How to Say Thank You

This week’s challenge is to say thank you every single day. Because different people in our lives are bound to speak a variety of “love languages”, it’s a good idea to practice how to say thank you (as well as I love you and I’m sorry) in a variety of ways.

I’ve written before about the 5 love languages people use to communicate with each other. A “love language” is the type of communication a person tends to understand most easily, and may include:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

Our love language is the communication that we get, and it tends to be the one we use most often when we’re trying to send a message to someone else. Of course, if that person is more fluent in a different language, our true intent might get lost in translation.

Saying Thank You with Words of Affirmation

This is my native tongue. The more words you use, the more connected I feel. The best way to make someone like me feel appreciated is to open your mouth and say, “thank you.” You can also:

  • Write a letter or email
  • Send a text
  • Post to my Facebook wall

It doesn’t matter where you say it, but what you say will have a big impact. Say thank you and tell me why you’re thanking me – and you’ll make my day.

Saying Thank You with Quality Time

This is how my mom communicates. The best way to thank someone like her is to spend an afternoon hanging out on her deck with her. Other ways to show gratitude she’ll get include:

  • Making a phone call
  • Sharing a meal
  • Going for a drive or walk together

My mom is a cheap date, but letting her know she matters requires a little investment of time.

Saying Thank You with Gifts

I suspect my friend Megan speaks this language well, because she often sends little gifts to let me know I’m loved. Of course the most obvious way to show my gratitude is to return the favor, but that doesn’t mean saying thank you has to cost a fortune. Some inexpensive thank you gifts this week could be:

  • An ebook you know they’d enjoy
  • A song or movie rental on iTunes for a title that makes you think of them
  • A fridge magnet made from a picture of the two of you

It’s not the dollar amount that speaks the loudest, but the thought and effort.

Saying Thank You with Acts of Service

This is the language my mother-in-law speaks most easily. She does because she loves. What does she do? She cooks, she cleans, she babysits, and she picks up clothes in your size at garage sales. Saying thank you to someone who doesn’t say much can be tricky. You might try:

  • Cooking dinner
  • Doing a household chore
  • Offering up your work for free (logo design, photo editing, whatever it is you do and normally charge for)

They key for these non-verbal thank yous is to mix the act with a few words that make it clear that you are, in fact, grateful – especially if you’re unsaying thank you for something in particular.

Saying Thank You with Physical Touch

This is Jared’s language. The easiest way to turn his frown upside is to touch him – or let him touch me. Ahem. A few  family-friendly ways to thank someone like my husband might include:

  • A hug
  • A squeeze of the hand
  • A good handshake

A handshake might sound lame if you’re not a touchy person, but watch one exchanged between two men who have a lot of respect for one another and you’ll understand that it can mean more than, “hello, my name is…”

What’s your favorite way to say thank you? How are you planning to say thank you this week?

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  1. Megan says:

    I think I am between gifts and acts of service. Or maybe I substitute gifts when I’m too far for acts of service?

    Anyway, thank you for being my friend. And for being you. xo
    Megan’s most recent post: Stay In Touch

    • Miss Britt says:

      I honestly think Acts of Service and Gifts are pretty much the same thing. It’s the idea of someone thinking of you when you aren’t around and taking action to show that. I’m actually big on that one, too.

      Talk to me and do stuff for me, but don’t touch me or demand a lot of my time. Jared and I are exact opposites. lol

  2. daniel says:

    In teaching my kids to say “thank you” I’ve gotten in the habit of doing so more often. It’s good to remember even saying “thank you” to the person refilling your water glass at a restaurant is a good thing to do.
    daniel’s most recent post: Reminiscence Of Travel

  3. Carly says:

    I love how you gave examples of all 5 languages among the people you love and how they prefer to accept gratitude. Mine is receiving gifts, although what I really like is to GIVE them. And you are so right, it has nothing to do with the cost and everything to do with the thought behind it. Nothing touches me more than receiving a gift that shows me the person understands me or something about me. I have trouble believing words of affirmation, frequently miss the message in acts of service (I think this may be James’s language,) appreciate my alone time, and I don’t like to be poked and prodded, although the occasional well-timed hug is welcome. Thank you for all of the tips and ideas!
    Carly’s most recent post: Mystery Birthday Gift

  4. Thank you for writing a wonderful blog with great reminders of living life with intention
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Server Crash, platonic friendships and synchronicity

  5. I say thank you all the time for everything. I also say excuse me if I cut by someone in the grocery store and I have to pass them where they are looking at something on the shelf. I hug, I send notes, email and call. You know one time we had some legal stuff for our business, it was a big deal for us and when it was all done I sent a thank you note to the lawyer because he saved our life. Several months later he came to our office for a Christmas party and gave me the biggest hug and produced the weathered thank you note from his coat pocket. He told me that he had never, ever received a thank you note for what he does. It made him our special friend for life. Simple things.
    Jill of All Trades’s most recent post: My Opinion

  6. fuck that, i want them all! LOVE ME!

    ok fine, if i have to pick one i would say touch. probably because jared and i are both cancers we come by this one naturally.

    then again, i could also say gifts. not expensive gifts as i am not materialistic, but even something small becomes sentimental due to the thought put into it. again, back to being a cancer…we cancers are super sentimental.

  7. Marta says:

    Hmm I’m words of affirmation and gifts. I like both, but I think if I had to pick it would be affirmation. My husband is quality time and touch for sure. Which doesn’t work as well since we tend to give what we like to receive and quality time and touch doesn’t do it for me!
    Marta’s most recent post: I Try.

  8. naomi says:

    Hmmm … I need to read the book again, because in reading your post, I’m confused (which is a constant state of being these days for me!) between a couple of different ones. Love this post Britt!
    naomi’s most recent post: NOONIE BAO

  9. martymankins says:

    Great, great post of wonderful and positive ways to thank those in your life.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Happy World Gin Day

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