What Does ‘TGIF’ Mean and How to Use it?

It's Friday

Thank Goodness It’s Friday! (if you’re an atheist)

Anyone who has ‘Monday Blues’ would be one to say TGIF at the end of the week. The drill that begins from Sunday night and drags through Tuesday goes through a WTF phase on the calendar and then ends on a happy note. Too many metaphors and randomness? TGIF is that random, but, surprisingly, it’s been around quite a lot!

TGIF is one of the oldest (or probably the oldest) slang that is still alive and kicking. This only goes on to show the magnitude of resonance people continue to have with the slang. When it comes to TGIF, there is no generational gap. A lot of people from different ages feel the same — only express the same gratification differently.

Here’s to 50+ years of whining till it’s Friday.

Thank God It’s Friday

TGIF is a Britishism; an expression that began with and was popularized by Britain. It’s a British concept that further traveled to and across the entire world — that now, it’s hard to verify if it was ever a Britishism! The expression is no less than at least 80 to 90 years old. People have been using the TGIF expression roughly since the 1930s.

The first-ever physical evidence of TGIF being part of human lifestyle was in 1941. ‘Thank God, It’s Friday’ and the abbreviation ‘TGIF’ appeared in Ohio’s local newspaper, The Marion Star (known as just ‘Star’ back then). The following passage from the newspaper is verified and entered in the Green’s Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green:

I thought I’d heard of everything in the way of booster clubs, alumni organizations, and the like, but this city, home of the Ohio State University Buckeyes, and correctly called the Brooklyn of the Football world, has come up with one that tops them all. It’s the “Thank God It’s Friday” club, composed entirely of undergraduates here at State.

Besides, even the common misconception behind TGIF goes back and beyond the passage mentioned above. Alan Stillman, the man behind the iconic TGI Fridays provides insight into the expression’s history. Many, even today, believe the TGIF expression credits to this popular and universal American restaurant chain. But, he has another story.

Upon recounting the most heard, generally resonant, and relevant expression of ‘Thank God It’s Friday!’ from his college days, Stillman decided to rename The Good Tavern on 63rd Street and First Avenue in New York City. TGI Fridays was thus born in 1965 and that was just the beginning of a worldwide revolution in casual dining. However, the restaurant did go through multiple changes along its course (including some branches being permanently shut down). Some TGI Fridays restaurants are just ‘Fridays’ today.


Reasons Behind the Gratitude in TGIF

Despite being one of the most known and most-used colloquial expressions, TGIF is a unique slang/expression that doesn’t fall into mediocrity. It is one of the rare internet slangs that precisely favors and vocalizes a particular section of an audience — the working class. TGIF holds no ground of relevance without work (literally speaking) — because every day becomes the same without employment.

It may apply to other sections of an audience as well — like students, provided theirs too is a 5-day educational week. Any sector that is busy through the week and gains a 2-day weekend can be counted as the “TGIF audience”. However, there may be another angle to the slang — sectors that begin work or are in full zone only during the weekend could also go TGIF because there’s business coming in and skill going out during the time.

Professionals in several (and conventional) circles have been excited come Friday since the early 1900s — but their reasons for excitement slightly vary from our current context of using TGIF. Back in the 20th century, employees and employers alike awaited Friday, for the weekend, but there were some working sectors for whom, Friday was pay-day. Some employees, back in the day, who worked on a weekly basis anticipated Fridays for payment, and they sure were exhilarated when Friday did arrive!

Today, TGIF’s usage banks mostly towards a single reason — ’tis the weekend! There aren’t many workplaces that pay weekly — so that criterion doesn’t work. We just look forward to Friday because it’s the beginning of the weekend and most of us motion into a two-day resting break before resuming work on Monday.

The modern angle of using TGIF may have a single reason — but it does have two sides. The good, and well, the dark side. The good side of TGIF is that we get that much-needed work break every week. It helps businesses revive physically and mentally (depending on the type and location of the job). The dark side of TGIF speaks directly to our growing dissatisfaction with work, offices, and careers at large.


The Dark Side of TGIF (so to speak)

Taking up a job with money as the ulterior motive doesn’t always end or progress in the most constructive of ways. Likewise, taking up a job for reasons other than experience (voluntary, interest-driven experience), often results in a breakdown or a meltdown that is generally, taught to be a silent struggle.

Many employees feel the worst of Monday blues on a Sunday evening and drag through the week and every Friday becomes a fleeting TGIF moment. This intense eagerness to be done with the workweek, not for gratifying reasons but to not work is what carves the basis of the “dark side” of TGIF. So many people look forward to the next Friday so they wouldn’t need to work and can do so guilt-free.

This speaks volumes of the helpless grind we put ourselves through just to make ends meet regardless of how unfulfilled or discontented we may be with our routines. While it’s healthy and positive to be excited on a Friday and look forward to a relaxing weekend to rejuvenate oneself, it is downright lethal, unhealthy, and saddening that so many of us crave for Friday the moment it’s Monday.

Supposedly simple things like contentment, perspective, thoughts, and our basic approach to work can have the biggest impact on work satisfaction. They affect our overall professional mental wellbeing — and an imbalance can consume us more than content us and this way of using TGIF can be destructive!


How to Use TGIF

Each time you’re excited, relieved, thankful that it’s Friday, you can use TGIF. This use-case applies online and offline — you could text/type it out, apply TGIF in a variety of impersonal contexts, or say it out loud for all to know that it’s Friday and hopefully, they’re just as thrilled about it!

However, TGIF may not be an appropriate usage if yours is a 6-day work week — unless you’re truly and positively elevated that it is Friday (but you’re still at work on Saturday and maybe even on Sunday). Nevertheless, TGIF could transition from being a work-based expression to just the whole spirit of Friday. You could also choose to keep the initialism distinct from your work situation and simply enjoy the “Friday essence” with TGIF.

Here are some examples iterating TGIF’s usage in different contexts.

  • What’s today?
    Friday, yo! More like FriYAY
    TGIF!!! I can finally go to the spa!
  • We bring to you the TGIF sale! Everything (well, almost everything) @ 50%!
  • TGIF ain’t it??!!
    Aren’t you like, working the weekend?
    Yes! But, it’s Friday!
    Ok..ay. Whatever makes you happy. 🙂
  • TGIF? More like TFIF (Thank F*ck It’s Friday). Can’t wait to stop coming here. (or along similar lines. This is the dark, unhealthy, and destructive side of TGIF, we mentioned) — If you feel this way, it’s time you found a new job.
  • TGIF! We can get started with the business idea I talked to you about!
    Yeah… about that.
    Dude. You’re a bitter disappointment.
  • TGIF!
    Haha! Isn’t everyday like, Sunday to you?
    Stop calling out my unemployment every time. It’s not very nice of you.

Conclusion

TGIF may have started as a British expression of showing gratification and relief after 5 days of hard work and (prior) eagerness for remuneration. But, the slang expression did emerge into multiple branches, some of which aren’t very uplifting, let alone gratifying. The latter refers to underlying issues at the workplace that ought to be dealt with immediately. Otherwise, there’s no harm in celebrating Friday! Unless you work through the week.