Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Have A Nice Day

I've been thinking about how strangers, acquaintances, and even friends always tell you to have a nice day, and how it's totally socially inappropriate to tell anyone you're not close with that you're having a bad day unless the reason is totally who cares like "I'm so busy" or "I'm running late" or something like that.

If you're having a bad day for some other reason than those, I mean like a real bad day, it's not even enough to be close with someone to tell them about it. You've got to be very close, like ridiculously close. I mean imagine getting right in someone's face who is even a fairly good friend and saying something like "my boss criticized me harshly and I shed tears in public," "I'm jealous of my sister's life," or "my ex whom I have never gotten over just started dating someone else and I am totally crushed." Or more generally, perhaps, "I feel fundamentally useless and dissatisfied," "I crave validation," "I wish someone would hold me and understand me so badly my entire body aches."

No, you can't just come out and say those types of things to practically anyone. I mean, it's pretty much mandatory to have a nice day.


  1. My answers would be more like this:

    "How are you?"

    "Not so good, Bill."

    "Why's that, Steve?"

    "Well, Bill, I've been suppressing farts for nearly an hour now, and the gas pain is pretty damn unbearable."


  2. Once, just once, I told someone how my day was REALLY going. It was a telemarketer. And we had a really good chat about my day, her day, and the way life seems to be.

    One of the most cathartic experiences of my life, I highly recommend it.

  3. Lovely post. Reminds me that "I experience existential angst daily."

  4. If people don't care how I'm feeling then I would much prefer that they don't ask "How are you?"

  5. Sweet baby jesus this is the complete opposite of what I do! Granted, I am quite the fucking weirdo when it comes to doing things the conventional way.

    If I'm having a bad day and someone asks (and I feel like talking about it) they're gonna hear about it. This requires that I: 1) not be embarrassed or ashamed about almost all aspects of my life, 2) be able to guide the tone so as to not be giving some kind of dramatic speech that will make the other uncomfortable, 3) not give a shit if I am from time to time unsuccessful at 2)

    Opening myself up in vulnerable ways has allowed me to cut through all the superficial b.s. that tangles friendships and make real connections in a flash. Either that or realizing that this or that person is really just an acquaintance and accordingly lowering my level of investment (which in my case means...adios!).

    From my side, I avoid all confusion by being specific. I don't say how are you, I say "what's the best/worst/most awkward/etc thing that happened to you today?" or "so what's been keeping you up at night these days?". You'd be amazed at how all of a sudden everyone who is a stranger becomes almost as easy to talk to as at least a somewhat close friend.

    Can't say it'll work for all but I can dig it.

  6. Tell me about it. The detail in my answers tends to be proportional to my closeness with the questioner. "Not bad" and "pretty good" tend to be the standards :)

  7. I'll tell anyone anything. When I'm having a bad enough day, I'll tell someone I just met all about it. But I'm not normal, and I don't have an "on deck" circle for my thoughts. Once I've thought it, it's coming out my mouth.