So, my friend said "getting a compliment out of X is like pulling teeth". Somehow I always remembered that expression as "pulling nails with a plier". He pointed that the expression doesn't exists. So I was wondering where I heard that phrase. I am Indian, so is it British English? Or does the phrase not exists at all?
The established expression is like pulling teeth:
If you say that making someone do something was like pulling teeth, you mean it was very difficult and they did not want to do it:
- Getting her to tell me about her childhood was like pulling teeth.
Maybe the nail version is a variant, but not a common one as far as I can see.