The Art of Saying Thank You

puppy dog holds Thank You note You mother probably taught you to say please and thank you. She probably taught you to write a nice thank you note for birthday and Christmas gifts. Have you written thank yous for your gifts?

Unfortunately, research says many people do not write thank you notes. In the rush and scurry to get things done, to read many tweets, or simply running from work to home to school, to children's activities, it's easy to feel too pressed for time to write a thank you note. It seems much easier to just say thank you when the gift is opened, the service received, or to dash off a quick text message, tweet or e-mail.

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" ~ William Arthur Ward

Texting, Tweeting, and E-mail have connected people in amazing ways. But does it do justice to the intent of expressing gratitude or has saying thank you become just an expression that you say? Messages like "TY for RT" may represent real gratitude by the sender, but does the person on the receiving end really feel your gratitude? Granted, we can't send heartfelt thank you notes to everyone we interact with on the internet, but we can improve how we say thank you.


The Power of Two Small Words

Thank you in red

Have you ever thought about the power of those two simple words? When it is sincere, the very act of saying thank you impacts at least two people. It’s a form of respect. It creates a bond between two people. A warm, personal expression of gratitude of an act of kindness or to someone you do business with can create a lasting, positive impression. When the appreciation is unexpected, it can lift spirits, be shared as a heartwarming story, and be remembered a long, long time.

How to do it Wrong

I know you've received thank you's spoke, written, or electronic where you felt the insincerity. I'm of the generation whose parents made you write a thank you note for every single gift you received within a week of having received said gift. The notes became rote and forced. It was hard to say thank you to an aunt you've never seen for a pair of ugly hand-knit socks. Worse, it was insincere.

If you are spending more time on recruiting comments on your blog, re-tweets, or business connections than you are in saying a thoughtful thank you to those who support your efforts, you need to rethink how you thank those who support you, assist you, and love you.

If you dash off a TY that isn't personal, you could improve your methods.

How to Say Thank You

Look for opportunities to thank others. Be aware of what others are doing for you – the waitress, the postman, the nurse who cares for Aunt Susie. Find things that you genuinely appreciate about that person. Perhaps it’s that a friend or an employee is always punctual, perhaps it's the words someone used tweeting about your blog, or it is the service that you got from a salesclerk.

Use the person's name and not just in the Dear Uncle George line.

Be specific. Don't say, 'thanks for the candy.' Say something like 'how did you know that chocolate-covered cherries were my favorite?' or 'I love listening to you telling stories about your youth, like the time you told me about . . .'

Be timely. Send thank yous within a month if it's a big occasion such as a wedding or at Christmas. For other events days to a week or two would be best.

Give gratitude more than expected: commend people, refer people, send a note, give a gift. Comment on that blog you enjoyed instead of skipping on past to the next one. Tweet or direct message someone.

Keep it short. If you effuse too much, the receiver of your thanks may take that as you don't really mean it, or get annoyed, 'enough already!'

And don't think I'm saying don't say thank you in person. This is a must. Mean it when you say it – if the gift doesn’t inspire gratitude in you, look at the giver's actions, the intent or the effort expended FOR YOU. Above all, be honest. If after looking for the meaning, you still don't feel grateful, don't say it. And when you do say it, make eye contact and SMILE

Finally, Thank You!

I started this blog two months ago. And in that two months I've found a tremendous amount of satisfaction because of your support, your comments. I try to practice what I preach and respond to every comment specifically in reaction to your comment, in deepest appreciation. You’ve given me a gift of your time. It’s the only gift you cannot replace in kind. So, let me say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to each and every one who reads Of Martians and Marshmallows. May you have a New Year of Joy, Peace, and Success!

Yellow heart inscribed with Thank You

all graphics courtesy of mycutegraphics.com

8 thoughts on “The Art of Saying Thank You

  1. Lynette, I know that every time I receive a personal thank you — especially on twitter — I’m touched that the person took the time to do so. I usually do my thanks in bulk, but because of the personal ones I’ve received, I’m now attempting to send them out individually. Well worth the effort. 🙂

    As to the old fashioned thank you notes … gosh, sometimes newly married couples don’t even send them out anymore.

    Great post. Thanks!

    1. You’re right, Sheila, on both counts. A personal thank you always feels great. And in my research for this blog, Newlyweds are among the ‘worst’ offenders as far as not sending thank you notes, or even acknowledgments. I’m so glad you stopped by!

  2. Fantastic post. I’m such a fan of thank you notes, and they’ve definitely seemed sparse the past few years. My favorites are those sent “just because” (i.e., no specific gift or occasion at play). I’ve heard you’re supposed to send them within 2 days. Your 30 day tip seems more practical. 😉

    1. Thank you, August. Yes, unfortunately in today’s world 2 days is often unrealistic. Between my busy holidays and getting sick, mine have been delayed, but I’ll get them out this weekend no matter what!

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