5 Ways to Show Gratitude Without Saying "Thank You"

Think of all the people in your life, then think about all the people in your life that hold a special place in your heart and mind. Who are they and what have they done to be so extraordinary? Do they know how extraordinary they are, because most of the time extraordinary people have no idea how extraordinary they are. I know I can think of a few in my own life that I owe undue gratitude towards. So when it comes to giving back, here are some ideas for when a simple “Thank You” will just not suffice:

1) A check-in text or call

To all the VIP’s in our lives that live miles away from us, sometimes something as easy as sending a “thinking of you” text means the world. It opens the door to bigger conversations like catching up, maybe a quick rant about the world, or even making plans to visit each other. Sometimes you might even transition to a FaceTime or phone call that lasts for hours; it is so much more special hearing their voices or seeing their faces. It’s heartwarming on both ends, and marks for a highlight of the week as well.

2) Writing a letter

Like I mentioned above, texts are quick and easy (though appreciated!). If one has the time in the midst of our crazy lives to sit down and write a letter to someone, it will be well worth your time. Who even gets real mail anymore? There is nothing like seeing some mail in your mailbox addressed to you, it's a warm and fuzzy feeling of surprise and   excitement. Not to mention upon receiving a letter, you can write a response and start a formal correspondence; ya know, like they did it way back when. My mom told me that she actually had a boyfriend that she met at a Grateful Dead show in Saratoga that she mostly communicated with through letters for about six months; moral of the story is that snail mail   might actually be the stronger, superior mail. My advice is: go online, get a nice stationary with your name on it, stamps, and of course, a nice pen, (I recommend a Pilot g2, can we   plug pens like that?) and get to writing.


3) Changing your language

I am a huge believer in the saying “a little goes a long way”, and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my time as a Social Work student, is that even the smallest changes in how we speak are not only recognized, but appreciated. For example, telling the friend who just picked up the cup of coffee for you that will be keeping you up for the next hour to finish the conclusion of your paper that you appreciate them. Moreover, telling your group members in the homestretch of your presentation preparation that you admire their work ethic; to the classmate next to you in that really confusing lecture that has taken time to explain a topic you didn’t understand before the exam thanking them for their patience. Implementing those small changes are enough to make people feel like their efforts have been noticed and appreciated. It adds a twist to the regular old “thank you” and if you notice that you’re falling into the same patterns of phrases to say, don’t be afraid to get creative and switch it up!


4) Cleaning your room, or any other space that might need some TLC

Show some self-love, it is more than okay to reward yourself after a long and grueling week. Now, cleaning your room might not sound like the ideal way to pat yourself on the back, but you might be surprised on how you feel once your done. I find myself doing big cleans when I’m in the middle of a stressful work period; heavy workload, tests and papers due, and meetings to go to, but having a clean room is the calm in that tumultuous storm. Take a break and put on some upbeat music and get your shit straight, you will not be sorry. Take the time to organize so at the end of the long days ahead, you know that at least your room and personal time will be in order. This can also be applied to the stack of dirty dishes in the sink, or the scary mysterious sludge in your shower too. Slap on the gloves and get to work. Not only will you earn points with the roommates, but also have some peace of mind that you know for a fact that those spaces are actually clean.

5) Being present

Being present is the hardest way to say thank you because you’re not saying anything at all. Being present relies on respect, focus, and action. Being there for someone can be as simple a just a presence, or listening intently to the woes of the day, even if they don’t come close to yours in comparison. Making people feel like they’re the only person in the room when you talk to them is a challenge, but giving someone undivided attention gives allows them to feel and experience trust, respect, and validation. This is an attribute that takes time and conscious effort to actively do and maintain, so I challenge you to try it. There is a difference between hearing someone and listening, so process the words you’re hearing and be active in your responses to whoever you may be with. They will know you’re there I promise, and they will appreciate your presence more than you know. I’m sure you can think of the people in your life that you turn to in times of need or support, be that person for them.



Edited by Cat Bates