Welcome to the Club—An Idiom Exploring Solidarity

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Alison Page

Alison has worked full-time in the writing industry for over ten years, using her knowledge and life experience to create online content, fiction and non-fiction. Alison has published two novels and has ghost-written several non-fiction equestrian books for a client. Alison has been a full-time professional content writer for almost ten years and loves her work as a wordsmith.

Welcome to the club is a casual and often humorous way of expressing solidarity or shared experience with someone who has just encountered a particular situation, difficulty, or challenge.

Idioms like this are expressions or phrases with meanings that cannot be understood from the individual words used. They are handy to include in your speech to create word pictures, add emphasis, and sometimes humor. Most idioms are more appropriate for use in informal situations rather than professional or academic settings.

In this article, I not only unravel the meaning of the idiom welcome to the club but also explore its intriguing origins. I offer practical examples to help you use it correctly, share tips for its effective application, and provide various conversation contexts. To add a touch of fun, there’s a quick quiz waiting for you at the end of the article! Ready for the journey? Let’s dive in!

Welcome to the Club—An Idiom Exploring Solidarity 1

What Does the Idiom Welcome to the Club Mean?

The idiom welcome to the club means telling someone they’re not alone when they’re going through something tough. It’s like saying, “Others have been through the same thing, so you’re not the only one.”

Merriam-Webster states that the idiom is “said to indicate that the problems or feelings someone is having are problems or feelings that the speaker has had.” Similarly, the Collins Dictionary says that it is “said to indicate that you have had the same experiences or feelings as someone who has been telling you about their problems or how they feel.”

For example, my friend told her husband the other day that she was short of cash for the week’s shopping. “Welcome to the club!” he retorted. “Why do our wages never keep up with household bills?”

Literal Meaning vs. Figurative Meaning

The literal meaning of welcome to the club is an informal greeting that you use when someone joins a sports or social club. For example, if a new member arrives at our squash club, I would immediately say, “Welcome to the club.”

If you use the expression figuratively, it means you find yourself in the same situation or predicament as the speaker.

Variations of the Idiom

The most common variation of welcome to the club is join the club

How Is the Idiom Welcome to the Club Commonly Used in Context?

The idiom welcome to the club is frequently employed in conversational English, adding a touch of camaraderie or shared understanding to dialogue. Its usage spans various contexts, each with its unique nuances.

The sections below will delve deeper into how this idiom can be employed, provide tips for using it effectively, and guide you on where to find practical examples. By exploring these aspects, we aim to equip you with a robust understanding of the idiom, enhancing both your comprehension and usage of this relatable expression.

What Are the Different Ways to Use the Idiom Welcome to the Club?

  • Shortage of funds: “I’m absolutely skint this month, and I’ve only just been paid!” said Amanda to Jane. “Yep, welcome to the club!” Jane retorted with a rueful grin.
  • Job struggles: “My job application got rejected again,” said John with a scowl. “Join the club. Job hunting is a tough one these days,” replied his friend.
  • Relationship issues: “My husband and I got into an argument last night,” Clarke said sadly. “Welcome to the club. Relationships can be a real challenge sometimes,” Lexa sympathized.
  • Health problems: “I just got my test results back and found out I have diabetes. Now I have to take medication every day and change my diet,” Octavia told her friend. “That’s tough, but I’ve been doing that for years. Welcome to the club of daily pill-pushers!” Bellamy retorted.
  • Parenting hassles: “My two-year-old threw a massive temper tantrum at the supermarket yesterday,” Indra told Emori at the kindergarten. Emori rolled her eyes and gave a deep sigh. “Yeah, that’s a phase my Ollie is going through at the moment too. Welcome to the club!” she said.

What Are Some Tips for Using the Idiom Welcome to the Club Effectively?

  • Empathy and understanding: The idiom welcome to the club is generally used to convey empathy and understanding of someone’s situation. Use it to indicate that you’ve been through a similar experience and can relate to the speaker’s feelings and circumstances.
  • Appropriate timing: Try to use the phrase at an appropriate moment in a conversation, ideally when someone shares an experience or challenge to which you can relate.
  • Tone of voice: This idiom can be used humorously, sympathetically, or a combination of both. Be sure your body language, tone of voice, and facial expression match the sentiment you want to convey.
  • Shared experience: The idiom is most effective in conversation when there is a genuine shared experience. Use it when you can absolutely relate to what the other person is going through. 
  • Use variations: Use variations of the phrase or other expressions to avoid repetition. That keeps the conversation engaging and interesting and demonstrates your advanced command of the English language.

Where Can You Find Examples of the Idiom Welcome to the Club?

This is a hugely popular idiom, used regularly in different media, including movies, TV, casual conversation, online, and newspapers.

It’s being quoted by various online publications, like these few examples:

If getting away from it all and living in nearly complete isolation is your current fantasy, well… join the club. (Boston Magazine)

And if you don’t know everything about everything, well, join the club. (The Atlantic)

What Is the Origin of the Idiom Welcome to the Club?

welcome to the club Ngram
Welcome to the club usage trend.

The expression join the club or welcome to the club to mean that two or more people are sharing the same experience came into use sometime in the mid-1940s, though its exact origin is unknown.

How Did the Idiom Evolve Over Time?

Over time, it has maintained its fundamental meaning while broadening its application. Initially, it might have been used in the literal context of joining a formal club or group. However, it has evolved into a colloquial phrase used to express empathy or shared experiences across various situations—good or bad.

From shared hardships to common achievements, the phrase is now widely utilized to communicate camaraderie and mutual understanding. Its broadened use underlines the evolution of language and the dynamic nature of idiomatic expressions. 

What Are Some Related Terms to Welcome to the Club?

Here are a few related terms to the idiom, including some synonyms and antonyms you can use to give your speech more flair and variety:

Welcome to the Club—An Idiom Exploring Solidarity 2


  • You’re not alone
  • Me too
  • In the same boat
  • Been there, done that
  • Welcome aboard


  • You’re on your own
  • You stand alone
  • You’re in a league of your own

Welcome to the Club: Test Your Knowledge!

Choose the correct answer.

What Have We Learned about Welcome to the Club?

Welcome to the club is an idiom signifying that the speaker is sympathetic to the plight of their audience. 

Idioms like this are figurative phrases that can add flair and interest to your parlance, making it more engaging for your audience.

I explained what the idiom means and offered practical advice on using the phrase in the right context. So, you should be all set to use this idiom in your material.

If you found this idiom intriguing, why not explore our extensive collection of idiom guides available right here on our site? There’s a wealth of fascinating expressions waiting for you to discover and enjoy!

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: