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?