‘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.

Give compliments, because wow! you’re doing a great job!

There’s a concept that says those who give lots of compliments are just gold diggers; they don’t mean what they say, they just want to “butter you up”. However, although we might  distrust those kinds of people in theory, in more practice, studies suggest that giving compliments actually does improve how other people see you. By giving genuine words of admiration, you show that you care about them. If you say you like someone’s hat, for example, you aren’t just saying you like the hat. You are saying you noticed that they took the time to wear it, and in short, you noticed them.

Humans have a need to belong. Without companions, people die earlier, are more likely to commit suicide, and are more likely to resort to crime. So many of the stories we surround ourselves with, from TV shows or movies or books, deal with relationships to some degree because it is such a potent part of our lives. Also in those same stories is usually a protagonist, picked for some special reason. This protagonist is set apart somehow, overcomes obstacles,  and although they may have difficulties with those they love, have some semblance of a family at the end of the day. We like this trope because we want to see ourselves in that way; we want to believe that despite our faults, we are special and loved.

Even if you don’t mean it, compliments implicitly give that sense of belonging and uniqueness. Putting in effort to notice a person helps the person giving the compliment and the one receiving it. It puts both giver and receiver in a good mood as well, which improves creativity and makes us more generous. Essentially, there’s no good reason to not give compliments. It’s a small thing that can impact you and those around you for the better. So take this chance! You’re going to do a great job!