Cheap Thanks (But No Thanks)
Photo by Tatiana Rodriguez on Unsplash
Thanks for everything...
I recently received a "Thanks for everything!"
Let me pause before I get going and say, I'm not the "Thank You Police"
(Side story that I think you'll enjoy: One time in class, someone passed gas, which happens from time to time in life, and maybe a little more often in an elementary classroom. So someone passed gas, and my man Jeremy (name changed) said, "Ahhhhh, who FARTED..." I tried the old, "Alright, that's enough." But he wouldn't play along. "Someone over here just FARTED, DANG!"
So we went out in the hall, and I tried to patiently explain that it wasn't polite for him to just yell out about someone farting in the middle of the lesson, and he was still having a really hard time with it. "Man, that's NASTY, people be FARTIN' all up in here while I'm tryin' to breath!"
My patience was gone and I said, "Jeremy, you aren't the FART Police! Come on back in and sit down." Right at the time of my beautiful line, a colleague walked by, and she hasn't let me live that one down. And I don't blame her.)
But okay, I'm not the "Thank You Police" and I don't mean to say that I should be criticizing anyone's effort to say thank you. So what I'm about to write is more about encouraging my efforts and yours, rather than disparaging someone else's.
I got the, "Thanks for everything" and it felt really cheap. There is very little effort in a "Thanks for everything." I've used it before, I know, but moving forward, I'm trying to stop. It's too easy, and it doesn't really do anything for the other person. If there are true thanks to be had, then I think we should take the extra 10 seconds and actually tell them what we are thankful for.
"Thank you for all of your hard work on the project. It turned out great, and I know people really appreciated the effort you put in."
"Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness with this gift. I appreciate you taking the time to think of me."
"Thank you for taking such good care of me during this tough time. When you take time out of your schedule to check on me it really makes me feel loved and cared for, and I really need that right now."
"Thank you for keeping the kids for us so we can spend some time together. We don't get to do that very often, so I really appreciate you helping us out."
On our end, the thank you is an expression of gratitude, which is important, and worth our time. It allows us to express, fully, what exactly it is we are thankful for. It means more to both parties when we say it out loud, with conviction and detail. Taking the relatively small amount of time to look someone in the eye (don't walk out the door while you leave a thank you in your wake) and be specific is important.
On the receiver's end, adding the "extra" to our thank you makes them feel like it's actually genuine and appreciated. Anyone can get a "Thanks for everything", but when we personalize it and let them know exactly how they've helped or how/why we appreciate them, it makes them feel special, appreciated, and valued.
Don't give away a cheap thanks. It feels almost like no thanks at all.
Take the time to give a thanks for something, but not for everything.
I'm pulling for you,