‘thank you’s are a little awkward, so this is how you do it

There is no shame is needing someone. Turning down offers may seem polite in certain circumstances, but if they offer food and you want food, who benefits from that situation? Giving makes us feel better, and encourages us to be even better people. Accepting a gift or a favor from someone makes them feel like they are generous, kind people, and you get a gift or favor in return! But the awkward part, the part that gives us the most grief, is what to do afterward.

Gratitude is strange. It makes us tense, because we have these emotions, and yet we might not always know how to express them. ‘Thank you” on it’s own may seem too short. In order to remedy the situation, here’s a quick crash course on how to say thank you:

1. Start out with thank you, and/or some sort of exclamation like, “WOw!” or “Oh wonderful!” This first part initiates your response and if it seems like their gift has made an emotional impact on making your life better, the first reception of the gift should be exciting.

2. Explain why you love the gift. If you don’t really know what it is, ask in an interested way about some details of it. Even if you know what it is, pointing out some immediate details that catch your eye that you like. Some situations are more difficult than others, but do your best and practice will makes things easier over time. Noticing the details makes people feel like you are going to use every bit of it.

3. If you can, directly say how this will improve your life. Lay out a difficulty you have that this problem will solve. Again, people want to know that what they are giving you matters to you.

4. End with another thank you. It’s hard to get angry at somehow for being overly thankful, because generally we tend to not be thankful enough.

If you can, the best way to show gratitude, is to do something kind back, especially further on down the road. Remembering and helping them when they need it means something. Hopefully receiving gifts should make us more gracious to other people, and a consistent show of love helps all of our relationships.

A vague reminder

If you’ve ever read a book that has too many details, you know it’s overwhelming. If you need an index to keep all the characters straight, maybe there are too many characters. Knowing the setup and tiny features of every single room doesn’t really matter unless it’s important to the plot. Sometimes we focus on all the insignificant details of our own life, and lose sight of the big picture. 

Don’t get me wrong, details matter. Paying attention to our small actions can reveal some important things about our beliefs. However, those details shouldn’t be like walking through a swamp. We need to get an accurate picture, not a cluttered one.

So make a list of what you need to get done, but remember why you want to get it done. Write clearly and legibly so you can read it later, but know it’s okay if it’s not the professional caligraphy you want. It’s hard to find a balance between caring about the little moments and getting lost in them, but it is important. It’s different for every person, but try to zoom out or zoom in as you need, focusing on what matters.