You're having a problem with something. Someone shares a humorous anecdote about a time they experienced the same problem, and you feel better because of it.

"Maybe this will cheer you up, in a ______ kind of way."

There's a single word for this, and it's on the tip of my tongue, but I'm drawing a complete blank. I can't even conjure up a synonym. It's a bit like "a problem shared is a problem halved", except it's more about experiencing a dark humour.

Someone help me out here?


7 Answers 7


Perhaps you’re thinking of perverse:

Maybe this will cheer you up, in a perverse kind of way.

perverse, adj.
a. Of a person, action, etc.: going or disposed to go against what is reasonable, logical, expected, or required; contrary, fickle, irrational.
Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

  • 1
    It wasn't what Poly was really asking for but it is in use and does fit the bill. The 'shared' part is implicit: the speaker and listener both understand the speaker isn't really calling the other person perverse but acknowledging that while they can find the humor in it, sure not everyone would see it the same way.
    – lly
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 14:05
  • This fits the question’s specific example sentence excellently; on the other hand it doesn’t fit the description in the question title at all — in general, it doesn’t carry any connotations of “humorous satisfaction in a shared problem”. (Not criticising this as an answer, but just noting the point so that later readers don’t misunderstand and assume this can mean what the title describes.)
    – PLL
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 9:26
  • @PLL — OP refers to “dark humor.” Cheering someone up with a tale of misfortune is a form of dark humor, which is a perversion of your standard humor. Dark humor works here because the misfortune is shared by both parties. Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 14:58

Maybe this will cheer you up, in a commiserative kind of way.

commiserative (adj.)
Feeling or expressing commiseration, compassion, pity or sympathy.


In Christopher Marlowe's play "Doctor Faustus," Faustus asks Mephistopheles (a "senior devil", Hell's equivalent of Heaven's Archangel Gabriel) why he wants to increase the number of souls in Hell. Mephistophiles replies in Latin Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris, which could be translated as It is a comfort to the wretched to have companions in grief.

At some later point that got boiled down to the far more pithy Misery loves company. Google Books seem to have hundreds of instances of that - mostly in "air quotes" and/or hyphenated. For example...

While we found some solace in a “misery loves company” sort of way at the workshop, our new compadres began to see progress while we were still stuck in the storm.

  • 3
    Definitely not it. I'm looking for a single word.
    – Polynomial
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 20:03
  • If there was a single word with any currency, I don't think I'd have found so many published instances of "a misery loves company" (with the article, so they'll nearly all be adjectival uses). It's only now you're making me look again that I'm taken aback to see how many there are - it's literally hundreds! Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 23:44

Morbid fits the cadence and sentiment of that sentence.

Cambridge gives:

morbid, (adj.)

too interested in unpleasant subjects, especially death:
a morbid fascination with death


Maybe "Schadenfreude" is the word you're looking for?

It refers to a particular kind of dark-humor appreciation, but maybe it applies here, since you mentioned "having a problem with something". It's a loan word, from German.

Noun: Schadenfreude

Delight in another person's misfortune

Type of: delectation, delight


  • 3
    Not schadenfreude. (I mentioned this in the question comments)
    – Polynomial
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 21:14
  • 3
    I see. Comments don't count. ;-)
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 21:26

Some possibilities:

Mutual (All definitions from Merriam-Webster)

1c: shared in common

2: characterized by intimacy


2b: shared by or affecting two or more


1: used, done, belonging to, or experienced by two or more individuals

Sympathetic: (although this is no longer the most common meaning)

1: existing or operating through an affinity, interdependence, or mutual association

You couldn’t say “in a common sort of way,” without being misunderstood, but something like “common grief” would work here as well.


Hubristic might fit your purpose.

Cambridge gives the adjective:

too proud:
He has a hubristic resistance to admitting he is wrong.

  • 1
    That means something completely different.
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 16:38

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.