Feeling unappreciated can be such a crushing state. Many of us struggle with this feeling in our work and public lives, but it can be even more frustrating when it happens in our personal relationships. Improving relationships can be as simple as a smile and a thank you for a job well done. This simple kindness may also be far-reaching, as the gratitude is paid forward and another’s spirit is lifted.

Who to Thank

If you have ever questioned who to thank, the answer is simple—everyone! Of course, it is important to acknowledge our life partners and how they help us with our daily lives: doing the dishes, folding the laundry, picking up the kids, bringing home pizza so we don’t have to cook. But if you think about it, we’re all in this life together, so aren’t we all life partners?

Thank your mail carrier when he or she hauls that big package to your door. Thank your barista when they get your latte just right. Tell the young person at the fast-food counter they are doing a great job when they get your order correct. The ripples of gratitude can lead to more healthy relationships beyond your small pond.

What to Acknowledge

Again, when it comes to deciding what to acknowledge, the answer is everything. At times, we have a tendency to overlook the little things that people do for us. In fact, the opposite takes place as we often only point out what someone didn’t do or what they didn’t do to our liking, and all without considering that they spent an entire day completing the small tasks so we wouldn’t have to do them. Watering the dog, picking up dirty clothes, paying the bills. Remember, this all takes time and energy they could have used doing other things for themselves.

When to Say It

Always acknowledge the little things. With that said, saying thank you can be overdone to the point where it loses its meaning. Healthy relationships should be about communication and sincerity, so make sure the person on the receiving end of your gratitude comes away with the feeling that it is heartfelt.


Why Say It?

The easy answer is because it’s the polite thing to do, but when it comes to improving relationships, it can go way beyond a simple four-word exchange of “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome.” Showing your gratitude can result in:

  • Making the big things more special
  • Creating a bond
  • Feeling loved and appreciated
  • Providing positive reinforcement

People remember a kindness, a thank you, an acknowledgment. On a return trip in a service setting, like a restaurant or grocery store, that person may remember the gesture and you will get even better service. Also, saying thank you and making someone’s day may make you feel better too!


How to Say “Thank You”

This is the fun part because you can be so creative! A simple “thank you” goes a long way, never forget that. But by customizing a thank you, you show not only that you appreciate what they did, but that you also are aware of them as a person and know what they like and dislike.

Some great examples of small gestures include:

  • A cup of tea when someone is blue
  • A high five of congratulations on a job well done
  • A favorite dinner on the table when they come home from a long day
  • A cold drink when working (particularly if they are not expecting it, like the mail carrier, garbage collectors, or utility workers)

Kindness could conquer the world and has the potential to make it a much better place. Start with daily gratitude and thank yous, and continue improving relationships with everyone around you.