Two words: Thank you. There’s no gray area. You either say it, or you don’t.
Not into it? Well, you’re at liberty to say it however you like, but you ought to find some synonym, or some action that demonstrates a very important message: I appreciate you.
First and foremost, gratitude says a lot about one’s character. Secondly, and quite frankly, no one wants to be friends with an ungrateful______ (readers, insert the expletive of your choice). Thirdly, have some sympathy for the elders of the world. Every five seconds someone over the age of 80 is shaking their heads, saying “kids these days…” Ok, maybe I made that up, but I’d bet your grandparents have words about the behavior of today’s youth.
Someone opens the door for you, and you don’t express your appreciation: not great, but it’s minor. Someone watches your beloved golden retriever while you’re away, and you don’t even send “thanks” via text: certainly not great, but hey, “that’s what friends are for,” right? Someone spends a great deal of time and money to attend your wedding, and you don’t even send, at the very least, a generic thank-you card: wait a second, “this person is my friend!?”
Needless to say, after a while, a lack of gratitude can be pretty harmful. Do you need to be obsessive about giving thanks? No way. You need not tell your father that you are thankful for him inseminating your mother 18 years ago, or thank your brother for deleting his questionable browser history on a shared computer. I mean, you can; however, harm doesn’t come from an overabundance of gratitude, it is bred from the lack thereof.
If you don’t acknowledge acts of kindness, it’s possible that you have crossed into an unintentional realm of expectation, and for it, you may be dubbed “rude” or “snobby.” Dislike it? Well, just know that it’s a probable way in which you are being perceived. For that, It’s worth considering; better yet, it’s worth fixing. Don’t let your unintended defiance of social expectations bring down your relationships. You don’t have to get on your knees and praise people for their kindness, but simple acknowledgement and giving thanks might secure your pup’s daycare. Let people know you appreciate them. If nothing else, do it for your golden retriever, he loves his nanny.