The Subtle Difference Between “Thanks” and “Thank You”.

Whether you’re a man or woman, at some point you’re going to go out of your way to do something nice for someone you feel is special. It can could be a gift. Or it could simply be a little something extra that you probably wouldn’t do for just anybody.  While on the surface our actions may be generous and gracious, underneath lurks a selfish motivation. We want that special person to recognize and appreciate the effort and affection behind our gracious deed. But often times as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished”. 

Despite your best efforts, your good deeds can go under-appreciated or worse – unwanted. Sometimes that special someone may actually like the gift, but they wish someone else was giving it to them, not you.  At this point it’s probably best to scale back your efforts and refocus them on someone else who will actually appreciate them.

But it’s not always easy to tell. Most people are taught to be at least somewhat polite when someone does a nice deed for them. This politeness throws a lot of people off. Yet I’m here today to give you an easy decoder to help you determine if someone actually appreciates your good deeds and maybe has an interest in you. Read the following scenarios.

Scenario #1 

Man: “I was at the music store today and I remembered you said you didn’t have Pink’s second album and that you’ve been dying to get it, so I picked it for you. Here you go.”

Woman: “Oh, thanks. You shouldn’t have.”

Scenario #2

Man: “I was at the music store today and they were giving out free CD’s and I got an extra one for you. Hope you like M.C. Hammer.”

Woman: “Haha, thank you!”

In both scenarios, the guy gets points for thinking about the girl while he was at the music store, but clearly the guy in the first scenario put in more work. He remembered what she liked and actually spent his money to get it. However the girl gave a polite but unenthusiastic “Thanks”. Followed by  “You shouldn’t have”,  and when combined with “Thanks”, the meaning is often literal. She obviously likes the gift, but doesn’t really have any affection for the guy or worse might possibly be uncomfortable receiving gifts from him.

In scenario two, the guy basically snagged an old bargain bin CD that he doesn’t even know that she likes, yet the girl clearly has a certain level of interest him, which is indicated by her enthusiastic “Thank you!” She’s just happy that he was actually thinking of her while he was at the music store. His good deeds no matter how small will go rewarded with her.

When you say “thanks” to someone, it’s like a quick verbal pat on the back. The word itself doesn’t take much effort to say and it just rolls off your tongue. If you drop a pencil and someone picks it up for you, you’d say “thanks.” You basically would say thanks to just about anybody.

“Thank you” on the other hand is a verbal hug. It takes more effort to say and people often add some tonal emphasis on either the first or second word. Plus it’s more personal since it actually includes the word “you.”  Rarely do people say “Thank you”, and not mean it. It’s often a genuine expression of appreciation and possibly affection.

Obviously body language also plays a part, but don’t underestimate the subtle clues embedded inside even in our most common everyday phrases. It might save you some heart-ache or at the very least some of your hard earned money.  

Have you been in a situation where you were unsure if your good deeds were going under-appreciated? What verbal clues do you look for?

About anasebrahem

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