Main navigation

Why do some people think it is okay to be stingy in saying ‘thank you’.

I have been in three situations recently that have given me an insight I had been oblivious too. When we happily operate in our own world we are often blind to other peoples view of the world.

I thought people knew how important it is to be grateful for another person’s generosity and that to authentically thank them was the gift they give in return.

  1. I was chatting to a business associate who, when I asked him how he recognizes his small team, answered ‘I don’t like to thank them more than once a month – otherwise it just won’t seem sincere, you can over do it if you say thank you to often – they will take it for granted.’
  2. I was in a committee room where it was being discussed what to give the speaker to say thanks for their generosity of presenting to our group – and one of the men in the room said ‘they don’t do it for the gift – they do it because they want to help others.’
  3. I was asked at an event on the weekend how RedBalloon went during the GFC – given that gifting is not an essential purchase.

My response to each:

  1. It is not the quantity but the quality of the acknowledgement that makes the difference. “Good manners cannot be worn out.” You could make someone’s day, every day as long as the acknowledgement is truly personal, timely and relevant. Generic words that are not specific do little to make you or the other person feel great. Be specific.
  2. People don’t donate their time to speak for the ‘thank you’ gift – but as a speaker I know how much I give of myself every time I step before an audience. What the speaker really wants is to know that they made a difference to another person’s life. Letting the speaker know the contribution they made will be the thanks they yearn for. Also to give them a thoughtful gift – that has perhaps been researched about what is relevant to them – shows them that you cared about the preparation the speaker made – because you to cared enough to go to a similar effort.
  3. Gifting is a central to our well being. It is essential to our humanness. They way we thank some one, or acknowledgement them is what makes people feel connected to another. The work done by the New Economic Foundation points to the well being effect of gifting on not only the recipient but also the giver. Giving a great gift is a source of happiness – and is fundamental and essential to our well being.

Last night I got inspired to write this after watching an episode of Madmen – where Don the main character has a fundamental issue with acknowledging those around him. Set in 1965 I understand that may be how people operated last century. But we have moved on.


EXCERPT: The tension rises with Peggy’s frustration at being kept in the office after hours. Add her simmering resentment of her unsung contribution to the Glo Coat commercial and she reaches boiling point. She lashes out at Don for taking credit for her work and he retorts with “It’s your job. I give you money, you give me ideas.”

“And you never say thank you!”

“That’s what the money’s for!” he yells. “You’re young, you will get your recognition. And honestly, it is absolutely ridiculous for you to be two years into your career and already counting your ideas. And you should be thanking me when you wake up, along with Jesus, for giving you another day.”

Please leave a comment about a time you thanked someone authentically and how it made you feel. I am looking to add stories to the book I am currently researching… thank you

Reader Interactions


  1. Naomi I agree that the thank you is important – whether or not you’re being paid. I always send hand written cards to thank hosts at events, lunches, dinners etc. Yes it does take a few minutes out of my day but it’s hardly onerous – and I read once that Princess Diana also did the same so I thought if she could find the time then surely I could too. In fact I read in a biography about her that she used to write the cards as soon as she got home from an event and “it was the least she could do” and I tend to agree. I bet all those people with handwritten notes from Di will treasure them for life…

    Anyway I digress and I realise my own thank you notes won’t be collectors items but I do love it when I receive hand written notes from others as well – I keep them all in my office on the wall – and I have to tell you that on a bad day, when everything is going wrong, they’re a godsend!

  2. I completely agree with your blog today Naomi – saying ‘thank you’ has an enormous impact yet it is not used enough. Too often managers say to me, but they know I appreciate they work and they don’t like the praise – I challenge them to find me one person that doesn’t appreciate a simple thank you after doing something good. I use to have a boss that would say thank you every Friday and give me a little early mark in recognition of the week that was. This has always stuck in my mind and I have never felt more appreciated than I did in that role. When I tell this story to others, I have people say but not everyone wants that and it loses its meaning. I disagree, as the manager geniunely meant it every Friday, and I knew he would only say it unless he really meant it!
    And one last thing, last year my senior leader wrote me a card to say thank you for outstanding team work last year, I still have and I actually have it on my desk so when I have a choice to go over and above it or just do the bare basics it reminds me that I am appreciated so I choose over and above every time. Good luck with your book!

  3. I was recently thanked for a presentation I made on well-being at a conference. I obviously appreciated the thanks but it was the manner in which it was given that really touched me. I got home the other evening to find a handwritten envelope in my mail box – strange these days! Inside was a handwritten note (even stranger) from one of the organizing committee with some lovely words and compliments. She had clearly taken the time to think and write. Something that a few years ago would have been commonplace felt rather special in these days of email and linkedin recommendations! A simple heartfelt effort gratefully received!

  4. Hi Naomi. I thoroughly enjoy receiving your emails and couldn’t agree with you more in regard to the importance of authentically thanking someone. A thank you, when delivered in a heartfelt and timely manner, goes such a long way…
    When I had my own business, I was very conscious of taking the time to acknowledge people’s efforts and thanking them for their contribution. It wasn’t uncommon for me to personally thank team members during and after their shift, write little thank you cards, buy them small gifts (something I knew they liked/enjoyed), take the whole team out for a meal… While I did this naturally because I value the importance of saying thanks, I also benefited from my team being more committed, more willing to go over and above at work.
    The one very memorable time that I authentically thanked my team was prior to Christmas – one of the busiest times for a hospitality business. I decided to close the cafe/restaurant for one day (we were open 7 days a week) and surprised everyone with a trip to nearby Fraser Island. I organised an exclusive tour just for our group including morning tea and a delicious BBQ lunch, we did some sightseeing etc and then flew off the island on our own privately chartered flight. It was the most incredible day out and everyone was truly grateful for the experience. Seeing the entire team bond and enjoy themselves so much was incredibly rewarding. As a result, the entire team worked harder than ever over the Christmas/New Year period and the business continued to prosper. I worked with the most incredible people and to this day, that team was the best one I’ve ever been part of.
    It is so easy to say thank you yet most people underestimate the value of it.

Leave a comment
*All fields are required

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

join the conversation
@ the huddle
Click to discover how I can help you progress to the next level through my Facebook Community The Huddle.
download the book

To learn more, enter your email for a FREE copy of Ready To Soar, Chapter One.

close x
  • enter your first name
  • enter your email