Understanding the meaning of “I’ve had a bad day”

by Katie on February 23, 2009

I had a lesson on this last Friday.

For most women, this comment is usually used to open an opportunity to tell someone about all the things that went wrong in her life that day, and explain each detail that made this “bad day” so awful.

Not the case with men. At least with my husband, anyway.

Brandon walked into the kitchen about 7:30 Friday evening saying, “I’ve had a bad day. I just want dinner, a beer, and to go to bed.”

So, being the good wife I am, I reached in the fridge to retrieve a cold beverage for him, and finished up the dinner preparations.

At this point, I was two for three on his wishes for the evening – sitting in pretty good shape. But after dinner, the female tendencies took over.

“I’m sorry you had a bad day. What made it so bad anyway?”
“Oh, yes, that is bad. But why did that happen?”
“And then what happened after that? I mean, something else had to have happened for you to be so upset about the whole day.”
“Oh, that too, huh? Well what caused that? And why exactly was it such a problem?”
“Okay, now I see why it was such a bad day. But can we go back to that first thing that went wrong? I have more questions about that.”

Turns out, this is not the conversation Brandon had in mind for the evening. This series of dialogue was eventually met with:

“When I walked in the door tonight, I was very clear about the fact I had a bad day. As in, I didn’t want to talk about it. Actually, I wanted to do everything I could to forget about it. But all we’ve done is talk about it. Now, can we please NOT TALK ABOUT IT ANYMORE?”

“Oh. Okay. If that’s what you want.”

And three minutes later…

“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

[Met with a very frustrated blank stare]

And with that, I began to understand the meaning of “I’ve had a bad day” in man speak.

For my married friends and family, I hope this post gives you something to laugh about, because you’ve probably known this for years, and might even remember the day you learned this little difference in communication.

For my unsuspecting single friends and family, I hope this post is a lesson for you: just give him the beer, make him some food, and don’t ask questions.

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