There’s one group of them that really gets me: “get a life”, or the similar “I need to get a life”.
Obviously this isn’t said about/to actual corpses, because that would be plain weird. But if not life/death kind of life, what do people actually mean when they say this?
Well, since it’s sometimes used to express a kind of freaked-out feeling when a friend is found to be utterly obsessed with something meaningless, or weirdly deluded about one particular thing, one could conclude that it means “a balanced, less crazy lifestyle”. Which is a fair enough thing to wish for for a friend.
And since it’s also used to express concern at a friend’s workaholic or antisocial/hermetic tendencies, this would seem to support that definition,
Who gets to decide what’s a healthy lifestyle? What’s a balanced lifestyle? Modern culture really hasn’t given me any clues on that one. I mean, I’ve had comments as to how happy/ content/ “sorted” a person I seem to be, on the same day as comments on my apparently appalling lack of a life. So evidently most people don’t have any kind of absolute to measure by. Maybe there’s some golden goal that people try to approximate to, of having a balanced, social, mental, spiritual, physical and financial dynamic; of being far enough away from every extreme as to not be diagnosable with anything (bar mediocrity).
…But people don’t want to be mediocre. We want to be happy.
So maybe that’s it. We want happiness for ourselves, and for our friends and family. As a culture on the whole we’re not entirely sure how to achieve this, but that’s what we’re getting at when we say “get a life”.