Schadenfreude is a German term translating to “happiness at the misfortune of others”.
Needless to say, laughing at or taking enjoyment at someone else’s misfortune is not a nice thing to do.
But sometimes it’s hard not to take at least the smallest amount of joy when someone who has not been especially nice to you in the past suddenly finds themselves in an unlucky situation.
Redditor anticryptobro thought he was making a harmless joke towards his brother-in-law (BIL), who had previously teased him for not joining him in what the original poster (OP) felt was a highly volatile investment.
Little did he know, however, that his BIL’s investment came back to bite him, and he and his family were now in serious trouble.
After being scolded by his wife for being insensitive, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for making fun of my BIL after he lost a shit ton of money investing in crypto?”
The OP confessed that he and his BIL never had the strongest relationship, mainly owing to his tendency to flaunt and gloat.
“So my (27 M[ale]) SIL’s husband(31 M) is a piece of work.”
“He’s a bit of a braggart and gets off on boasting about his money and the things he’s bought with said money.”
“Me and my wife aren’t exactly struggling, but we’re not as well off as them.”
“Every time we visit them, he’ll pull me aside to show off whatever new gadget he bought.”
“Whenever we go out to dinner with them, he’ll insist on paying in the most condescending way possible.”
“He’ll also try to give me financial advice which is just annoying.”
“My wife doesn’t like him, but she puts up with it since she’s very close to her sister.”
“I’m kinda close to my wife, so I put up with it for her.”
Nothing got on the OP’s nerves more than his BIL’s attempts at persuading him to make risky investments, and leading him to believe he was letting his wife and family down.
“So he got into crypto a year ago and shortly after NFTs.”
“I work in finance and have learned a decent amount about crypto.”
“I’m not some expert, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how it’s a ponzi scheme.”
“When he brought me this advice we argued on it.”
“He accused me of not wanting to give my wife the life she deserves.”
“He also said that he was going to make his family millionaires and called me naïve for not wanting to join in.”
The next time the OP saw his BIL, he jokingly asked if this investment paid off, unaware that his BIL’s situation turned out to be no laughing matter.
“I don’t know if y’all have been watching the news lately, but a lot of cryptos aren’t doing so hot”
“We hosted them for dinner with them last night.”
“It was awkward.”
“There was some tension there, but I really couldn’t tell why.”
“In a period of silence, I asked him, ‘So are y’all millionaires yet?’”
“In that moment my wife’s sister put her head down into her hands and was in tears in seconds.”
“Her husband explained he bet money they couldn’t afford on various cryptos that crashed.”
“He lost a sh*t ton of money and said unless they figure something out they won’t be able to stay in their house or pay for their 2 daughters’ preschool.”
“I was immediately met with a glare from him and my wife.”
“I felt bad but I honestly didn’t know and I wouldn’t have mocked him.”
“I knew he lost money but I didn’t know he was going to lose that much.”
“When they left, my wife accused me of being in a d*ck in a measuring c*cks test against him and said I took it too far.”
“I tried to argue that he started it and she told me I was being a child.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for his ill-timed joke.
Most agreed that it was perfectly clear that the OP didn’t know about his BIL’s unexpected financial troubles and didn’t mean to cause any harm, with some even thinking that his BIL had it coming after the way he bragged about being so well off.
“First, you did not know.”
“Second, after him gloating so much, there had to be some Schadenfreude going on for you which is understandable.”- patjames904.
“NTA-You did not know he was leveraged in crytpo and lost the home.”- pookguyinc.
“The people who talk the most about their money are often the people who spend too much trying to project an image.:
“I’m down a ton in crypto too, but not like mortgage or retirement.”
“The losses are all on paper til we sell.”
“I have zero doubt my ETH holdings will recover.”
“‘I’m kinda close to my wife.'”
“That’s good!”- 10sharks.
“Just poor timing with a bad joke, which made you look like AH.”
“I think you should though call your SIL & BIL an offer an apology that you didn’t know the situation they are in and that it was a bad comment made at the wrong time.”- KayKoe012.
“Crypto is a delicious ponzu scheme.”- btrausch.
“He made his bed now he can lay on it”-blueaqua_12.
“I started cackling when I read the title, because just on that alone I knew the dude f*cked himself hard.”
“But you didn’t make fun of him, you asked a simple (if impertinent) question.”
“He’s the one who idiotically put his family’s future on the line and lost.”
“Make sure you’re prepared for how you and your wife intend to handle things if/when they come knocking with their suitcases.”
“Know if you’ll have them, if so, will it be all or will you exclude BIL. And if you will, make sure you’ve seen an attorney to draw up some sort of legal documents for their tenancy.”
“The documents should outline not only rent, but expectations of chores, child care, shared spaces, general behavior, acceptable noise levels and at what time of day, who pays for food, whether or not they’re allowed guests, how long they’ll be there, and whatever else you need to think of.”- Alert-Potato.
“NTA but mostly because when he started telling you weren’t doing well enough for your wife by buying into his gen-z mlm scam he brought it back on himself.”
“And also a big ol ‘whoosh’ to all the people taking the ‘I’m kinda close to my wife’ as anything but a joke.”-painted_unicorn.
“You asked a question and didn’t know the exact answer.”
“But I’d have asked him, not when SIL was around.”- MilitaryJAG.
“NTA before I even read it.”
“I mean you didn’t laugh in his face and do a little dance rejoicing in his loss so you’re more restrained then I would be.”-Normal_Fishing9824.
“NTA- crypto idiots deserve all the derision possible.”- The_Void33.
“One anyone who invests in crypto and brags about it to people about how ‘great’ it is deserves some level of mockery.”
“Two he has spent years bragging about how much better he is for that alone if he loses money he deserves ridicule.”
“You put both together and I completely understand how you got there NTA.”- JSSmith0225/
There were, however, a few who felt that the OP seemed to sense that not all was well with his BIL, thus kicking him when he was down, which even with the BIL’s past behavior they found unacceptable.
“Your BIL for being a fool of course, but you as well.”
“You knew the crypto had tanked and you decided to needle him to get some of your own back.”
“Yes, you didn’t have any idea how bad his investment was, but you knew he had one.”
“But instead of being the bigger person and letting your BIL’s stupidity roll off your back you decided to score points.”- toketsupuurin.
“He sounds exhausting and annoying.”
“I don’t get your ‘he started it’ excuse though.”
“From the way you describe it, things were quiet and tense, you could tell something was wrong, but didn’t know what, and decided to break the silence by mocking him.”
“After finding out what was wrong, you doubled down that you had to say it cause he started it.”
“So I’m guessing you left out what happened just before you made that reply to start things.”-ponchoacademy.
It isn’t nice or right to make fun of someone in a sad or vulnerable situation, but it’s also never attractive to gloat.
It seems as if the OP and his BIL both learned a valuable lesson.
The OP will no doubt be a little more careful about cracking sarcastic jokes going forward, while his BIL may not be so quick to brag about his good fortune.