Thinking too hard about the phrase "if I were you"

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My friend Katie texted me about this little girl in the check out line getting excited about Miley Cyrus being on the cover of Seventeen, and I replied, "If I were her, I might be excited, too."

But it's hard to know exactly what you or anyone means when that's said.

Incoming, by the way: "Me too. Even if i were me."

See? She presumes that I mean if I were her age. Which I sort of did. If I were her age and a girl. But you can also mean, if I could make your decisions, and you could mean, if I were actually in your head. If I had to make your decision but I were myself. There are so many ways of thinking about being other people.

At what point would you not be you? How much of that person's internality must you have? You can only concentrate on so many of that person's thoughts before you forget that you're you.

bamcquern, Monday, 30 November 2009 23:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah - there's a lot of ambiguity to it - and I'm not even consistent every time I use that phrase. Sometimes it's "if i were the type of person you are" - sometimes it's "if i were me, and in your position" which are almost the exact opposite.

sarahel, Monday, 30 November 2009 23:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

i think it means 2 different things depending on context words and phrases will do that

1) attempts to acknowledge that this person "you" has different thought processes or goals or dreams or biochemistry and thus would make alien but ~understandable~ choices to the "i" in question

2) is more straightforwardly an assertion of control of this "you"'s destiny i.e. if "i" were making your choices as i understand your choices to be then

ive never felt the phrase to b ambiguous just threatening

‹◦‗‗‗‗‗•› (Lamp), Tuesday, 1 December 2009 00:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

In "If I were the type of person you are" situations, I tend to use "if I were in her shoes..."
In "If were me, and in your position" situations, I tend to use the good ol' "If I were you".

I'm definitely not saying that's right (or wrong), that's just what I do is all.

big darn deal (Z S), Tuesday, 1 December 2009 00:14 (nine years ago) Permalink

decipher, please:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ibrtEQEAKs

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 1 December 2009 00:42 (nine years ago) Permalink


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