When Did “Thank You” Become an Effort?

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs reference
Image by purpleslog via Flickr

It has been a while since I wrote, and that’s not a good thing.  I have been busy, haven’t we all?  I have been out-of-town and should have prepared better but I did not and I apologize.

The other day I got a tweet from someone who wrote that we have a International Give Thanks Day, February 9th. I liked this tweet because lately I have found that there are some people I know personally who have not been inclined to say thank you.    Now I do not know if we can relate this lack of saying thank you to the levels of Maslow‘s Hierarchy of Needs.  I decided to post his chart to help myself come up with an answer.

I do know that in this mess of a bad economy and more that many of us have found ourselves in, that there could be reasons people forget to say thank you.  Those people might be stuck in the physiological stage of Maslow’s theory where just their basic needs are being met and are lost in a world of me, me and more me.

The problem with my theory is the fact that being polite or not  being polite is a learned behavior.  Our parents taught us to say please, thank you and more.  When this happened to me recently I thought it was just an oversight on the other person’s side.  I had been asked what I used to perform a certain internet task.  I looked up the program and sent the information in an email.  Several days later when I saw this person at a meeting nothing was mentioned about my email at all.  In fact I had to ask if it was received to the point of even explaining what was in it, and I got a really strange response but no “thank you.”

I know it all sounds silly, but you see this person professes outwardly to be an extremely gracious person in life.  My question is how can you say you are gracious to everyone you meet and not say thank you which is to me the epitome of being gracious?

I have told myself over and over again I cannot expect people to act the way I act.  I am an extremely sincere polite woman.  I thank my husband when he does the most mundane things because I believe in giving thanks.  It makes him feel good to hear it, and it makes me feel good to say it.  He told me to lower my expectations with this person.

I found myself wondering if this was just an oversight, or if this person is actually talking out of both sides of their mouth.  I decided to test this out.  I went to another meeting and deliberately paid this person a nice compliment.  I held my breath and waited.   I waited and waited some more.  I waited so long I probably was beginning to turn a lovely shade of blue, but there was no thank you leaving those lips. Then I made it a point to do one more thing that normally would be received with thanks.  I gave it the old “3 strikes and you are out” theory and let’s say it was a strike out.

When someone is sincerely gracious the words “thank you” in a sincere manner rolls off their lips with ease.  It is as normal to them as breathing.

I asked my husband on the way home that night if he thought it was just basic rudeness or something else.  He said when you are a “taker” you don’t say thank you.  I thought about that, and he’s right.

So here is a big thank you-I don’t thank my readers enough.  Now it’s your turn to pay it forward, we all forget our manners from time to time.  It takes work to get back into the groove of being grateful and gracious but a sincere thank you can make someone’s day.

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