What does it mean to be thanked? How can thanking someone help us, and help others feel better about their actions?
The idea to write a blog post about Thank You’s came up as I recently met a man named Scott Truitt, Founder of the Gratitude Campaign. His sole purpose in creating this organization is to show civilians how to thank military service members without approaching them directly, as it is sometimes awkward to approach a stranger. It has nothing to do with politics, but merely serves as a way to express gratitude— to let service members know that their service, time away from home and deeds don’t go unnoticed. The thank you sign that they are using is shown in this short video.
It got me thinking about what is the value of simply saying “Thank You” and what effect that thank you (that we all take for granted) means to another person. Studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and discussed on PSYBLOG say:
“Studies have suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives. But we also say thank you because we want the other person to know we value what they’ve done for us and, maybe, encourage them to help us again in the future.”
Being Thanked Provides Social Worth
Sometimes people are leery to help others, but a thank you lets them know that their efforts are appreciated.
“This feeling of social worth helps people get over factors that stop us from helping. We are often unsure our help is really wanted and we know that accepting help from others can feel like a failure. The act of saying thank you reassures the helper that their help is valued and motivates them to provide more.”
People Who Are Thanked Are More Willing to Help
“Those who were thanked were more willing to provide assistance. [In a study where people were thanked after a task], the effect of a ‘thank you’ was quite substantial—while only 32% of participants receiving an email thank you helped with the second task, when gratitude was personally expressed face-to-face, this number went up to 66%.”
It is human nature to be appreciated for our acts no matter what age we are or what income level we have attained—no matter if it’s at home, at work or to a stranger in public. Thanking someone is more than a social nicety. Some people don’t thank others for what they feel is expected behavior, but there is psychology behind it that can make you feel better and make the person you thank feel better, so why not say Thank You more often? After all, it’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference.
Thank you for reading to the end of this blog post!
– Allison Mewes