Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Please and Thank You

Portland, December 2010
Please and Thank you.  These are possibly three of the most important words in anyone's vocabulary, in my humble opinion.  These words will save a lot of misunderstanding and can just really go a long way in building relationships, whether it is a work relationship, a casual relationship, or with the ones you love and/or who love you the most.

I was at lunch with a friend the other day and she commented about an email she received from a co-worker. The intention of the email was to inform but without those three 'magic' words mentioned above, it came off cold and directive.  For grins & giggles, I'll give you an example.

Go to the store today and get milk.

Really?  Go get it yourself! (giggles)  Let's try this again.

Would you please go to the store today and get milk?  Thank you!

I have had some excellent mentors in my work life and this is only one of the best pieces of advice I ever received. It has served me so well that I try to include it in my everyday work life but I know I could do better at home.  One mentor taught me that I should use these words while communicating in every way, ie. phone, writing, etc.  I even know how to sign (American Sign Language) "thank you", although I  admit I  don't know the sign for "please".

The thing about the words "please" and "thank you" is that they are free. It doesn't cost anything to use these words and they can really garner so much goodwill when used. I also don't believe they are words that can be used too much. I sometimes use the abbreviations "pls" and "thx" on my post-it notes if I don't have space for the whole word. The gist is the same, I think.

Last night I had to stop at the store for a couple of things (not milk!) and a guy behind me had two items so I said "oh please, go ahead of me". He did.  And, when he was finished paying he turned to me and said "thank you".  I didn't think about it until this morning when I got ready to write this post. He was from a generation before me. 

I don't think it's too late to keep being a mentor for younger people.  Although, it is frustrating sometimes. Don't they teach you this stuff in kindergarden anymore???? 

Please consider what I've said here.  Thank you.


  1. I've heard it said before that if Please and Thank you are the only prayer you've offered up to God it would be enough. My boss at work is like the first example: "Go to the store and get milk" - such a joy to work for.

  2. @Dumb Mama ~ I say "kill him/her with kindness". I know, I know! Easier said than done but those times (and it's happened with me just recently) when I've found myself succumbing to others' unhappiness is when I'm the most unhappy myself.


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