I remember as a child hearing this phrase over and over again from my mum and thinking that she was making a fuss over nothing – especially since in those days we had to actually write thank you letters for birthday and Christmas presents, even if you didn’t particularly appreciate the gift – what a pain!
And now I’m so glad that she hammered home that particular habit! It is such a simple thing to do, yet it is a powerful way to positively influence an interaction or relationship, to show appreciation rather than take something for granted, and to make a real exchange.
Of course we all say thank you when someone has gone out of their way to help us or to give us something special. We’re not ignorant and we appreciate the special effort. It’s all the ordinary everyday interactions that we can take for granted, the times when people are just doing what they do.
Mum made the dinner, the checkout operator put our groceries through the till, our colleague did their part of the job, the kids got up for school without being nagged – did you notice? We all know that when we’re the one who just gets on and does what they do, we can end up feeling unappreciated, but it doesn’t always translate into remembering to appreciate what others do. And we all know how good it feels when someone does notice those little things that are often taken for granted.
I catch the bus into the town centre, and I love the fact that most people say thank you to the driver when they get off the bus –one person can set the trend and show some appreciation for a safe journey, and someone else navigating the traffic for us. And most drivers respond with a smile – it makes their job feel more worthwhile.
So who do you need to thank a bit more? Who do you take for granted? Be a trendsetter and say thank you – it makes such a difference!