|There is more than one way to say, "thank you"|
thank you: "An expression of gratitude"
A simple thank-you goes a long way! How far, and why bother these days, right? Is thanking someone an outmoded behavior? Is there no longer an expectation that we should show our appreciation? Why is it important to say, "Thanks"?
Adam M. Grant (associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School) and Francesca Gino (associate professor at Harvard Business School), looked at thanking behavior and wondered what it does for the person who is being thanked. How are people affected by gratitude?
In a series of studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (June 2010), they found that thanking people makes them want to help again in the future, while a neutral response made them a whole lot less likely to want to extend themselves again. The people who received expressions of gratitude were also more likely to go out and do something nice for a complete stranger. In each study, those who received thanks reported an increased sense of self worth. Bottom line, expressions of gratitude increased prosocial behavior by enabling people to feel socially valued.
That's saying a lot. In the face of the daily onslaught of influences that discourage the desire to interact in a positive way (e.g. traffic, morning news, spam, grocery shopping, constant interruptions, solicitors, users, aggressive sales reps, flakey coworkers, family drama, etc.), a simple thank you—either verbal or written—could make a big difference.
The only time that you shouldn't thank someone is if you are being either passive-aggressive or sarcastic. Otherwise, get a little pack of thank you cards, some stamps, and a fine-tipped black pen. Or, sit down at the keyboard and take ten minutes to thank someone for their contribution, their work, their kindness, their thoughtfulness, a Christmas/birthday/wedding gift, or whatever it is. Or, pick up the phone and make the call. Just don't forget, and do not put it off. A thank-you is a powerful thing.
National Day of Unplugging 2011
How many of you unplugged for this year's National Day of Unplugging (from sundown on March 4 to sundown on March 5)? I did about 95 percent of the time, albeit unintentionally. I don't blog on Fridays, and I spent most of the weekend working on the house and the yard. I'm pretty sure that I checked my email at the end of the day on Friday and then dove into my sweats for a night of Star Trek Voyager episodes on Saturday night. I was mostly unplugged, except for checking my email.
On the topic of self-worth, I wonder if the results of the Grant-Gino study have anything to do with the soaring popularity of facebook. Do people race like a pack of lemmings into facebook every day because it increases their sense of self worth? Expressions of gratitude are commonplace, immediate, and plentiful on facebook.
Expressions of gratitude increase prosocial behavior by enabling people to feel socially valued.
Could it be that a nerdy guy bogged down by the usual collegiate sophomore angst was so lacking in self-worth that he built an alternative social network to take the place of the one that eluded him in real life? 22,000 hits during the first two hours of facebook translated into 22,000 very potent and highly motivating thank-you's.
Go ahead, be daring—unplug a little more often, and then thank yourself. ❤