Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thank You Cannot be Substituted

My parents were southern and maybe I am obsessive about this, but I was raised to say "Please" and "Thank You". In fact my father always felt I was rude because I did not say "Sir and Ma'am", but by that time we were in the north where that was far less common.

I have learned though that "Thank You" are two of the most important and sweetest words in language. Not only that, but other substitutions just don't carry the same weight even if said with the truest intentions.

Now this is not an etiquette piece. As opposed to my dear friend Maureen who is the etiquette expert, I am not good at beautiful hand written thank you notes. From me you are more likely to be told in person, over the phone and even email. But I have learned to always say it (even if it is very, very late) and to use those specific two words.

A few examples:

I realized about 15 years ago that some of the most important people in my life, the ones that I said I loved the most, I was frequently the rudest to. I guess it is that "taking for granted" thing. I thought "If these are the people who mean the most to me, why am I treating them the worst when it comes to common courtesy?". I immediately did a mind shift, and then took action, which made a huge difference in my life to this day. Those immediately around me hear Please and Thank You from me on a regular basis now. When was the last time you thanked someone in your house for cleaning. emptying the garbage or dishwasher, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry...even if that is "their job" would it hurt to acknowledge it? Positive reinforcement goes a long way to make it happen again.

But a lot of the time we beat around the bush and feel we have covered it. The other day I was listening to a conversation where two people ( I will call them John and Steve). John had done a favor for Steve by installing a new light. In conversation Steve says " The new light is really nice", They proceeded to go on in the conversation. At no time did Steve actually say "Thank you". I really do not believe it carries the same weight.

Or how many of you do not get thanked (actually told Thank You) this time of year for attending and giving gifts for all the graduations, confirmations, recitals etc.? Yes I have chosen to be there and am glad to be there, even when it means spending multiple days and money to go out of town. On the other hand I would like to be told Thank You. It doesn't need to be big and dramatic, I do not need a handwritten note--heck I will even be happy with a cell phone call or text message.

How many of you are thanked for the work you do? How many of your clients, customers, patients, supervisors have said Thank You? When was the last time you thanked someone for the job they are doing? I do not buy into that there is no need "because they are being paid for it". It is frequently the difference between someone going that extra bit for you when you need it most.

Yep you guessed it--this is a hot topic for me. Just think about it and keep your ears open and look for opportunities that you may be missing to create a better life for yourself and those around you. It's free,

Thank you for reading my tirade. I feel better.