You are busy like everyone else and you forgot to thank someone for a favor received. You make a mental note that you need to thank that person when your time frees up a time. But as everyone else you get busy with your projects and soon one of the two things will happen – 1) either you are too busy to thank or 2) it is too late to thank ( that’s what you think )
Let’s take the second case – it is too late to thank. It is NEVER too late to thank someone. You are doing a disservice to yourself if you are holding back on genuinely expressing your gratitude however far back the favor was extended.
Now, let’s look at the first case – you are too busy to thank. Rather than simply saying you should just make time to thank, let us look at the price you pay for NOT thanking. Here is how it goes:
1. You may end up on a mental blacklist: The person who extended the favor knows the effort involved in extending the favor to you. While not everyone expects you to reciprocate back, most of them at least expect you to appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness in extending the favor. When they don’t get that, it makes it easy to “mentally blacklist” you. The effect of that is simple – your future requests if any will go into a “low priority” queue or simply get ignored.
2. You may lose the license to make a future request: Even you know that you didn’t thank the other person last time. So it might be embarrassing for you to go back again to the same person.
3. You might undermine the favor and over-estimate your strengths: One reason you might not thank someone is that you might think it did not take a lot of work on the person’s part to extend the favor. This happens if you see things superficially. The person might have just made a phone call. You can look at the action is the “phone call made” or think about all the effort the person had put in so that he was qualified to make that phone call. When you underestimate the effort made, there is a chance that you will over-estimate your own strengths to get that job done. If they didn’t help you a lot, then you might assume that everything was done simply based on your capacity to get things done. Make this mistake and this can hurt you big time in the future.
4. You may feel guilty for not doing that: You know you should have thanked and you know that you didn’t. The guilt can simply eat you from inside.
5. You might end up looking like a jerk: In some cases it might be so clear that you should have thanked and everyone around you know that. In those situations people quickly make an assessment about what kind of a jerk you are.
6. You might start getting used to taking people for granted: This is the most dangerous way of paying a price for not thanking enough. Nobody likes to be on the other end when it comes to taking people for granted ( read more )
I can go on but the point is simple – the right thing to do is to extend thanks to anyone and everyone who extended favors to you. The alternate option is to pay a price now and in the future. Your choice.
Photo Courtesy: 2Shutter on Flickr