First World Pains

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 15.48.19The other day I could hear my sister getting irate about something. I went through to see what the matter was and found her wrestling with the Hoover. Dust and dirt everywhere from where it had failed to open properly to be emptied. We were both grinning, her in frustration but acknowledgement that it was funny, me laughing simply because it’s always amusing to see your sisters struggling with simple day-to-day things. What really made me laugh was when she exclaimed, “I’m going to have to sweep my room with a broom now…!“. We looked at each other, smiled and both said in unison, “It’s like living in a third world country!“. This is by no means a nasty comment and is one which should be taken lightly. It is a flippant jibe which people use to express mock anger in situations which do not work to our advantage as people who are privileged enough to expect things to. This is better known as “First World Pains”. We live in the First worlds, thus, when things don’t work as planned, it’s like we may as well be living in the Third world. This article looks at some examples of FWP.


Most of us are lucky enough to have mobile phones, laptops, access to the internet. We expect these things to work at all times. If they break or stop working unexpectedly, we don’t like it. We feel wronged and cheated somehow. We have paid for these, they serve us and they should work when we need them too. That’s modern mentality. Thus, when they do break, and it’s inevitable that they will at some point, we feel like we have been hauled back to a stone age time where these things did not exist and it’s completely archaic. We loose signal to our network provider, the internet goes down, one of the buttons is jammed, it’s a First World Pain.

There is a wonderful British comedian by the name of Chris Addison who has material on this too!

FWP: When Plans Fall Through

  • You head out for lunch to find your favourite restaurant is shut for the day. How dare it be?! You had plans, they have been foiled.
  • You go to a hair salon for a hair cut, pay through the nose for it and it’s not at all what you asked for.
  • You rush to the shops to pick up some bare essentials, they have sold out.
  • That boy/girl you like was caught kissing someone else.
  • You ordered Coke but got a Pepsi.
  • You get to the cinema and the film you want to see is full.

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 13.36.25


The list above could go on and on so I thought I’d quit seeing as I’m sure you have the idea by now. You can simply search the hashtag #FirstWorldPains on Twitter to see for yourself. We are people who expect things to go exactly to plan, for things to work the way we want, when we want them. The truth of the matter is that First World Pains are just small, pathetic niggles which we get up in arms about. Is it right or fair to then say it’s like living in a Third World when their reality is so dark and hard? No, but we take things for granted and thus can be somewhat flippant in our responses to situations. We’ve all done it, made a fuss over nothing. Just be happy our First World Pains are nothing too serious and we are far better off than other people.


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