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A simple ‘Thanks’ can go a long way by YakekponoAbasi Adams

The phrase ‘ungrateful person’ can pack a real punch. In any friendship, there will be times when the ‘give and take’ falls out of balance.

Some people just stay in the ‘taking’ mode a little longer than they do in the ‘giving’ mode.

Worse, they can’t even say ‘thank you’. I was talking about ungratefulness with a friend the other day.

He said some people appreciate things you do for them, but don’t know they should say ‘thank you’. I’m still in shock. How is that even possible?

So, they never learnt it from parents, siblings, friends, movies, and the society as a whole? How about when they do things for other people and are told ‘thank you’, huh?

I didn’t believe that for a bit. I told him he was making excuses for them. But, that’s just my opinion.

Gratitude – a feeling and expression of thankfulness for the efforts of others that are costly to them and beneficial to us.

I have long believed that gratitude is a foundation for satisfying relationships (platonic and intimate) and positive social exchange.

Grant and Gino investigated the effects of expressions of gratitude on the positive behavior of helpers across some experiments.

In the first two experiments, some participants received letters of appreciation from a fellow student for help in writing a resume cover letter, while other participants did not.

Those participants who received the ‘thank you’ were more motivated to help the student at a later date.

The second two experiments had a similar result. This time, however, students were asked to make alumni

donation calls on behalf of the university they were attending.

Some participants received a verbal ‘thank you’ for their efforts by a director of fundraising, while others did not.

Those who received the thank you showed an increase in positive behavior (making more calls). Those who received no expression of gratitude did not increase their efforts.

Kubacka, Finkenauer, Rusbult, and Keijsers evaluated the effects of gratitude on loving “relationship

maintenance” behaviors.

More specifically, the researchers investigated how gratitude influences positive behaviors towards a spouse over time.

Results indicate: Spouses feel gratitude for a partner when they perceive that partner’s behavior as being responsive to their needs. That feeling of gratitude then motivates behavior in return that is responsive back to the needs of the partners.

When that reciprocal behavior is perceived by the partner, feelings of gratitude result in them as well. A positive cycle develops over time, with increasing gratitude and caring behavior for both individuals.

Overall, gratitude has two powerful influences on positive relationship behavior. When we express gratitude to a partner, we increase the chances that they will behave well towards us in the future.

When we feel gratitude, we increase the chance that we will behave well towards them. If our partner feels grateful for our good behavior as well, then a positive cycle develops. Everybody is grateful and everybody behaves lovingly.

Some ways to show gratitude are:

1) Pay Attention – Pay attention to the positive and supportive behaviors of your friends. Take note when they do something positive and effortful that benefits you.

This will bring out your feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness for their efforts. It will also motivate you to value your friend and treat him/her well in return.

2) Show Thanks – When you notice that your partner has done something good for you, be sure to thank them. Show them that you appreciate their efforts. Write them a note. Say thank you. Give them a kiss or a hug.

Do something nice in return. Such expressions of gratitude will motivate his/her future loving behavior. It serves as a reinforcement to encourage the behaviors you desire as well.

3) Troubleshoot (When Necessary) – If you seem to have an ungrateful partner, there are a two fixes to try:

First, make sure your loving behaviors are what THEY want and need. Gratitude is created by you being responsive to their needs, not just doing what you want (even if it is a lot of work).

Second, make sure that you are not missing their appreciative behaviors .

Sometimes, partners do thankful things that are easy to miss, or don’t mean much to you. So, keep your eyes peeled. Also, talk with them. Tell them what YOU like.

Gratitude makes the world go around. It is an essential feature. There are no two ways about it; life is quid pro quo.

Expressions of gratitude influence loving behavior in people. Try to show appreciation to people for things they do for you.

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