Worse

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Worse

Post by Stevenloan » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:40 am

James is walking on a downtown street one day, and he happens to see his old high school friend, Harry, a little ways up ahead. "Harry, Harry, how are you?" he greets his old buddy after getting his attention.
"Not so good," says Harry.
"Why, what happened?" James queries.
"Well," Harry says, "I just went bankrupt and I've still got to feed my family. I don't know what I'm going to do."
"Could have been worse," James replies calmly. "Could have been worse."

Hi guys! Instead of saying "Could have been worse", why doesn't James say something like "I'm sorry to hear that" to comfort Harry in this sad situation? As far as I know "worse" has a negative meaning.

Your answers will be greatly appreciated.

StevenLoan
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Re: Worse

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:00 am

Because James was only pretending to be Harry's friend.

That kind of 'comfort' is no comfort at all.

It's the very opposite, in fact: the casual dismissal of the gravity of Harry's predicament is a demonstration of callousness and James's obvious lack of concern regarding the welfare of Harry and his family.
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Re: Worse

Post by tony h » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:03 am

There are various phrases which people use to buck people up:
- at least you have your health
- count your blessings

"Could have been worse" is another of these, slightly odd, supportive statements which are to help people look for opportunities rather than dwell on the calamity.
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

End of topic.
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