Thursday, December 08, 2016

the importance of saying Thank you

I wondered out loud in my office a few days ago "Am I completely out of touch with people today since I feel like I grew up in a time VERY long ago". I was of course referring to the obsessive way I was raised to say "thank you" time and time again. After dinner, say "thank you for dinner" (note, regardless if it was good or not, you thank for the fact that you got food that someone else prepared).  Someone holding the door for you when you walk through it? Say Thank you. Getting your change back from the cashier? Say Thank you. Someone giving you a ride so you don't have to walk to where ever you want to go? Say Thank you. Someone giving you a compliment? Say Thank you. Are you asking for a favour at work? Say Thank you*(and please).

You get the picture.**

It ties into one of the first lessons I had learning English as a girl in middle school. There are two words to use in English (in Swedish we use Tack for both). (It is similar in German; bitte and danke). When asking for something in English: add a please. When you get something: say thank you. For added politeness, don't say "I want" but rather "I would like" since the latter is more polite. (For emphasis, this is the same in Swedish "jag vill ha" vs "jag skulle vilja ha").

Anyway, my little December rant today is a simple vent since I have seen this increasingly over the last couple of months. You see, I work in a "helper" capacity. People usually contact me when they want something. It could be data, cells, project planning, making a meeting invitation or simply answering a question on how to change an Outlook invite without cancelling the whole thing.

What I'm noticed over the last year though is the decrease (non-existing?) notion of please, would you, and of course thank you. There's a lot of "I want" and to be fair, sometimes a (sloppy) "thanks" in the end (although when it's part of your signature, I'm not sure it really means anything specific). Funny enough, I sometimes get these emails and part of me wants to respond "I would like to help you, however since you wrote it more like a demand (and you're not my boss nor my work group) I will add your request to the bottom of the pile". Of course I don't do that, it would be rude. But I feel a need to vent and add a little please of my own. If you interact with any undergraduates or any people in general, maybe see if they can use those little words that really mean a lot....

Thank you for reading this and other rants I post on this blog.

*'Thank you' is more formal but also more thoughtful than the everlasting 'Thanks' that is tossed around a little more. Although, I'll take 'thanks' over nothing anytime. Just sayin'

**There's a little longer context that I would like to write one day, I need to work on it though since it ties into class, upbringing, use of emails as a written telephone call or note rather than a letter etc....

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