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“Thank you” is a powerful statement. It smooths interaction with people around you, and also helps you overcome some of those moments in which you either don’t know what to say, or feel tempted to engage in a loose, meaningless speech.
It’s a straightforward way to express gratitude without gushing or putting anyone in the spotlight. And saying thank you never goes out of fashion.
Here are five life situations when “thank you” is the best answer you can give.
When Someone Provides Feedback
Whether it’s bad or good feedback, try to start with these two magic words. Something like “Thank you for your comments/suggestions” can smooth communication further and even reduce the tension in a tough conversation.
Say thank you even if you disagree with what you’ve been told. It’s a way to let the other person know you’re aware of the time and effort they’ve put in providing that feedback. This approach will make it easier for both parties to collaborate in the future.
When We Receive Gifts
I was always intrigued as a child when my mother received gifts and, instead of saying thank you, she would start the conversation with, “You didn’t have to.” As I would learn later, she was convinced that simply expressing gratitude wasn’t polite enough. She was wrong.
Gift-receiving etiquette is pretty straightforward. When you receive a gift, you should share your gratitude for it. Writing a thank-you card is also considered polite and, when you do, make it personal by naming the gift and telling the sender how you’ll use it.
When Someone Pays Us a Compliment
As many as 70 percent of us feel uncomfortable when we receive a compliment. It’s a natural psychological response and, in some cases, a learned behavior. The good news is, we can learn to cope with receiving compliments and stop giving awkward answers in return.
A simple thank you is the easiest way out even when we feel embarrassed — say the words and move on. It’s easier said than done, but it’s something that can be accomplished in time. I still find myself rambling when I receive a compliment, but when I remember to say thank you, the feeling of anxiety goes away.
When We’re Late
Everyone expects you to be sorry for being late, so instead of starting with an excuse, move the attention from you to the person who has been waiting.
“Thank you for your patience” or “Thank you for giving me more time to finish the assignment” sounds better than “I’m sorry.” It’s an effective way to turn a negative situation into an opportunity to acknowledge the support you get and express gratitude for it.
When Someone Provides a Service
Even if you’re already paying for it, adding “thank you” will make the whole experience better for the provider and also for you. Being kind is never too much out there, whether you go to the grocery store, order pizza, or talk to someone from customer support.
At my kid’s kindergarten, they call them the magic words: “Please” and “Thank you.” Teachers encourage the kids to use them all the time, and I’m sure I received the same lesson when I was 4. Unfortunately, we tend to forget about this as we grow up, with significant consequences on our well-being.
Expressing gratitude makes us experience positive emotions, can improve our health, and helps us build stronger relationships. So, remember to practice it every day.