THANKS \\ Gratitude
November 17, 2017
Blah blah blah yada yada yada, please remember to blah blah yada yada do.
So go many of my internal work e-mails. They might seem like a pat, formulaic layout with various details tossed in between the same beginning and end, but that is not at all how they are meant. When I say “please” or “thanks”, it is because that is a part of me. I am thankful to you for helping me out.
The problem is, I am probably showing my age. In doing a few searches about thankfulness I came across this article.
I think that for many of us the word “thanks” doesn’t carry that much meaning. As children we are taught manners, when someone does something for you or gives you something, you say ‘thank you.’ When someone says ‘thank you’ to you, you say ‘you’re welcome.’ This polite behavior is taught to us over and over again until it becomes rote, an automatic reply to a gesture or deed given without a whole lot of thought. It is good manners and we were raised to have good manners. That is good and important. The problem is that saying thank you just doesn’t carry the weight that it once did.
If he is right, then my words are rather empty and my sentiment in thanking you for doing what I ask is lost and meaningless. Do I need to up the ante and get on the Grateful bandwagon? Gratitude seems to be the new thankful. But how do I put that into words when signing an e-mail?
This article states:
“Gratitude is a noun. It describes the state of feeling appreciative for a kindness which has been granted or given, and (very often) of wanting to give something in return.
There’s no verb form of gratitude. The act of showing it (adjective = to be grateful)—or, in other words, the verb meaning ”to show gratitude”—is to thank.
The first person present tense of the verb thank (”I thank”) + subject (”you”) has become shortened in day-to-day use to ”Thank you” or, even more colloquially, just ”Thanks”.
As a result, thanks has also become a noun meaning a way of showing gratitude. This describes both the simple act of saying ”thank you” and more demonstrative ways of showing gratitude, such as some form of reciprocal action or gift”.
Ok then! So maybe “thanks”, or “thank you” actually do mean what I intend them to: that I am grateful to you for helping me out.
But, then again…
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, thankful and grateful are synonymous with the exception of two operative words. It defines thankful as “conscious of benefits received” while defining grateful as “appreciative of benefits received.” I think the difference between “conscious” and “appreciative” signifies that we experience thankfulness and gratitude for others in two different ways.
This should not be so difficult! Let me just clarify here that when I thank you in an e-mail, I am conscious and appreciative of the benefit that I will receive should you do what I ask of you.