Chinese proverb of the week: 6

Tóng bìng xiāng lián

同 病 相怜

Patients with similar conditions empathise with each other

Misery loves company

I think this is the equivalent of the English saying:  ‘Misery loves company’.                      This is a proverb that has two possible interpretations.

The first is that people tend to gravitate towards those who are in similar circumstances to themselves, so miserable people are drawn to other miserable people.  The second way of looking at the saying is that ‘misery’ is a contagious condition and infects others so that they become miserable too.

Psychologists could have a field day with this proverb, though on first hearing it it seems simple, it is quite complex.

What do you think?

About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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2 Responses to Chinese proverb of the week: 6

  1. Marj Wilson says:

    Agree with the first interpretation and have to say I try and steer clear of ‘glass half empty’ people , let them stick together and be miserable together!.

  2. Chris says:

    This is where the nuances of a culture and its language comes in. The phrase “misery loves company” has a biting critical tone. This phrase above without culture overtones could be more neutral and mean simply that you have to walk in someone else shoes in order to understand them. Maybe with the next one include a snippet of dialogue for us to garner the proper cultural tone.

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