I heard this on TV:

Sometimes you make choices and sometimes choices make you.

I understand the first part, but what does

"sometimes choices make you"


From what I understand, a choice is when you can decide between two or more things. You get to pick which thing you want, which route to go, etc.

It was your parent's choice to have intimate time and you ended up getting created as a result of that choice.

Are there any other examples or metaphors that could be inferred from that phrase?

  • 7
    It means you are in Soviet Russia! Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 6:42
  • 5
    Heh! In Soviet Russia, you don't get jokes -- jokes get you! (into trouble) ;-) Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 9:28
  • It means that sometimes choices cause you to change as a person. While you think you are who you are because of your past choices.(choices made you!) The truth is in some part you did those choices because of who you are. (you made the choices!) And when it comes to my opinion: choices made sweet love to you... lol Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 14:39

11 Answers 11


sometimes choices make you

It means that sometimes the choices you make influence who you become as a person.

As noted by @Sam I Am, this is not a normal phrase. It is designed to be the reverse of the first half of the sentence (you make choices), and seems to be ironically implying that while you expect to have control of your decisions, sometimes those decisions can effect (control) you.

In this case, it is also implied that these choices are especially important, hard, or have dramatic (possibly unexpected) results. Less obviously, it is likely implied that some portions of these choices are negative in some way (though this may not always be the case).


During your childhood, you become a delinquent, and end up committing a crime that lands you in prison for 10 years. This choice may "make you" into a fundamentally different person than if you had not gone to prison. Perhaps you now feel compelled to work helping criminals give up their lifestyles (because prison had such a negative effect on your life) rather than if you had not gone to prison and become, say, a wealthy banker.

Alternate Phrasing

Is there any other examples or metaphors that could be meant by that phrase?

The closest I would say would be:

"You (We) are the sum (total) of (all) our experiences"

Meaning what you experience in life shapes your personality, outlook on life and general approach to living.


I'm pretty certain that "Sometimes choices make you" is intended to sound backwards.

You can construct a context where your initial guess, that your Parent's choices causing you to be created, would be a valid interpretation, but that's not likely how this is meant.

I think that there are 2 likely scenarios here.

  1. You are defined by the choices you make. Your choices are the parts of you that people see, or at least some of them. You can take the word "make" to be a more active form of "made of" "You are made of your choices."

  2. your choices cause you to become different. Your past choices have caused you to be the person you are.


Sometimes you make choices and sometimes choices make you.

I believe that this expression should be understood within the context of one's own choices, excluding the choices of others, so your interpretation that your parents' choice to perform horizontal gene recombination made you is not to be included as part of the discussion.

This expression is rooted in the idea that choices have consequences, and that some of those consequences are large enough to change your life. Indeed, there are times when we make choices, but there are also times that our previous choices change who or what we are without our volition.

To illustrate, consider the choice of experimenting with illegal drugs.

It is up to you whether or not you choose to start using illegal drugs. However, this choice will "make you" because in the future you could end up in jail ("make you into a criminal"), in rehab ("make you into an addict"), or worse, in a shallow grave ("make you into a casualty of a gang war"). You only chose to start using drugs, but you didn't choose to become any of the latter things (at least, not at the time you started using drugs), and yet your one choice led to you, that is your life, to being changed in some major way.

Of course, not all choices have such massively life-changing effects. Your choice of what cereal to eat probably won't affect your social status (it might lead to diabetes though :D).


To me, it means that sometimes you plan out your life and sometimes situations outside your control happen that can take your life in a completely different direction. Sometimes these unforeseen situations can transform you in very meaningful, unexpected ways.


Sometimes you make choices and sometimes choices make you.

This is a nice sentence, and quite common. I understand your problem, and if explained with context and examples it would make sense. I see from your post that you have no problem with the first part of the sentence, so I'm not going to explain that part.

Let's concentrate on -

....sometimes choices make you.

You make various choices based on something - be it some evidence, some poll result, statistics, your instinct and many more.

Suppose, you and your friend Sam happened to come across a life altering opportunity. A new football coach came into your town. You decided to take coaching from him, but Sam decided to carry on with his normal daily routine. Ten years on, and your became a great footballer, but Sam became a common man. So here your choice made you a footballer.

Now does it make sense?


Personally I think it means some choices you make and are insignificant like which cheese you'll buy from the local supermarket, but other times the choices you make in the past define who you are and creates your persona in the present, like a choice to have children would define you in the future as (I hope) a responsible parent who is the guardian of their love.


Basically, if you decide to be really stupid and want to mess yourself over so much. You will eventually mess yourself over too much to the point where you are permanently screwed.....

You choose to be happy, so you are happy.

You choose to be sad, so you are sad.

You choose to be an arse to someone, you'll be know as an arse to someone.

All simples.. Whatever you choose to do it will make you. Not in a stupid tense..


Everyday we have to make choices, we may realize it and we may not. Each choice means responsibility for ourselves. We have to understand what and why we made the choice and take responsibility for our actions. Your choices make who you are in the past, present and future. The outcomes may be positive or negative but no choice is without satrifaces.


Sometimes you make choices and choices make you, is not the easiest saying to comprehend but it’s a very simple one.

Sometimes you make choices: For example you could decide to travel abroad to further your studies. YOU MADE THAT CHOICE. You intentionally chose to leave your country or home town and go somewhere else.

And choices make you: When you leave your country you get influenced by the country you decided to study in. You meet a bunch of different people and in a ton of ways (consciously or unconsciously) they influence your lifestyle. There’ll be things you might never have done or seen if you hadn’t left your home town. So in that way, this choice you think you made ends up influencing you so much that now, it seems like THE CHOICE MADE YOU.


This is looks like an adaptation of the much-quoted Nicolas Bouvier maxim

On croit qu’on va faire un voyage, mais bientôt, c’est le voyage qui vous fait, ou vous défait

You think that that you are going to make a voyage, but soon it is the voyage that makes you or breaks you.

What makes it interesting is the double meaning of make... In the first instance, you make a voyage, and in the second instance it's in the make-or-break sense, defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as

A make-or-break situation will bring great success or complete failure

The version that you quoted is weak because it doesn't refer to the possibility of breaking, and so we are left in some doubt about what exact meaning the second make should have.


It means that sometimes you don't have a choice. A car comes out of nowhere and kills your whole family and that made you the way you are. It changes everything no matter what you do.

  • Hi Michael. It's important to use correct spelling and grammar when answering a question for non-native speakers so that they can understand what you're saying. I'm going to edit your answer to fix it up a bit and try to preserve your meaning. You may want to elaborate a little bit more on how your answer relates to the sentence in the question.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 21:54

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