Why “You Got This!” Feels Like A Threat

“Once again, dear friend, I have a mighty problem that needs solving, and I don’t know whether I’m capable enough to fix things.”

Back comes the cry: “No worries! You got this!”

At which point my innards seize up as my internal monologue takes over: But I just told you I DON’T have this. I wouldn’t have brought this up as a concern unless failure was a very real possibility. I’m standing on the edge of my competence and peering into the black void of letting people down.

Except that you clearly think that I AM this capable. Which means that if I screw this up, I will now not only have fucked up in the ORIGINAL way, but I will now have let you down as well.

Whoah. That’s pressure.

I mean, I guess it would be nice to be seen as this Godlike, ineffable being who can surpass problems with mere willpower if I WAS that person – but I’m this easily-overwhelmable, forgetful, short-sighted and occasionally flat-out thoughtless creature who crawls out of his own wreckage on a regular basis. If you’re friends with me because I “got” things, then are we really friends? Or just strangers floating by on some awkward delusion?

And now, I have to figure out whether my bond with these you-got-this people is strong enough to sustain a correction. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I just have to nod and go, ‘Yeah, I guess I got this’ and hope to hell I can either gottenate or bury my failures deep enough that they don’t see the stinkingly fallible human being deep inside. But with this person…



“Listen, To me, ‘you got this’ feels like you’re saying ‘I’ll leave your ass if you fail at anything.’ Can you try something else instead?”

“Like what?”

“I dunno – how about, ‘I’ll still love you even if everything collapses’? Is that true?”

“Oh. Yeah. My friendship with you is not contingent upon success.”

“Thanks, friend. That’s what I need to hear right now.”