I was watching the film Happythankyoumoreplease (which I recommend), when I was introduced to this basic concept.  The film bases its title on a scene in which Malin Åkerman‘s character relates some advice she has been given.  She suggests the key to life is gratitude; it’s important to give thanks – and how do you do that? By saying “thank you.” Then asking for “more, please.”

I love this concept.  It’s so simple.  Yet, how often do we really put thought into this in our waking life? Do we mean it when we say, “Thank you”? Do we say it enough? And do we ask for more of the things we want? Please?

Children are always asked to “say the magic word” before they are given what they want.  After all, “Gimme, gimme never gets.”  Somehow we manage to forget this as we get older and engage with a more hectic world.

  • We order people around: “Pass me that handout!”
  • We ask in less-than-polite ways, “Did you get that memo done?”
  • We tell our friends, “Pick me up at 7.”

It is so important to put a simple “please” in front of our commands and requests.  It doesn’t matter if you are in a busy office and you need something “like yesterday” or if you are casually suggesting your friend join you for dinner.  Turn these commands into refined requests that allow people to agree, or at the very least acquiesce. 

Most of the time, when someone does something we appreciate we remember to thank them.  Obvious situations are when you accept something like a gift or invitation – or even when you politely decline such offerings: “No thank you.”

But there are other times we can take advantage of this simple phrase. For example, perhaps we need to unplug from our iPods or walk with our heads up, so we notice when people hold doors and then express our appreciation.  Notice when someone steps out of your way, picks up something you dropped for you, gives you a compliment.  Smile and express your gratitude – whether verbally or non-verbally.  Sometimes it just takes a smile and a nod.

When someone expresses their thanks, be sure to reply with “You’re welcome.”  As Emily Post’s Etiquette  notes, brushing off a thanks with “It was nothing” is actually taking away value from your actions. Accept the appreciation you’re given.


4 thoughts on “Happythankyoumoreplease

  1. I really love that your blog is about manners and the simple things we can do to improve our everyday interactions with others. I completely agree that it is so important to pay attention to the little extra things you can do. I always try to compliment anything I like about someone because it’s so nice to hear kind things from strangers. I will definitely be using some of these tips in the future. Looking forward to more!

    • Thanks, Kate! I agree about complimenting people. Not only does it make others feel great, but it also benefits you – because they like you for being nice! Manners and courtesy are truly a win-win, and it does come down to respect 🙂

  2. I find myself often being too polite sometimes, if such a thing exists. I say thank you for the smallest things that don’t even need thanking for. I also find that I apologize for things that are either entirely out of my control or don’t even warrant an apology. I sometimes think its a Canadian thing.

    • I don’t think that you can say thank you too much – but I do think that people can apologize too often.
      I believe the key is not moderation, but rather actually thinking about what we say. If we don’t really mean it, why do we say it all the time? And if we do mean it, why?
      If you are apologizing for yourself, it could be a Canadian thing, but it could also be a negative thinking pattern that you’re in the wrong even when you’re not.
      If you are always thanking people, do you mean it? If so, that’s great! Even if you don’t, other people won’t know that you’re thanking everyone and anything and will appreciate the gesture just the same.
      It can’t hurt!

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