Why It Always Pays To Say Thank You

Say Thank You

Are you one of those people who gets a lot of requests for assistance?

I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where people, many of them strangers or acquaintances who only know me through my blog or Twitter account, e-mail me to ask for my advice on challenges they are facing, or ask for an introduction to someone within my network.

If you find yourself in a similar position, then you, like me, probably get a warm fuzzy feeling from responding to these requests. After all, it’s nice to think that you are somebody that people would think of as helpful and approachable.

But do you get a different feeling when certain individuals get in touch? It’s a sinking feeling that they only contact you when they want something. It’s a sign that your relationship has become a little too one sided.

Spotting the takers

The first red flag with these type of people is when you do something for them and they don’t thank you. No response. Nothing. You might accidentally bump in to that person at an event and they half-hardheartedly say something like “Oh, I’ve been meaning to thank you for that”. You suspect they’ve only said that because you’ve bumped into them.

The second red flag with this type of person is that after you’ve helped them, you don’t hear from them again until… you guessed it, they want another favour from you!

In the interim there is no checking in to see how you’re doing. No emails. No telephone calls. No texts.

How does this make you feel? Not good, right?

Why It Always Pays To Say Thank You

Contrast that type of relationship with those people who show genuine gratitude for your help.

I’ve received nice notes of thanks not only by telephone call and email, but also through hand-written notes or thank-you cards received in the post. In this day and age, to receive such a hand-written note is remarkable and very much appreciated!

People who show gratitude in this way understand something. They understand that human relationships are about reciprocity.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Why it always pays to say thank you[/tweet_box]

Balancing relationships

BalanceI believe it is human nature to show reciprocity. If somebody has done you a good turn, you actively look to do them a good turn in return. Sometimes you consciously know this. Other times you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you see an opportunity to help someone who has helped you.

Some people actively keep track of favours. They know who “owes them”. I’m not one of those people who keeps track. I believe in being a Go-Giver in attitude. Even so, at some sub-conscious level I’m aware of the rough balance of a relationship. Like me, you probably have gut instincts over those people who are genuinely grateful for my assistance, even if they haven’t reciprocated. Others, your gut tells you aren’t genuinely grateful for your help — they just want what’s in it for them.

Relationships are like bank accounts. You need to make a deposit in them before you can make a withdrawal.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Relationships are like bank accounts. You need to make a deposit in them before you can make a withdrawal.[/tweet_box]

Those takers we referred to earlier on? They’re woefully overdrawn and they may not even realise it!

You certainly don’t want to be thought of like that. So what can you do to avoid being lumped into this category? Simply remember to say thank you and to show your gratitude. Make it a priority and it will become a habit.

The results? You’ll have stronger relationships than ever!


It’s human nature to want to reciprocate. If somebody does you a good turn, people want to return that favour.

Whether an individual actively keeps “score” of the favours they’ve done for others or not, at some level we all have a gut feeling over whether somebody is balancing their relationship with us or that they are taking without giving back.

At the end of the day it always pay to remember to say thank-you. 🙂


photo credit: Pure Metal Cards via photopin cc


  • Richard Tubb2015-07-27 18:11:42

    Peter - what a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  • Peter BIllingham2015-07-23 13:10:26

    Hi There - great post! Recently, I visited a friend of mine. Breakfast consumed, conversation enjoyed, I headed back to the car. Perhaps it was the cold weather. Too many cups of coffee. Or just a matter of my age, I was not going to miss the presented opportunity of the gents at the entrance to the car park. I wouldn’t call myself a talent on the subject or toilets. Or even a purveyor of public conveniences. Yet, I was shocked and surprised, at the cleanliness and presentation I found. No acrid aroma, it was a scene of almost sterile proportions. The porcelain sinks gleamed blizzard white. Chrome taps shone with the radiance of noon sunlight off roof top solar panels. The mirror, smudge free, reflecting the scene. I noticed a man in the corner in a fluorescent green jacket squashed over the top of a dark, old and fraying hoodie. The hood only revealing two or three days of rough stubble growth. Carefully leaning on a mop, he continually cleaned the floor. I tried to catch his eye, but he wouldn’t lift his gaze from the floor. His shoulders stooped. The worn out trainers limped along the clean polished tiles like a lame feral dog on an ice blue frozen lake. “Excuse me,” I said. “I just wanted to say, thank you.” “I don’t think I have ever been in such clean and well-presented public toilets in my whole life.” His body paused and his feet shuffled and stumbled to a stop and the hood dropped. “Nobody has ever told me that before.” “I just seem invisible.” I then observed the most amazing transformation. His shoulders lifted and his stance straightened. His eyes brightened and it seemed as if he grew 2 inches taller in front of me. And a big smile came to his face. And all it took was two words. How simple, how profoundly simple, how powerfully and profoundly simple was it to express that gratitude for those olfactory benefits. And all it took was two words. Thank You

  • James2010-05-14 17:40:55

    A good point Richard. My eight-year-old son can remember to say please and thank you, so why do some adults find it so difficult? I blame their parents ;-)

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