I have a friend—let’s call her Sarah—who was having a rotten day recently. She slept late, her boss was on her butt the second she walked through the door, clients were upset, and halfway through the afternoon, her evening plans got canceled.
Sarah’s not one to give up easily. She tried to bounce back. She opened a new browser window, did a quick search for bad day inspiration and landed on a page full of gems like these:
- “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” – Dennis S. Brown
- “Sometimes you need those bad days to help you appreciate the good ones.”
- “At midnight, even bad days come to an end.” – Ms. Moem
And to top things off . . .
- “A bad day is only as bad as you let it be.” – James Yager
That last one broke her effort to be positive. She was ready to scream at her monitor. Only as bad as you let it be? Really?!
All that positivity felt like nonsense—which is the essence of a bad day. It makes everything feel tainted.
Every one of those quotes is true, but that’s not much comfort on a bad day. Almost nothing is. That’s exactly why you need to be careful how you interact with your partner on bad days.
Negativity that has nothing to do with your relationship can all-too-easily mess with romance.
When you’re in a negative frame of mind, you’ll be drawn to negative perceptions and negative conclusions. That’s true down to the neurological level.
A team of researchers recently confirmed this. When you’re depressed, even your brain shifts toward cynicism. You’ll be more likely to use negative words and make negative choices.
Time with your man at the end of a crappy day can make things feel better. But only if you keep that negativity from creeping its way into your relationship.
Thankfully, there’s a way to do that . . . without invalidating how you feel. The following three ideas will help you be authentic—even at the end of a horrible day—without wrecking date night.
Notice your outlook.
Sometimes people slip into bad moods without realizing it. If you’re about to spend some time with your man, take stock of how you feel.
Has it been a frustrating day? Are you on edge? Is your outlook negative right now?
Good decision-making and intimate connection both hinge on self-awareness. Know where you are before meeting up with him.
Accept where you are.
If you’re not in the best of moods, accept that gracefully.
Acceptance doesn’t mean getting all comfy with negativity. It just means talking to yourself like you’d talk to anyone else you care about.
“Self,” you’ll say, “some crappy stuff happened today. It would get to anyone. It’s okay.”
Beating yourself up for feeling bad will only make you feel worse. And trying to “fake it ‘til you make it” is fundamentally inauthentic. Just admit to yourself that you’ve felt better.
If you’re in a negative frame of mind, practice counter-balance.
Once you understand the possible effect of a bad day, you can work to counter-balance it. Here’s what that looks like.
You have a bad day. You recognize and accept your mood before meeting your guy for dinner. Then you admit your bad mood up front. It’s a form of inoculation. He’s less likely to take things personally.
You can even tell him why your day was cruddy if you want. You don’t have to be inauthentic. But you don’t have to let a bad day ruin a potentially good night, either.
A little self-awareness and self-acceptance can go a long way—especially on rough days. Before you spend time with your partner, check your mood. If you’re upset about something else, don’t accidentally take it out on him.
On bad days, accept your mood and counter-balance it from a place of awareness. That’s how happily-ever-after couples guard the sacred space of their romance.