- Straight: Bob complains to his buddy Dick about his recent problems dealing with his two Love Interests, Alice and Eva. Dick responds by revealing that his last date stole his wallet and went on a spending spree with his credit cards, leaving him struggling to recover his finances.
- Bob complains about his girl problems. Dick proceeds to rant about how he lost his own girlfriend, his house, his job, his father disowned him, he's living out of his Alleged Car, and is barely scraping by and wishes he only had to deal with a couple of hot girls fighting over him.
- Everyone narrates their own Deus Angst Machina over the other.
- Downplayed: Bob has one essay to write for next week. Dick has two, and an exam.
- Dick has pretty everyday problems, while Bob's seem relatively petty, and Dick is helping him put things in perspective.
- Dick is very self-centered and thinks Bob's problems aren't nearly as bad as his.
- Alternatively, Bob is the selfish one because Dick's actually are worse.
- Dick is trying to sympathise with Bob by sharing his own worries, but it comes across as trying to one-up him.
- Dick as problems, Bob has problems, Bob isn't aware of Dick's problems so he has to bring them up.
- Inverted: Dick and Bob each try to prove their Stiff Upper Lip is stiffer than the other's.
Dick: Oh, come on, Bob! Your problems are so trivial, I can't believe anyone would complain about them. Ask yourself this: who do you want to spend your time with, Alice or Eva? Then ask her out.
- Double Subverted:
Bob: Look, it's not that easy. What if it turns out badly?
Dick: What, like your date lifting your wallet and charging ten thousand dollars on your credit cards? I'm telling you, you're worrying about nothing.
Eva: "Ow! Damnit, a hangnail!"
Dick: "MY PARENTS ARE DEAAAAAD!"
- Zig Zagged:
Bob: Alice and I broke up.
Charlie: I just got some bad news from my doctor.
Bob: She was cheating on me!
Charlie: I have cancer.
Bob: I only found out, cause she gave me AIDS! She's only HIV positive.
- Averted: Dick lets Bob vent without bringing up his own issues, even if they're comparatively worse.
- Enforced: Bob is far less stoic than Dick and it would be out of character for him to not complain. However test audiences found him too whiny so they threw this in to give him good reason to be quiet.
- Lampshaded: "What is this, a contest?"
- Invoked: ???
- Exploited: ???
- Bob realizes that his issues are lesser compared to the epic trauma Dick suffered through. Dick is sympathetic and points out that just because he suffered worse doesn't mean Bob's suffering is any less real.
- Elly suddenly comes out of nowhere and tells them to shut up about their miseries and focus on the current, more important matter that could be done instead of wailing in despair. Realizing that Elly has a point, both Bob and Dick stopped their whining and worked together without even mentioning their miseries again.
- Discussed: "You know, it feels like I can never talk about my problems to anyone, since there's always someone else who has it worse than me, and expects me to just forget my problems and expect me to feel bad for even bringing up my problems. I'm really, truly sorry that your husband is an alcoholic, or that you're drowning in debt, or that your sister is in the hospital with a broken arm, but I wasn't aware that this was a "who's life is the worst?" contest. I'm sorry."
- Conversed: ???
- Deconstructed: Dick refuses to show any sympathy for Bob's problems, and Bob stops telling him about them, even when he really does need help dealing with it all.
- Played For Laughs: Dick replies to Bob's lament with "You think that's bad! [Laughably Minor Complaint!]"
- Played For Drama: Up to this point, Dick hasn't given any indication that anything was going wrong with his life. But Bob's complaining about his laughably minor-by-comparison issues has finally pushed him too far, and he snaps, revealing all his issues and calling Bob on never asking how he was doing.
- Alternately, Bob has been dealing with a never-ending string of problems that always seem to be one-upped by someone else's whenever he tries to talk about his problems. Dick's last date stealing his wallet trumps his dilemma with Alice and Eva, last week Elly's car crash trumped Bob's broken window, Charlie's dead aunt trumped Bob's dead dog, Frank's broken arm got priority over Bob's sprained ankle, and so on. Bob feels like a Butt-Monkey or even a Cosmic Plaything, and eventually snaps at everyone for having No Sympathy, culminating in a huge "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed at everyone. This can have a variety of outcomes.
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