The Art of Thank You

6 years ago

Jennifer: It's one of the first verbal signs of appreciation we are taught to say as children. Maybe even before we learn to say "I love you," we are taught to say "thank you." When an infant is handed a toy or a gift we encourage them to the word, "thank you." Why is the act of giving thanks so important? The sign of thanks that we all look for even from people we don't even know and will likely never see again. We want to be shown even the most basic signs of appreciation. How many of you after allowing someone to pull ahead of you in traffic wait for that all important hand thrown up as a sign of thanks? Or when you hold the door open for the person behind you while leaving the mall you expect to hear the words, "thank you"? Even these small instances with strangers, we hold such strong expectations for feelings of gratitude that when we don't receive it that it alters our mood for the moment or longer. We start to question society, state of etiquette today, we personalize the incident and wonder why this person would chose not to say those two little words. But what about the people in our everyday lives?

If we expect such consideration for such small things from someone we never will see again, what does that mean we are offering to the people who we hold dear in our everyday lives. Think about the last time, you thanked your husband, for doing the everyday things that you expect from him...filling up the gas on the car, picking up dinner or picking up after himself. Or the last time, the husband thanked the wife for the roles she plays in their lives, cooking dinner, making their home comfortable, etc. Showing appreciation to your friends, is also important, the things we take for granted, thanking the friend who is always available, who gives that comfort when we need it, or the one who is quick to tell us about the sale that is going on at the mall. The act of  genuinely thanking someone even for the smallest, seemingly unnoticed deed, spreads and validates the person--fulfilling them more than they realized they needed. Yesterday, when taking my niece back home to Richmond, she said unprompted, "Aunt Jennifer, you don't have to get me any gifts for my birthday or Christmas for the next two years." When I asked her why, she said,"For everything you've done for me this weekend." An unprompted, show of gratitude that reaffirmed everything, I thought I already knew...that I was appreciated.

 

Holly: Thank you, Gracias, Danke, Merci' and Shokran for my peeps.  How many more ways can one show their gratitude other than words?  Yeah, maybe it the relief you feel when someone does the flippant (no middle finger allowed) hand wave when they cut you off in traffic, or even simply saying the words "I appreciate you."

In typically form, I pick up (ok steal) a lot of saying from people that I think are appropriate, and I remember meeting a woman 10 years ago who made sure to verbally express her feelings not by just a thank you, but by literally saying "I appreciate you"...I think that's pretty cool; there's little room for confusion on where you stand, right?  I like to reserve those words for really special occasions, with a "preciate it" more frequently to be heard from me.  As I understand the basic politeness of saying "thanks" and the need to hear it on occasion that your good deed hasn't gone unnoticed, I find that it can also get aggravating with folks that need the constant need of feeling appreciated.  Have you ever had that friend that sends you a formal thank you note for everything, including remembering to call her on her birthday, just to be disappointed that you didn't return a thank you note her christmas card? No, OK, maybe I just keep an odd bunch around me...

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