General Question

Nimis's avatar

Does anyone find it strange that many girls use jealousy as a compliment?

Asked by Nimis (13130points) September 11th, 2008

I find it odd that (some) girls will equate the phrase “I am so jealous of” with “I like”? (ie. I like your sweater!—> I am so jealous of your sweater!) And what is the appropriate response to this? Thanks for feeling jealous? [scratches head]

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28 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

Just MHO, you understand, but I believe you are attempting to “understand” girls/women/females, and I think, respectfully, that you are taking on an impossible task, because they weren’t created for men to understand/comprehend in the first place, and if they could be understood, then they wouldn’t hold that special place in our hearts/minds/lives that they do.

And, also respectfully, if any guy could figure them out, they wouldn’t be the special sentient beings that they are.

There are many things in this Universe that human males were not meant to know, such as, what would happen when an irresistible force, meets an immovable object? Or, why ain’t there anything in holes? Or, did Gawd have a “beginning,” and if S/He did, the who or what caused THAT?

Besides, women/females/girls were not created to be understood; they were created to be loved, admired, cherished, spoiled rotten, pampered and even worshipped, on occasion.

Also, keep in mind, please, that any man who succeeds in actually understanding them, has to be killed by them, before he can tell other guys what he has learned.

It’s just the way things are, and I don’t trouble my brain with such matters; I accept them as they are, and enjoy them, every chance I get. (Sometimes, two at a time. With whips and chains.)

Batteries are extra.

Nimis's avatar

JackA: ...

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

I’m wondering why we thank people when they say “I like your…”
Are we glad that someone else approves of something we own/wear/etc?

Nimis's avatar

ANeedle: Hrmmm…even if we’re not glad, I think we’ve all been taught to be polite when given a compliment. But it’s such a knee jerk reaction that no one (if rarely) thinks about what it actually implies. I think we’re linguistically ill-equipped and tend to default to “thank you” and “sorry” for all occasions—even when it isn’t exactly apt.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

Here’s to thinking before thanking!

wildflower's avatar

Since when did envy – and wanting to be, have or accomplish things others will envy – become a female-only thing???

If a friend tells me ‘oh, I’m going traveling for a month for my new job – all expenses paid’, I will call him/her a lucky git and state that “I’m not jealous at all!!”. I wouldn’t expect a specific response, but just letting them know they’re right to be excited and happy – I would be if it had happened to me!

JackAdams's avatar

With regards to compliments, please allow me to seriously mention something about them, here.

I am the proud, but very reluctant owner of a Rolex® wristwatch, obtained around 20 years ago, because of a misunderstood compliment.

True Story: When I was living in a Southern State, I was introduced by a business associate to a very wealthy Arab industrialist, from the Middle East, and during the course of exchanging social amenities, I temporarily forgot all of my State Dept. briefings, and made the mistake of noticing (and complimenting him on) his Rolex® wristwatch.

He immediately said, “You like it? It’s yours!” He then casually slipped it off his wrist and handed it to me, just like that.

When I started to politely explain that I was just admiring it and really didn’t wish to have it, my associate quickly interrupted with, “He’s very glad to receive your very generous gift, and thanks you very much for it.”

So now, I own a wristwatch I neither want nor need, which, I have since discovered, is valued at US$9,000.

Me and my big mouth!

Nimis's avatar

WildF: Jealousy and/or envy isn’t just a female thing. But (in my experience), using it as a way to compliment everyday trivial things seems to be a female thing. Like a pair of shoes…not like travelling for a month. (And all expenses paid! I am jealous!)

Nimis's avatar

JackA: Haha…proud and reluctant. I like it. To a lesser degree I am the same with my sister. I am reluctant to compliment her on anything because she will give it to me (with gusto!). Do you think people equate you liking something with your desire to have it?

wildflower's avatar

Perhaps women are just quicker to admit they envy. Maybe men feel the same when they see another man with that car or that laptop – but they’re too proud to say it?

If a friend or colleague has a pair of shoes I would love to have, I’ll probably say so – but I’ll only be jealous if I’m not able to get those – or similar – pair for myself.

JackAdams's avatar

@Nimis: I think some people do, and you know, I really wanted to return the watch to that Arab gentleman with a letter of explanation and apology, but I was told (by those who know about International customs and diplomacy) that to do so would have been personally insulting to him, and he would have been “offended,” that I had rejected his gift, which to his way of thinking, was “a simple, and insignificant act.”

Nimis's avatar

WildF: That may be true (that they may be quicker to admit it). But that can’t possibly explain how often they use it. Could they really be truly jealous each time they said that? Really?

JackA: Exactly. That’s why I have so much of my sister’s stuff that’s just sitting around! Maybe in a roundabout way, we’ve answered my question then? If people equate liking something to wanting something, then surely envy is the ultimate expression of liking (or wanting) something? I mean, girls also use the compliment “need”, as in “I need that sweater!”

wildflower's avatar

Honestly, I don’t hear women say it that often, maybe it’s just a habit the girls in your circle have – but then, girls are more likely to covet jumpers, shoes, handbags, accessories and such – things that we all wear/carry on a daily basis, so maybe the frequency is simply because women covet more everyday stuff and men would be more likely to feel this way about gadgets and such, which you don’t necessarily see when you meet the person who owns it…..

JackAdams's avatar

@Nimis: The problem with compliments (as I learned when I studied psychology in MN at the U of M) is that many are given casually, just to contribute to a conversation, and usually because the person issuing them has just run out of things to say, and is, in a way, stalling for time, while trying to think up their next sentence (in a formal-social setting).

So rather than saying something idiotic like, “Gee, I don’t know what else to say to you,” the speaker tries to come up with something to say to keep the conversation flowing smoothly, and a complimentary exchange gives the speaker time to think of the next relevant item to add to the conversation.

Nimis's avatar

WildF: I mean, it doesn’t happen that often. Just enough to make me scratch my head. Though even if guys don’t compliment as often, when they do it makes more sense to me. As a compliment (ie nice shoes) or as a means to resolve their desire for said object (ie where’d you get those?)

JackA: Apparently, I’m all about the idiotic. On more than one occasion, I’ve actually said something along the same vein as I think I just ran out of things to say before. Ha.

Les's avatar

Maybe it has to do with our pride. I for one take great pleasure in shopping and finding unique pieces to add to my wardrobe. And I try to shop at stores that not everyone shops at. So when I see a woman wearing something that I find to be really unique or beautiful, and I failed to locate such a piece in my hunts, I am a little jealous. I don’t think “jealousy” in this case really means what the true jealousy definition means (truly, more of a resentment that a person would own such a thing). I think the way we use “jealousy” is in place of “envious”. In that “Man, I wish I would have found that piece. That is beautiful.”

Nimis's avatar

Les: Do you ever use it lightly out of habit? Even if you’re not envious?

Les's avatar

No, I don’t think I do. But I am pretty sure other women do. I try to be as honest and direct as possible at the things I say, so I think most of the time I can find other words to use instead of “jealous”. But I think you’re right. I think other women use it as just a “filler” word. I think people use it without really understanding what they’re saying. (Like saying “Shut-up!”, when you don’t really want the person to shut up. You just can’t believe what the person just said.)

wildflower's avatar

@Nimis: maybe girls’ behavior just makes you scratch your head.

Only advice I can give you on that, is accept it – it won’t change.

pathfinder's avatar

I have spot this among girls in situationes:Suzi; Hey did you see robin that new guy from luci.The Suzi has a boyfriend and she is jaelousy because her boyfriend does not look as nice as lucis one.Perhaps Suzi is not proud enought.

Nimis's avatar

[scratches head]

Les's avatar

@Nimis: Why does it matter so much? I mean, guys do plenty of things that make absolutely no sense as well, so what difference does it make that we tell girls we are “jealous” of something she owns? I gave you basically the only reason I can think of, being a woman. I stand by my statement that I don’t really think it means the “resentment” that one thinks of when you think of “jealous”. If someone says something is “cool”, the item is not cold. It is just a colloquial slang word we occasionally use.

Nimis's avatar

Les: I scratch my head about guys too! Also, I enjoyed your answer. (No need to stand by it if no one is knocking it?)

(The scratching of the head was mostly a response to wildflower and pathfinder.)

Les's avatar

@Nimis: I didn’t mean that to sound hostile. I was just wondering what sparked such a question. Sorry… it is early yet for me.

Nimis's avatar

Les: No problem. Thanks for taking the time to answer. =)

XrayGirl's avatar

it is just a figure of speech

Nimis's avatar

Xray: I know it’s not literal. But it’s an interesting choice of words, no?
As in, who thought jealousy was a positive/appropriate way to express these sentiments?

raceboy84u2's avatar

I did not know that and i should thank!! =)

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