The Power of Words: “Thank You”

As children just learning to talk, we are taught to say please and thank you. “What do you say?” is a phrase you hear every new parent repeating on a daily basis.

As we grow older though, we forget the importance of these words and say them less. We assume people know we’re grateful or we’re just in too much of a rush to think about it. I’m guilty of this myself.

Just recently I started dating a very nice man who also happens to be very polite. The first time I invited him over to my apartment we cooked and had a great time, and as I said goodbye to him later at the door he looked into my eyes and said, “Thank you for having me over.”

The sincerity in his tone really struck me. He didn’t just say “thanks” but thanked me for the whole experience, and I could tell he meant it. I started noticing how often he said “thank you.” He thanks me for everything, even things that feel like a given to me. He thanks me for driving, whenever I cook, and when I lend him books or household items. He thanks me for my presence on our dates or for ideas I share with him, new things I teach him, and compliments I give him. And he thanks me for being honest or vulnerable with him.

It may seem like a bit much, but it has really opened my eyes to how little we actually thank each other sincerely in this world. I’ve discovered that it makes me even more willing to do nice things, because I truly feel that everything I do is noticed and appreciated.

I’ve started being more intentional in thanking him for what he does. I am not as good at remembering to do this as he is. But I’ve learned that saying thank you is still just as valuable even if it comes late. Better said late than never at all.

The first time we ate out together we went to a Thai restaurant, and he paid the bill. I didn’t really thank him for it, because I assumed he knew that I was grateful, and men are supposed to pay anyway, right?

I realized later that didn’t matter, and how wrong I was. I was thankful, and so I sent him a quick text that said “I realized I never thanked you for dinner. So thank you for paying, and for picking me up. I really appreciate it.”

Thanking someone is about taking the time to recognize the good they’ve brought to your world. My “thank you” was a way for me to show him that I don’t take him or his generosity for granted. To make him feel as valued as he makes me feel. 

Sometimes, it’s only once you experience something more regularly that you realize how much you’ve been missing it. I’ve discovered the impact of the the exchange of a simple ‘thank you.’  Those two words, spoken sincerely and intentionally, have changed my dating life for the better.

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