I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I am one of those chronically cheerful people who likes to wish people “Have a good weekend” and a few days later will ask “How was your weekend?” I have been that way almost as long as I can remember. It is one of those social graces that was instilled in me at a very young age which I think still has its place in modern society. Some might disagree, thinking that small talk is useless or out of fashion, but that’s OK, I will just save the question for an extrovert who is positively dying to share what a fabulous time they had.
Typically (not to mention, logically) Fridays are the ideal time to wish people to “have a good weekend” and Mondays are perfect for asking people “How was your weekend?” However, the variety of personal circumstances, flexible work arrangements and floating holidays has really made it challenging to navigate the calendar appropriately to extend the well-intended wish at the right time.
For example, if someone has Fridays off, I don’t think it would be out of the ordinary to move the good weekend greeting to Thursday. Similary, if we all have a statutory holiday on a Monday, it would be fairly common to see people gather around the water cooler on Tuesday, discussing how the weekend went. So far, so good.
It is when we have other elements added to the mix that things get complicated. I once found myself wishing someone “have a good weekend” on a Wednesday, given an all-day training session on Thursday and a personal day off on Friday. Moments later, that same Wednesday, I found myself asking someone else how their weekend went, given the statutory holiday on Monday and their compressed day off on Tuesday.
It was when I wished someone “have a good weekend” on a Tuesday, given a business trip on Wednesday and Thursday and an all-day meeting on Friday, that I started scratching my head and wondering if there was a statute of limitations with regard to weekends. Is there a natural cutoff point where we wouldn’t wish someone a good weekend, or a point at which we wouldn’t ask about their weekend?
To further complicate matters, if you want to extend the wish to someone who works weekends, like someone who works retail, when is it appropriate? I once caught myself in auto-pilot mode when, without really thinking about it, I wished my pharmacy clerk a pleasant weekend… it was Sunday afternoon.
It can also get a little awkward when the person is on-call for the weekend, so depending on whether they get paged or not, will determine whether they actually have a weekend to themselves to enjoy… or not. “Have a good time” does not seem like an appropriate catch-all, in the event that they get called to duty and it turns into a very challenging shift.
What about the unfortunate folks who have been ill for the few days before or the few days after the weekend days? I don’t think that “how was your weekend?” fits the scenario particularly well, without accidentally opening the door to the private details of their illness. Perhaps a quick substitution like “Welcome back, I hope you are feeling better” is more appropriate, although it is self-evident that if they are at work, chances are they are feeling better.
Who knew that such a simple greeting could get so complicated?
Regardless of the terms, conditions and exceptions that could influence the validity of said time frame referred to as “weekend”, I don’t think it takes away from the genuine and sincere sentiment that accompanies the “have a good weekend” wish or the “how was your weekend?” greeting. I hope people accept it in the good spirit that it was offered, regardless of the day of the week.