Message #18 - Say Thank You!
Blues singer Bessie Smith said:
Some of you men sure do make me tired.
You got a mouthful of “gimme,”
And a handful of “much obliged.”
She’s right, not only about men – but about all of us.
Say Thank You!
Is being courteous old fashioned? I don’t think so.
Is expressing appreciation to someone who has done something for you and expects nothing in return a waste of time? I don’t think so.
Is it more appropriate to say ‘thank you’ to a stranger than to thank someone you see every day? I don’t think so.
Should ‘thank you’ be saved for big favors and not used to acknowledge the small stuff? I don’t think so.
If someone helps you in some way and you think it is part of his job, should you still say ‘thank you?’ Yes, I think so.
Say Thank You, Period!
This is not about saying ‘thank you.’ It’s about a way of being. It’s about how we treat our fellow human beings with whom we have contact.
The question I’ve asked about whether it’s more appropriate to thank a stranger than someone you live with is a big one. Think about it. You have multiple occasions every day to express appreciation (or not) to your partner. It’s really easy to let it go – to not bother. You may even think it is a redundant act.
If you think you deserve it, if you think what’s she’s doing is to be expected and not worthy of a ‘thank you,’ you’re in trouble my friend. Don’t take the people who are close to you for granted. The favors they bestow, the courtesies they extend to you, the actions they take to make your life easier or more pleasant, aren’t part of their job description. They don’t have to do them.
And what about you? What if you do what you don’t have to do and aren’t thanked? Should you be upset? And if you are, should you hold back or should you continue to be helpful, courteous, whatever?
An enlightened answer is ‘Don’t stop being a caring, decent human being just because some fool has bad manners.’ A more likely response is ‘Screw you. Do it yourself next time.’ A practical alternative to both extremes is to make a request that what you’ve done be acknowledged by the receiving person. This way, if you’re angry you don’t have to suppress your anger and the other person might learn something in the process.
I find that courtesy is contagious. And so is lack of courtesy. People tend to behave like those around them. So a ‘do unto others’ approach is more likely to lead to positive behavior than an ‘I’ll get even’ response.
So I’m back to where I began. Say Thank You!