I’m proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself! Good job.”
Gosh. Lots of folks have said they’re proud of me for quitting smoking. I don’t feel it lessens my achievement. To me, it just means people are impressed and I appreciate them letting me know.

kritiper's avatar

Not in my book.

stanleybmanly's avatar

it can be viewed as ownership, but that is not a bad thing.

imrainmaker's avatar

You’re overthinking for sure. I never felt someone is trying take credit for my success when I heard these words. It gives you pleasure that someone is happy for you.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I use that phrase a LOT & I’ve NEVER once meant it as anything other than a compliment & to ACKNOWLEDGE ALL the HARD work that was put into accomplishing the task at hand!!! I volunteer with anger challenged children & telling them how PROUD I am of their hard work while controlling their anger has one of the greatest impacts over anything else I can tell them other than “I love you”!!!

Patty_Melt's avatar

I look at it like empathy, on a good note; you are feeling THEIR pride with them.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Children don’t understand empathy. That ear-to-ear smile is what I want because these kids have NEVER been told that they’ve achieved something great….only that they are a bad kid!!! EVERYBODY needs to hear that they’ve done something right especially when they have!!!

rojo's avatar

I once had a co-worker who used the word “proud” instead of “glad”; as in ” Ah sure ahm proud that didn’t happen to mah child!”

It was a regional thing common to a couple of the small towns around where we lived. At first I thought it was odd but now I think it is probably apt. At least more so than I think that proud is possessive.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

I don’t even think it has such an underlying connotation. It merely an expression of personal feeling. “Being proud of” = “You’re happy/grateful that…” In my national language “Proud” and “Happy” have the same meaning.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t think it implies possession at all.

notnotnotnot's avatar

I’m wondering – is there an alternative that serves the same purpose? If we don’t intend to imply ownership, what other easy phrase can we use to express….whatever it is that we are trying to express?

Additionally, is there also some kind of power dynamic built into the phrase? In other words, is it always a parent or older person who makes the statement to a younger or less-experienced person? Does the phrase get used in an upwards way?

Also, those who use the phrase – do you also use this to express pride in other peoples’ children or spouse?

canidmajor's avatar

I use it to express approval to many; those more accomplished than myself (for example, a friend who had a book on the NYT bestseller list), less accomplished (someone who achieved a level of competence in sailing that doesn’t match my own) and equally accomplished (a similar degree achieved through study and hard work). For me, it is as I said above, “I am pleased/impressed by your accomplishment.”

Language is fluid, semantics is colored by context.

I also tell young children I am proud of them when they learn basic skills.

rojo's avatar

@Unofficial_Member Just curious, but what is your national language? The reason I ask is that the woman I mentioned was from a Czech/Bohemian community.

snowberry's avatar

To be proud of somebody is not the same as being proud (prideful). There’s more than one meaning for the word.

For many years I had a problem with people who would greet me with, “Hi, how are you?” when they didn’t really mean it. It felt disingenuous. I suppose it felt that way to me because I wanted somebody to care and it seemed like nobody in my life at the time did.

So if saying, “I’m proud of you,” bothers you, change it up!

janbb's avatar

@snowberry Well, yes I have as I stated.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for asking this. It has been bothering me for years, especially when used in a statement for someone with whom the speaker is not affiliated nor had any influence. It feels as if the use of “proud” is overused and often preceded by “I feel…”.

Soubresaut's avatar

In my experience, it depends on who’s saying it. I’ve had people tell me their proud of me, and it feels a bit like they’re taking ownership or credit for what I’ve just done. I’ve had other people tell me their proud of me, same exact phrase, and it feels like they’re simply recognizing and celebrating something I’ve just done. The difference in the phrase’s meaning, at least for me, has more to do with how the person behaves the rest of the time. I’m not sure I know how to explain it more than that.

So I guess to answer your question more directly: does being proud of someone imply ownership? I think it depends on who’s saying it, and on what their previous actions say about how they view others, and others’ accomplishments, in relation to themself. If that makes sense.

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