Why do we say “That made my day!”

Posted by adrionna on Dec 26, 2014 in Just Wondering |

We seem to say “That made my day!” so casually. But I’m thinking there’s more to it than meets the eye.

When do we say it? And why?

I posted a picture of my dad on Instagram on Christmas Day. I had received a beautiful scarf from my mother and was showing it off in the kitchen. Dad was telling a story, or trying to, when I wrapped my scarf around his head similar to how the images of the Virgin Mary show a face wrapped in gentle fabric. He took on a very serious persona right away, amusing himself by looking in the mirror, trying not to laugh even though my mom and I were close to tears. Right next to the mirror is a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, so I had Dad stand right next to it. With some filters and focus adjustments, the photo was ready for the internet.

My Dad received many nods on Instagram and close to 50 “likes” on Facebook. We kind of expected that (Dad even said, “I’ll be famous by tonight!”), but what I hadn’t expected were the responses of “This just made my day!” This made me so happy to hear and it made me wonder why.

So it seems we say ‘That made my day” when we see something that made us happy, or experience something that makes us laugh. But I also think it goes deeper than that. Think about it – what happens to your body when you experience something that has you saying, “Wow, that just made my day.” Also, if this thing that made you happy happened early in the day, does that mean that you just write off the rest of your day? “Awesome, this thing made my day and now I can just kind of chill until tomorrow. Hopefully something makes my day tomorrow, too.” It’s almost a passive way of seizing the day. Or is it?

So why do some things make the “make our day” category while other seemingly-equally-great things pass us by? Here are some of my ideas:

1. The thing that “makes our day” surprises us, which makes it memorable. We didn’t expect to experience anything like this today. It is spontaneous but real and that’s what makes it great. The spontaneity is also what makes it memorable in a way that we keep returning to it all day long, replaying it in our minds and finding joy in it even after 5 hours have passed – thus, “making” our day, regardless of what might happen next.

2. It gives us hope. Maybe we were feeling a little down in the dumps. Maybe we’ve been in the pits for a while. But then this thing happened and it made us forget the negativity, even for a little bit. It made our day because it reminds us, until we fall asleep, that there is good in the world. At least for a couple minutes. Makes you wonder why we don’t surround ourselves with more of these moments more often.

3. It can be anything. A view from a mountain-top, a small coffee that we received for free, a stranger giving us a compliment, a new car, an old photograph, a cancelled class, getting into a class that we’ve wanted to be in for a while, a day off, an extra shift that we really need. It is very relative, based on what we need: a reminder that life is good, that good things can happen in a moment’s notice, and that this moment can give us some extra fuel when we’re running on empty.

4. It’s usually facilitated through human connection. I love spending days all by my lonesome like the next girl, but the things that “make” my day are usually grounded in human connection, whether it’s incredibly profound or not. We can’t have unbelievable, unforgettable Carpe Diem days without another person – whether it’s someone we know and love or someone we just met. The relationship between people isn’t as important as the idea that another person is usually present. And yes, eating carry-out while watching Netflix by yourself involves human connection.

It’s funny how something that seems to casual can give us insight into what human beings need: things that are joy-giving, hope-giving, and life-giving. So when we say “That made my day!” it’s nice to know that, for the most part, we genuinely mean it and that we experienced some kind of human connection to make it happen.


Here’s the picture of my Dad, by the way. He’s quite the character. I hope it makes your day.



Copyright © 2018 PrettyNerd All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.