“Thank You” is more than just 2 spoken words!

Two students looking at smartphone; one compliments the other who thanks him
Photo: © Stephen Coburn / 123RF Stock Photo

“Thank you” isn’t just a protocol-driven verbal response to something someone says or does for you. It’s an emotion-laden gesture that recognizes somebody’s effort or thought or intent or action that is directed for your benefit. When you thank someone, you acknowledge the person as a whole respectable and admirable entity. According to the theory of transactional analysis, reaching out to somebody through a verbal or physical medium is known as a ‘stroke’. As community-oriented human beings it is our critical responsibility to stroke each other. Thank you is one such positive verbal stroke.

Facts about saying “thank you”

  • It’s short.
  • It’s simple.
  • Doesn’t cost much.
  • Shows that you care.
  • Reveals interpersonal respect.
  • Makes the other person feel good.

And yet we don’t say it! Why?

  • We’re vain.
  • We’re inattentive.
  • We’re uncomfortable.
  • We have social anxiety.
  • We take people for granted.
  • We’re cynical and unhappy people.

‘Thank you’ does appear to have become one of the most underappreciated and under-used phrases in the English language. Here are some situations that might resonate with our everyday lives. And as much as we usually tend to overlook these, we need to work on practising gratitude. Not just feeling it, but also saying it aloud.

When someone says, “Oh, you look lovely!”

Recall how often you might have heard this and how seldom you valued it by replying, “Thank you for saying that, you made my day. You look great, too!” We usually deflect the praise by saying, “Oh, I’m surprised you said that; I’ve actually gained so much weight” or “I’ve got such bad skin I used to look much better earlier; you should’ve seen me then!” When we fail to acknowledge the positive stroke these people are sending our way, we not only disregard their polite emotion-laden gesture, but we also disrespect their opinion; as if they have no prudence over what they are saying about us. By acknowledging someone’s praise with gratitude, we feel empowered, happy and fulfilled, and we spread this sense of accomplishment to the other person as well. Who doesn’t like compliments? Accept them gracefully and don’t ruin the experience for both the giver and you.

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Dr Shefali Batra
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Dr Shefali Batra

Dr Shefali Batra is a Senior Psychiatrist and CBT Expert, and is the Founder of Mindframes. She posts and conducts regular ‘lives’ on Instagram @drshefalibatra.