"Good for you!" - Bad or Good?

@cerium (691)
February 26, 2007 5:32pm CST
If you are talking to someone about something, and he told you "Good for you." What will your reaction be? Since English is not my native language, there are some expressions that I don't know exactly what they mean, especially if the meaning differs from one place to another. I always thought of "Good for you" as a positive expression. I looked at the dictionary and saw that it was described as "an expression of approval." However, I realized that it was not welcomed by some people, that when I looked at an urban dictionary to find varying meanings. Some said that it is "very rude to say, as if you don't care." So what does it mean to you? Is it rude?
8 people like this
18 responses
@teison2 (5924)
• Norway
26 Feb 07
that really depends on the context I'd say. If someone tells you something great that happened, and it is clear that you support them "good for you!" is a positive thing, like "way to go!". If someone is telling you something and you look like you could not care less, or if someone expresses an opinion that you clearly do not share "good for you!" is very rude.
3 people like this
@zaynaaa (52)
• Canada
26 Feb 07
I think it depends on how the person said it and what gestures are accompanying the saying.. If they roll their eyes or talk in a sarcastic voice, then i'd be insulted... but if they smiled really big and gave me a pat on the back...id have a feeling of accomplishment.
2 people like this
27 Feb 07
i agree with zaynaaa, im from the united kingdom and here if some one was all smiles and gave me a pat on the back an said it cheerfully i'd be quite happy. But it does depend on the tone of there voice as it will tell you if there being sarcastic or not.
@cuddleme01 (2727)
• Philippines
27 Feb 07
i think it depends on the intentions and how the term "good for you" is actually said. it is not the word itself that matters in analyzing what the words actually mean, but also how the words were said. if the words were said in a sarcastic manner, then the connotation is definitely bad. but if it was said otherwise, then the term is used to mean good for someone.
• United States
27 Feb 07
well my belief may be different than anyone else's. This reason bein that i have freinds in Austrilia (and can't spell that)the speaking is VERY DIFFERENT!.I just want to learn from everyone and so i say well what does it mean where you live, they tell me and i say WOW oh crazy is that to have 4-5 meaning's for the same word . I love it and it help's me learn and grow! thanks for bein different and lovely. Just my thought's
@cerium (691)
27 Feb 07
I once read an article about the Australian slang. It said that things have many different meanings (than the ones we are used to) out there with many new words intoduced. It will be nice to know some basics about their language before going there.
@lvhughes (545)
• United States
27 Feb 07
i have always use the phrase in a possitive way. i didnt know there was other meanings for it. i guess ill have to start watching what i say.
1 person likes this
@cerium (691)
27 Feb 07
well...It's better to know late than never :) Many people here said it's according to the way you say it, so no worries.
@Limey73 (161)
• Canada
27 Feb 07
You need to be aware of the tone and the body language of the person who says this to you. If said with enthusiasm, and a genuine smile, then it would be a positive statement, but if said sarcastically,, then of course it would be rude and insulting. In order to understand how it was meant, you need to take in the whole picure, and not just the words alone. Hope this helps.
@cerium (691)
27 Feb 07
It sure helps. Thank you.
@TinWolf (184)
• United States
27 Feb 07
Good Post. Assume for a moment that in YOUR Native language you have slang expressions and those delivered on occasion, in sarcasm. In the English language it's no different. "Good for you" certainly in the usual, common sense should be an affirmation, an applause if you will, for something accomplished or achieved; BUT it as other phrases might be delivered in jealousy, and circumstantial. IE: You just won a Lottery and perhaps boast about. Some might say "Good for You." in a negative sense, as they may feel jeoulsy or envy, or perhaps just not want to be reminded that THEY didn't win that same lottery. Steven Wolf. As an aside I offer this as well. GESTURES are often highly interpretive. What might be a friendly, casual gesture in one country, may be completely offensive in another.
@cerium (691)
27 Feb 07
Oh yeah. A "thumbs up" gesture could be an insult in some parts of the world. Thanks for the info.
@chargoans (940)
• United States
27 Feb 07
As already stated in many posts, the phrase can be congratulatory or sarcastic. When online, you have to pay attention to the context of the response as stated in earlier posts. I also noted that body language was referred to as a signla of how to interpret the phrase. WHile it's true, it is very difficult to interpret body language online unless you are web camming. I think most of the time, it is used positively as a form of congratulations.
1 person likes this
• India
27 Feb 07
Well, to be frank, firstly it depends on who the person is and his intention behind telling it. Secondly, it depends on how he would tell it to me. And finally, it depends on the situation and surrounding...
1 person likes this
• India
27 Feb 07
i think it is rude . xtreme rude
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
Good for you should mean something positive, now if they say "whatever" that usually means they are annoyed and it is not a positive experience.
1 person likes this
@shrekk (561)
• Pakistan
27 Feb 07
It depends almost totally on who said it and the manner of saying. For example, if my friend says this to me with his usual naughty smile, I wouldnt mind but if my competitor says this with a jealous look, obviously it'll be "bad". There's a range of other possibilities between these two too.
1 person likes this
@smcjcm06 (39)
• United States
27 Feb 07
It depends how it is used in the sentence. If you're telling them something good they may really mean good for you. If they are somewhat of a rude person they could have said it just to be mean. It really depends what was said.
1 person likes this
@silentwill (1686)
• Philippines
27 Feb 07
Most of the time it's not really the words that matter but how one says it. Supposedly "good for you" would be well-meant but sometimes people are sarcastic and that's how it'd change the meaning of the phrase into something opposite.
1 person likes this
@djmarion (4901)
• Philippines
27 Feb 07
Here in our country good for you means positive, its either you said it because someone did something for themselves or someone recieve something for them. on the other case the expression "good for you" can be negative it someone said this one as a sarcastic remarks.
1 person likes this
• India
27 Feb 07
"Good for you" it completely depends on the way a person is responding. For instance if u you got some new thing and u are showing it to your friend and he says "good for yor" then its a positive expression, but u offer that thing to your friend and he says "Good for you" then its really rude. it also depends on his body language and his nature.
1 person likes this
@ljcapps (1926)
• United States
27 Feb 07
It depends on the context it's spoken in, and the tone of voice said. If i'm talking to a friend who's finally doing something they've dreamed of, or put off, i'd say hey, good for you! if it's someone i don't particularly like, or is really irritating, and they say something, it's basically, good for you, now go away. without actually being able to show you the attitude, and the tone of voice of it, that's the easiest way i've got to explain.
• United States
8 May 07
I guess it could be rude if the user was trying to sarcastic. But when I use it, I mean it as praise. You finished your work on time. " Good For You". I guess a sarcastic use would be if you finally finished a task in an hour bur it should have taked a few minutes and someone says " Good For You". I hope this helps.