Schadenfreude - Don't lie, You've Felt It!

Why do other people's failures make us feel good?

Recently a single friend of mine divulged that every time one of her sorority sisters gets engaged, to fight feelings of jealousy, she silently imagines a scenario in which the woman's husband, a few years from now, comes to her, reveals he's been cheating and asks for a divorce. The scene only take a few seconds to play out and gives her the strength to smile at her friend and enthusiastically offer congratulations.

At first I feigned shock. I say feigned because I know exactly how she feels. And based on scientific research, the odds are that you do too. The feeling is called Schadenfreude – which literally means happy sadness. It's that rush of joy we feel when someone fails. So instead of denying, be honest! When's the last time you took secret pleasure in someone's downfall?

Do you remember the first time you realized you were enjoying one of your friend's or colleagues failures? Maybe it was when Tiger Wood's wife took a club to his windshield. When is it natural and when is it crossing the line? Tell us your schadenfreude stories on Facebook.

Marie Claire on Facebook
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