Science-y, research-y, resource-y stuff
(In case you don't believe me when I tell you that it's good for you!)
I recently approached an old coworker about her ingratitude and one of her responses was that she had been “pretty successful in navigating [her] professional life with this approach.” Successful? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that people like working with her; this just means that people will tolerate her bad behavior.
So think about it… do people actually like spending time with you, working with you, or are they just putting up with you because they’d rather avoid conflict?
Here are some quick suggestions on limbering up those atrophied gratitude muscles!
- Say "thank you"
- Pay attention to the reaction from the other person. Do they smile? Do they come out of their daze? Do they light up? As a bonus, thank them in front of others. Who doesn't like praise for a job well done? Who doesn't like to be appreciated? This is a pretty foolproof method.
- Compliment someone
- How does it make you feel to be complimented? Are you willing to spread that joy to another person? This person may be having a terrible day, but you've noticed something about them, you've helped to validate them, and show that you appreciate them. Branch out from the physical appearance compliments as well. If the person has wonderful penmanship, if they're an artist or a writer, or a great public speaker/presenter, if they have a quick analytical mind, these are all things that can be appreciated
- This can happen in any number of ways. We all have things to offer each other. Find yours. This person presumably did you a favor or a kindness with whatever tools were in their wheelhouse. Acknowledge your own strengths and offer them something from yours.
- It could be as simple as a "Thank you! I got the next one!" This sharing of burden can make all of the difference. This lets you both know that you aren't in this world alone and someone has your back.