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Why Does Tuesday Have Less "Personality" Than Other Days?

What makes Tuesday the unloved stepchild of the weekly calendar?

Source: WindNight/Shutterstock

Poor Tuesday gets no respect.

After all, every other day of the week has a vivid personality, often celebrated through song.

We thank God it’s Friday (TGIF), just like the dancing queen in the ABBA song who is out on the town on Friday night when the lights are low. Another song by The Cure assures us that by Friday I’m in Love.

Saturday Night is always worth celebrating because, well, Saturday night’s alright for fighting! It is hard to imagine that a movie titled “Tuesday Night Fever” would ever have made it at the box office.

And after a breakup, we know that Sunday will never be the same. Even the misery of Monday is worth singing about in Monday, Monday, because we all know that rainy days and Mondays always get me down.

When Tuesday does manage to make it into a song, it is usually something like the Moody Blues’ Tuesday Afternoon, where Tuesday is explicitly chosen to represent a bland, nondescript, boring day. In the words of the old "Seinfeld" TV Show, Tuesday has no feel.

Even Wednesday has a nickname, “Hump Day,” marking its place as the tipping point of the week, while Thursday is reserved for solemn observations such as Thanksgiving and Holy Thursday. We have Friday night lights for enjoying high school football, Saturdays for college football, and Sundays for the NFL.

In the United States, Monday is the standard designated day to observe federal holidays, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays serve as sabbath days in various religions. However, it appears that no religion wants to make anything sacred happen on a Tuesday.

So, what is the deal with Tuesday?

Studies indicate that days of the week do in fact correspond with changes in our mood. Americans are in the best mood on Fridays and over the weekend, and tend to be at their lowest on Mondays. This pattern replicates well in a range of different cultures, from Germany to China, with the Japanese being the oddballs by having their down-days on Friday and Saturday.

Many online polls indicate that Monday is the least favorite day of the week for most Americans and that Saturday is the most favorite day, but when asked to name their overall favorite day of the week, fewer people name Tuesday than any other day; it even comes in behind lowly Monday.

Research also confirms that when we get confused about which day of the week it is, it almost always happens during mid-week which begins, of course, with Tuesday. Mondays, Fridays, and weekends have so many rich associations that it is harder to forget what day it is on those days.

There is even evidence that Tuesday seems like the longest day of the week. A plausible explanation for this phenomenon is that Tuesday offers the least desirable conjunction of time perspectives. On Tuesday, the past weekend is beginning to seem like a long time ago, but it also feels like an impossibly long time before the next weekend rolls around. Also, on Tuesdays, the cognitive load of workweek tasks that resumed on Monday has started to ramp up significantly, making the day more mentally exhausting than most other days.

And so, while the many astrological and pop psychology theories that link the day of our birth to our personality offer uplifting, self-affirming portraits of the type of people that we are, it can be difficult for those of us who were born on a Tuesday to completely shake the association between ourselves and the drabbest and most forgettable day of the week.

More from Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.
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More from Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D.
More from Psychology Today