Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Kobayashi Maru - the classical damend if you do, damned if you don't situation. Pic: http://hunternuttall.com/blog/2009/05/kobayashi-maru/

Sometimes you feel you are – or you actually are – in a situation where, no matter what you do, it will cause trouble or problem for you (maybe for others).

That is a “damned  if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of a situation.

Situations like that can also be called “no-win” situations for the obvious reasons: whatever you do,  you can’t win.  In serious cases it can also be called a “double bind”.

The idiom is best explained with an examples:

Janet:  “I don’t know what to do, if I invite Jessica to the party, she’ll drink too much and make a total fool of herself.  But if I don’t invite her, she’ll never talk to me again and talk bad behind my back.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”

For the geeks among us:  Kobayashi Maru in the original Star Trek is a classical no win/damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  In a computer simulation one has to choose between ignoring the call for help by another starship which results in everybody on board dying and taking action to come to the rescue which triggers hostile action from the enemy which destroys you.  More about that here.

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