Don't get mad, get even
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Don't get mad, get even'?
The proverbial saying 'don't get mad, get even' means that, when suffering a loss at the hands of another, don't waste your energy on anger but work towards redressing the harm done.
The sentiment is similar to another proverb - revenge is a dish best served cold.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Don't get mad, get even'?
Proverbs are 'short and expressive sayings, in common use, which are recognized as conveying some accepted truth or useful advice'. This example is as pertinent today as it ever was.
In fact, unlike many similar 'don't...' proverbs, this one isn't very old.
The person who popularised its use was John Kennedy. He used the expression in an interview with the American journalist Ben Bradlee. This interview was published in 1975 as part of Conversations with Kennedy:
Some of the reasons have their roots in that wonderful law of the Boston Irish political jungle: 'Don’t get mad; get even.'
Clearly Kennedy must have been aware of the expression prior to November 1963, when he was assassinated. However, I can find no records of the phrase in print during his lifetime. It seems that he was correct in attributing 'don't get mad, get even' to the US political scene. The Democrat spokesperson Carmine Warschaw used it in a speech, reported in The Californian newspaper The Valley Times, February 1965:
Mrs Warschaw introduced the congressmen and elected officials who attended the dinner. Regarding some Democratic losses she had this advice: 'Don't get mad... just get even.'
See other 'Don't...' proverbs: