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“You do realize that no one is ‘obligated’ to do anything for you, right?”

This is a line I find myself repeating often to my high school students whenever I notice a sense of entitlement oozing from their pores.  The point that I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger, a co-worker, your best friend or even a family member, it’s important to remember that people do things for others not because they have to but, because they want to. That opening line isn’t just for teenagers. It’s also for adults of all ages who need a friendly reminder from time to time of what it means to show gratitude.

Showing your appreciation even in the slightest way is usually painless and oftentimes takes little effort. If you have no clue as to how this act of kindness works, here are four suggestions you can try the next time someone does something nice for you.

  1. Nothing shows gratitude better than a good old fashioned thank you note written by hand, not sent via text or email, but by h-a-n-d. No need to be extravagant either. A card or some nice stationary will work just fine. Not only will the receiver feel appreciated, but they will also be happy to get something in the mail other than a bill.
  2. The next time someone lets you in front of them in the grocery store line or allows you to cut in in the midst of a traffic jam, show your appreciation by actually using your mouth to say the words “Thank You.” If that’s too much effort a quick wave of the hand or a simple head nod will do the trick too.
  3. Have you ever received service from an employee at a business who you felt went above and beyond the call of duty? Let it be known that this person did a great job. You could show your gratitude and make that person’s day at the same time by leaving a nice tip (when appropriate), or by getting in touch with management to inform them that they have a good employee working on their team.
  4. Using the telephone to make actual voice-to-voice contact with someone is also a great way to say thank you. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but the act is one that many would rather opt out of if given a choice. If this form of gratitude isn’t your thing you can never go wrong by resorting to suggestion No. 1.

Until next time…


Before you go “leave a comment” that explains how you usually choose to show your gratitude toward others.