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Thank You Etiquette

Do you say "thank you" the right way?

By
Trent Armstrong,
June 7, 2010

Page 2 of 2

Even if someone criticizes you out of ill will, they still might have a valid point. When you get over your initial reaction to shove them down and take their shoes, examine the critique for its worth and thank them for any valuable advice that may have slipped through their snide comment. Saying thank you in this situation does something very interesting to people. When they see that you are becoming a better person by taking their vicious advice, it confuses them. They might start to see that you aren't the threat they imagined and may begin to treat you differently. 

When Shouldn’t You Say Thank You?

Do not thank someone sarcastically out of frustration. When a cashier who has been working all day accidentally drops your eggs on the ground, saying a condescending, "thanks a lot," is not appropriate--absolutely not appropriate. When your spouse locks the keys in the car on your way to the airport, a sarcastic "thanks" is only going to make that person feel worse. Something I've learned from almost fourteen years of marriage is that sarcasm is not going to make your spouse love you any more. Firing off a sarcastic "thank you" out of frustration is only meant to make yourself feel important. Manners are about making others feel important! Have patience in that situation.

Thank you is a special phrase that should be kept for building someone up. Make it a habit to spend a little time remembering all the things your spouse or significant other does for you-- that can be for parents and friends as well. Then, even if it's just a few words, say thank you often.

That goes for your kids too-- or those who work for you. Teach appreciation by example. Thank them for jobs well done. Thank them for working hard. Then help them know when it's their turn to thank someone else.

Bottom Line

Thank others for their generosity. Thank others for the little things and not just the big things. Thank others out of humility and not sarcasm. You don't always have to thank with a note or a gift, but try to thank others often.

I sincerely thank you for joining me for this installment of The Modern Manners Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Polite Life.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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