Sometimes, saying thank you can feel rote, habitual, and therefore maybe even a little pointless. If you thank people the way we were taught as children, you’re doing it all day long — for holding the door, handing you the stapler, or for answering a quick question. Thank you, thank you, and thanks so much … the gestures of gratitude can really start feel redundant when you work very closely with people. The opportunities to thank are abundant, and you might feel a little silly when you realize that you have exchanged 30-plus thank-yous before lunch. So, if its meaning is reduced by over-use, should we abandon the thank you? Absolutely not — and here’s why.
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1. It’s kind.
And, it’s good to be kind. Saying thank you isn’t a big deal, especially in a sort of quick and off-handed way, but it’s nice. You’re adding to the general atmosphere here, (of your workplace and your specific work relationships), and moving things in a positive direction.
2. It’s so easy.
Why not say thank you?! If it’s a habit, and no big deal, then what’s the cost? It’s not going to hurt anything, only help. So, go for it.
3. It’s respectful.
Even if your partner or team member knows you value him, and you send as much assistance his way as he does yours, saying thank you is still the respectful and right thing to do. Professional relationships need to be nurtured, just like any relationship. And, nothing is more important to maintaining a healthy relationship than respect.
4. People notice when you don’t.
You know that person who never says thank you even when it’s really obvious that they should? Yeah, you kind of think he’s a jerk, don’t you? You wouldn’t want to be that guy. Sometimes, it makes sense to say thank you if for no other reason than it would be rude not to.
5. It lifts relationships up in surprising ways.
Since saying thank you is kind, respectful, and obviously appreciative; and, it does something to a relationship when both people use it a lot. It lends a certain level of warmth to the connection that feels reliable, safe, and consistent. It makes you smile. It helps you feel present. It makes you feel like you’re in this together somehow. The kicker? When people don’t say thank you, the exact opposite is true.
Laura Trice, a counselor and life coach explains the power of giving and receiving praise in her recent TED Talk. She points out the importance of being genuine and specific when expressing our gratitude, and she also suggests that asking others for the thank yous that we need is important.
Being appreciative builds strong relationships, confidence, and kindness. So, say it all day long, until you’re sick of it and afraid it’s lost all its meaning and power. I assure you, it never will.
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