How to say thanks – some tips

IMG_2087.JPGI’ve been thinking about gratitude, about expressing thanks. I want to make some suggestions.

  • Thank the person for what they’ve done without talking about how inadequate you are. So avoid, “Thank you for noticing such an incompetent person like me.”
  • Identify specific actions or sacrifices. “I know that you like to work behind the scenes, but I understand that you often don’t get noticed. Thanks for your work yesterday on that project.”
  • If you are talking to a person who is likely to say, “don’t thank me, thank God,” explain that you know that God may have given them skills, but they noticed an opportunity and used the skill to meet it.
  • If you are talking to a person who is likely to say, “this isn’t important compared to what other people do,” explain how their action is connected to other actions and to needs. In fact, you can say, “$25 to Preemptive Love Coalition helps feed kids in danger near Mosul. And that’s a bit deal to those kids. And most people aren’t doing that.”
  • Adjectives and superlatives are often unnecessary and can feel gushy or untrue: “That was the best ever,” is usually not true and can invite an argument in the head of the person being thanked.
  • Not seeing opportunities to thank others can come from being too busy being paranoid about doing things right yourself. Or it can come from a false sense of self-sufficiency. Or it can come from just not paying attention.
  • Saying “thank you” may result in ongoing interaction, but if that’s your motive, it’s selling, not gratitude.
  • Thanking God for hugs is acceptable. Or for acceptance.
  • Saying “thank you” is a habit which can be cultivated, and which then has impact for the rest of your life and for the lives of others.
  • Thanks for reading.
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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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