It’s so lovely when people go out of their way to help you. However, the art of saying thank you is something we often forget. Being bcc’d on a mass thank you email or receiving a text or twitter shout out just doesn’t have the same personal effect as a more traditional method. Of course, the golden standard is a personalized thank you card, but that’s not your only option. Here are 5 ways to show someone your gratitude:
1. Send real mail: This is, of course, that golden standard to which I just referred. Everyone loves getting mail, especially mail with a handwritten address and personalized message, and it’s a rare thing to receive these days. People will remember this sort of gesture warmly and will have a physical totem to remind them that you reached out to express your thanks.
2. Take the time to call: Hearing your voice and showing that you took some time out of your day is a big improvement over an email or a text. Even if it’s just a quick call, it feels more personal and involved. Remember to ask them about themselves, thank them specifically for the tasks they performed, and get out quickly enough that their day hasn’t been interrupted if they don’t want it to be.
3. Take them out for a drink or coffee: This can be done under the pretense of wrapping things up and debriefing, if you so desire, but is a nice gesture that doesn’t take too much time out of their day or yours. Make sure to pick up the check. You can use this time to express your gratitude and make clear your future intentions for the work they did, gift or money they gave, or whatever else you might be thanking them for.
4. Cover the next bill: On a similar note, if this is someone you’re close with, you can always hold on to your thanks until you see them again and then, BOOM, thank them with a surprise free dinner, drink, movie ticket, or whatever it is you regularly do together. Be careful, however, to match the thanks to the original activity enough that they don’t feel bought, underappreciated, or indebted to you. Trust your gut to find the right balance.
5. Return the favor: The best option of all, perhaps, is to repay someone in kind. We all need help sometimes, and showing your gratitude by being there for the person will help to strengthen your relationship such that favors may be traded back and forth in blissful perpetuity.
However you do it, always remember to thank the people that help you do what you do. You’ll always need a helping hand, and the kind of people that will lend it deserve praise and adequate appreciation.