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How do you answer 'How's your day?' if you're having a bad day?

Community Member
Today I went to my safe place after working from home because I wasn't feeling well. Walked for an hour to reach my safe place which also has a nice gelato shop. I walked in and I immediately saw this beautiful gelato server and she asked how my day was. Not really knowing how to answer and still trying to make social interaction I said it was fine, I've been walking for exercise. But I wasn't really fine, I didn't talk to anyone all day except this person and I kind of wanted to let her know that I was so glad she asked how my day was but I didn't want to send out negative energy with the status of my mental health.

How would you go about this? Should I let her or for that matter anyone know that I feel great when people ask how I'm doing? What will they think of me? Is it creepy?

Thank you
7 Replies 7

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
Hi, welcome

We'll done, you actually replied the correct way.

When we ask people "how are you" or similar, they are not asking to know the truth, they are being polite.

I have a relative that, once asked the same she'll talk on and on about everything from a swollen toe to molting hair. You can tell the other person regretted asking.

So it's only once you know people well that you reply like "in struggling atm but how are you more importantly "

We should not forget that friends and family also, at times struggle for other reasons or they carry a mental illness but inform nobody.

YPLA I've noticed you are up to 24 posts and your answers are well meaning and questions are well thought out. I'm glad you are a part of the forum family here.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi ypla

I feel for you so much as you face managing your mental well being in the most constructive of ways. It's tough to manage some days, that's for sure. To push yourself to walk so far to a place that leads you to feel better is incredibly admirable.

I've found that one thing most people relate to is having a challenging day, in one way or another. Sometimes, I don't think it does any harm to say 'Having a bit of a challenging day today', when someone asks us how we are, someone who isn't in our close circle who we can deeply vent to. When someone genuinely shows interest in how we are, it also can't hurt to say 'I feel better for having come here', letting them know they've made a positive difference. You could throw in a little smile of appreciation, so as to raise them too.

Something to consider could involve you coming into the shop and raising the spirits of those who work there, even if it's just with a smile. It's a beautiful feeling when we walk into a place and the people there have been looking forward to seeing us because of how we lead them to feel. It's such an inspiring connection that can serve us in incredible ways. Perhaps they already look forward to seeing you and you're not entirely aware of it.

I love ice-cream shops. They have such a colourful uplifting vibe to them. You've inspired me to hunt down a few in my local area. We gotta treat our self to the colour and sweetness of life.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi ypla,

Thank you for your post and what a great question. I'd like to think that we can all be honest when we're asked this, but I do agree the reality is that some people are asking out of politeness and do not really want to know.

For me personally, it varies- it depends on the person, time, place. If I'm walking my dog and a stranger comes up to me and says "hello, how are you?" my answer is going to be different then if my friend asks, and that's going to be different to if my GP asks. I might say something like "fine thanks", "yeah, I'm alright", "been better", or "well, at least the sun is shining today" (or something similar).

While I can understand not wanting to give off negative energy, sometimes that's just how you feel - and you won't always feel this way because some days will be better than others.

If you were to go up to your gelato server again, what if you were to try something like "I'm not great today, but it means a lot that you asked". ?

It's really hard and I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, just trusting yourself and what feels right at the time.


Community Member
Thanks for all the responses, I think I get all your points. I guess people don't necessarily want to know how I'm feeling but a little exchange of words like hello, how are you, goes a long way. I think next time if I get asked the same question, I'll go 'my day is going alright but it's gonna be better with this icecream/coffee. I think it's a great choice of words to brighten up and look forward to the rest of my day and also make the other person involved as well. I usually go to same places, coffee or gelato shop, and don't want to feel like I'm patronising them. So I'd rather say something rather than being silent and making them feel like a robot.

Willow Jude
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

ypla, thank you for this question! I find I also struggle with how to respond in this scenario - if I share that things aren't so great it can feel like I'm trying to force the other person to care about me, but if I don't take the opportunity to be heard then I come away from the interaction feeling unfulfilled.

white knight, therising, romantic_thi3f, and ypla - I want to say thank you so much for your reflections on this question. You have made some excellent suggestions that I would not have thought of myself, and I will be putting them into practice in the future.

Community Champion
Community Champion
My honest answer to that question is ... There are actually 2 or 3 answers -

1. Average

2. Depends on what answer you are looking for.

3. Not great

Number 2 provides the greatest chance for opening up. I find some people will skip over the other responses.

That's me. 🙂

Community Member

That sounds like a tough spot, but being honest about how you're feeling is totally okay! It doesn't have to be a downer, just a genuine response. People usually appreciate authenticity, and it's not creepy at all to share when you're feeling good.

When I started using online-therapy, it was a game-changer. I felt like I had a safe space to express myself without judgment, and it really helped me navigate my emotions better.