Of all the modern-day expressions that people use frequently, the one that is most common is, ‘Have a nice day.’ This flows from the lips automatically, yet do people really think about what they are saying?

Can having a nice day be guaranteed? Each morning we wake up and the day unfolds. It is only at the end of the day that we can decide whether or not it was nice. Our lives are full of random events. Each day, we interact with others who can treat us well, or abusively. Each day we encounter situations that are either pleasant or horrible. We have mood changes or our circadian rhythms have gone awry.  People who say they love us seem to hate us.   The weather can be erratic. Events on the news send us into despair about the state of the planet. All of this permeates our lives, but we are still told to. ‘Have a nice day.’

The instruction,’Take Care’ seems much more meaningful. This is something that can be controlled. Consciously, we can look out for dangers. We can respond to people in ways that lower their aggression. Helping others can inject a sense of well-being. Thinking ‘How can I make a difference?’ can mean making a difference. It can help individuals to have a nice day.

Stock phrases hide reality.  People say ‘All good.’ when the opposite is the case. The sad fact is that many individuals don’t want to hear negative comments. They don’t want to listen; to be helpful or sympathetic. It could lead to not having a nice day.

It is possible to visit a supermarket around midnight. As you leave, the person on the check-out smiles and says, ‘Have a nice day.’ What day is meant – the one just gone or the one just beginning?

Apparently, a few years ago in California, there was a concern that ‘Have a nice day.’ was becoming meaningless. A new phrase was suggested, and customers found that as they moved away from the checkout, the employee would lean over the cash register, and intone, ‘Missing you already.’

We need to use language in ways that draw us closer together.  Individual responses, coupled with a smile, do more to establish a connection than glib phrases uttered because management instructs its employees to do so.

Of course, I could close this piece with ‘Have a nice day.” but it would be meaningless. Each person who reads this should think of how they would personally like to greet or farewell someone. This would be more endearing, and certainly more sincere.


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