How to Tell if You’re Happy for Someone Else

We’ve all been there: Someone shares news about their exciting life event with you, and you’re left wondering – am I smiling because I’m happy, or because I hate them? Feeling feelings can be so confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re feeling joy, or if you’re just trying to bear down and survive the flood of feelings of inadequacy. Here’s how to figure out if you’re truly smiling with pride for your friend, or just grimacing in a fit of face-convulsing rage:


Are you smiling like you did in your second-grade class picture when you really put your back into it?

You are: Happy, but only because people are paying attention to you.

Are you smiling like you have just had four vodka tonics and you are taking a selfie?

You are: Happy! Because you’re drunk! Most happy people are drunk.


Are you screaming like a lottery winner?

You are: Happy! Lottery winners are always happy.

Are you screaming like someone told you guacamole was extra?

You are: Venting your rage (not happy).

Are you throwing confetti?

You are: Happy I guess?

Are you throwing glassware?

You are: Definitely not happy.

Are you buying flowers?

You are: Doing your best to be happy!

Are you buying drugs?

You are: Tough call.


Are you crying spontaneous tears of joy?

You are: Definitely happy.

Are you crying so hard that your sight is so blurry from sobbing that you can’t remember where you put your kid?

You are: Probably not so great. You can leave him at a fire station, right? That’s legal, right? What if he’s 8?

Are you drinking Champagne?

You are: Happy! Drunk people are happy, remember?

Are you drinking whatever’s around the house?

You are: Probably happy for now, I guess.

Are you fist pumping?

You are: Happy!

Are you fist punching?

You are: Probably not happy!



Are you feeling warm like you’re peeing yourself from the torso out?

You are: Happy!

Are you feeling warm like someone just lit your face on fire?

You are: Hey Hun, maybe you should finally set up an appointment with that therapist maybe?

Just remember: whether you’re truly happy or just making interesting and socially acceptable shapes with your face, all that matters is that the people see that you care about their achievements. Someday, you might have an achievement, too!