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Please and Thank You: The Art of Showing Gratitude

Writing thank you notes is a small way you can go around showing gratitude to others. The small gesture encourages the basic notion that we should help one another as human beings in our daily lives. A.J. Jacobs, author of THANKS A THOUSAND, shares how he says thanks. 

I’ve been trying to implement some of the strategies I read in books about gratitude. The psychologist Emmons suggests: “Next time you are feeling grateful to someone, give him or her a hug, or a touch on the hand or shoulder.”

In this post–Harvey Weinstein world, unsolicited hugs seem like an excellent strategy to avoid.

But another strategy seems safer: Writing thank-you notes. I carve out an hour around lunchtime every day and write about ten notes that I send o via email, LinkedIn, and good old-fashioned paper envelopes. The etiquette books say the more personal the better, so I try to add details, like thanking the nonprofit worker at the Coffee Quality Institute (which advises farmers on better techniques) for heading out into the field and putting up with the mosquitos. Most of the people don’t write back, which I remind myself is fine. I shouldn’t expect a thank you for my thank you. But when I do get a note back, I’m thrilled. It’s like an espresso buzz times ten.

Today I got an email from an engineer at GrainPro, which makes a specialty plastic bag that keeps the beans fresh during shipping. He wrote a couple of paragraphs, ending with “on behalf of my proud colleagues in GrainPro, I thank you for your great comments that have made us joyous.” Joyous no less!

Look for new ways to say thanks to the people that surround you in THANKS A THOUSAND by A.J. Jacobs!


For more on Tips on Life & Love: Saying Thanks: A Shout Out to Mom and Dad 


Excerpted from Thanks a Thousand by A.J. Jacobs Copyright © 2018 by author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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