Tag Archives: Nantucket Sea Captain

Don’t Tell Yer Trouble to Others. Most of ‘Em Don’t Care a Hang; an’ the Rest Are Damn Glad of It

Robert Haven Schauffler? Nantucket Sea Captain? Rita P.? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Whenever I am tempted to complain about a setback in my life I recollect a wry piece of advice. Here are two versions:

  1. Never tell people your troubles. Half of them don’t care and the other half will be glad it happened to you.
  2. Don’t harangue people with your troubles. Most of your listeners aren’t interested, and the rest are happy you’re finally getting what’s coming to you.

Would you please explore the provenance of this expression?

Quote Investigator: The earliest full match located by QI appeared in the 1939 self-help book of the popular author Robert Haven Schauffler titled “Enjoy Living: An Invitation to Happiness”. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Be careful how you outshine even your intimates in conversation or anything else, or load your griefs and worries upon their shoulders. “If you want enemies,” said la Rochefoucauld,”excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.” “Don’t tell yer trouble to others,” a Nantucket sea-captain advised me. “Most of ’em don’t care a hang; an’ the rest are damn glad of it.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. 1939, Enjoy Living: An Invitation to Happiness by Robert Haven Schauffler, Chapter 19: Getting Along with People, Start Page 243, Quote Page 249, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York. (Verified on paper)