Saying Thank You

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            Saying “thank you” is a very simple task.  Maybe that’s why it seems to be so difficult for many people to write it. 

            Yes, you may even agree.  Expressing gratitude verbally seems to be easier than writing or texting it.  As soon as a deed is done, such as a package is delivered, a quick “thanks” is shouted out.  If it’s a task, often “well done” is said instead or “good job.”   During the current pandemic  singer/songwriter Alicia Kays and others have expressed their thanks in song. “Good Job, ”  she composed and sang. 

            Signs stating “thank you” have gone up outside hospitals and fire stations all over America.  Just simple signs.  Ones that can quickly be written.  It seems like the politically correct thing to do.   The signs last for a  few hours, days, weeks into months.   

            Frequently clapping is another way to express appreciation. Applause after a concert or symphony is how an audience will express its appreciation and bring a conductor or musician back on stage.  Applauding  a recovered patient as he leaves the hospital has become a  custom of many health institutions today.  It’s easy to do.  

            Once upon a time years ago, companies got in the habit of giving out “Atta boys” as corporate signs of appreciation.  Companies had Quality programs and the thank you rewards there were gift cards or plastic signs or paperweights for your desk that signified gratitude.

            Expressing thanks, however, becomes more complicated when it is written or texted. It may also be more difficult to compose.  Research published in Psychological Science and co-authored  by Amit Kumar, assistant professor at University of Texas,   says “anxiety about what to say or fear of their gesture being misinterpreted causes many people to shy away from expressing genuine gratitude “  (in writing).   

            Once a week TV entertainer Jimmy Fallon brings thank you cards to his desk and with music to match writes “thank you for” …… He has made it an regular part of his show.   It doesn’t seem difficult the way he does it. 

            Right now high school seniors, college students, job hunters who are being interviewed  are faced with writing an expression of gratitude back  for someone’s recommendation.  

            Here again a simple “thank you” may be all that is necessary.  What is significant about Kumar’s research and its result is that such notes and letters of gratitude should be written and sent more often.

            “When we saw that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones  and sincere  ones, and  it comes at little cost,” they recognized that the  benefits  were  larger than people expected.

            Unfortunately we may be saying it so much that it becomes easy to slide across our lips, and it may have become even meaningless.  

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