I Didn’t Mean to Thank You

I, as a person who wants to be friendly and polite, have made a habit of saying “Thank you!”. I say “Thank you!” A LOT. I say “Thank you!” the normal times: when someone did a favor for me, or helped me out in some way. I also say thank you sometimes when it’s not necessary: when someone responded to my email, or when someone answered a question, or when someone was doing their job. Sometimes, I even say thank you when it makes no sense at all: when I did a favor for someone else, when there was an awkward situation I was trying to avoid, when the conversation naturally ended. 

Ultimately, offering excessive thanks degrades gratitude. It undermines sincerity and recognition of someone else’s humanity, because it fails to acknowledge the special, separate, unique value of what they’ve done that as worthy of gratitude. If all things are thanked, then nothing is thanked; the word loses all meaning, and there is then no word to replace it.Instead of defaulting to “Thank you!” I’m trying to use my vocabulary to say what I really mean. Maybe it’s, “I value your friendship.” or “I’m happy I can help!” or “You do your job very well.” or even “I appreciate your attention to this issue.” 

If indeed it is more blessed to give than receive, why do I always try to paint myself as the receiver, and why am I uncomfortable being the giver?


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