Subtle Selfishness

Maybe I think about phrasing far too much, but there’s this one phrase we say all the time that I think is subtly selfish.

It’s the simple phrase, “I wish you were here.”

And I know you’re thinking I’m crazy to find selfishness in this phrase that’s always used to mean one is missing a friend or loved one. Hey, I said that I might be over-thinking this! But let me explain.

It’s really subtle. Think about what the phrase says. “I wish you were here.”

Why not, “I wish I was there with you.”?

If you say you wish somebody was here with you, you’re really wishing they would change their plans and show up where you are.

If you wish you were there with somebody, it’s your own plans that you’re changing to be with someone.

Now, I don’t know, maybe you only miss that person enough to wish they’d come to you. But I doubt it.

Anyway. I see those odd looks. I said I was probably making something out of nothing!

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3 thoughts on “Subtle Selfishness

  1. Good thoughts! The only time I think this doesn’t apply is if you are at some place the other person really wants to go… like if you were at Disneyland and they were stuck studying at college. 😉

    Other than that, though, this is a good thing to think about. Selfishness can creep in without us even realizing…

  2. You’re a writer. I don’t consider this kind of analyzing “overthinking.” Intriguing observations!

    I agree with Gracie – I think it’s valid to use this phrase if it truly would be to someone’s betterment that they be where you are. It’s funny – I’m using this classic phrase in the beginning of the Red Rain short story that I’m working on. A certain someone’s brother is using it literally, because things are truly better where he is…

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