It can be challenging to know how to show someone you appreciate them.
Each of us experiences gratitude and appreciation differently, so you can’t always know for sure what to expect. Still, every one of us likes being commended or shown gratitude.
The good news is there are things you can do to ensure you nail it when showing appreciation. And even if you’re not sure if a gift or offering will “land,” there are things you can do to increase your confidence.
Here are some ways you can show appreciation.
Get Outside Yourself
The biggest mistake we make when showing appreciation to another person is projecting what we like onto what they may like. Each of us receives and shows appreciation in different ways. A bit of empathy can go a long way.
Of course, there are pretty “universal” gifts and sentiments you can offer—chocolate, handwritten notes, money, gift cards, etc. But even then, you should be careful.
Take some time to think about what the person you’re giving a gift to might like. Consider their lifestyle choices and what they value. If they’re health-conscious or have certain food allergies, even a go-to item like chocolate might not be the best offering you can give.
Deploying empathy, at its core, is about having respect for other people. When you take time to do a good job, you embody respect for the other person. No matter how you decide to celebrate them or which gift you choose, they’re sure to feel that.
It doesn’t hurt to ask around when trying to show compassion or gratitude. If you’re targeting one person specifically, ask their friends or people they work with what they might like. Be sure to explain why you’re wanting to commend them in the first place so that any gift ideas they come up with are contextual.
This is always a better strategy than shopping or showing appreciation by “category” of person. Not all women love chocolate and not all men love a bottle of whiskey. Many do, but you taking the time to find something they’ll like is worth it.
If asking around isn’t possible, you can do other forms of reconnaissance. Look online and see if you can find people talking about giving a gift to “X” (your in-laws, a coworker, etc). This could help you decide how to celebrate the person.
Celebrate Inner Qualities
People love being acknowledged. In fact, many people have what’s called an “external validation mental model.” This means much of their actions and a lot of their thought goes into how they can receive praise from others.
Showing someone you appreciate them should be about them, not their actions. This applies to everyone, even if you’re their boss and you are trying to say thanks for them landing a big client. The amount of money they brought in isn’t them—it’s an action they took.
If you want to know how to show someone you appreciate them, start by celebrating their inner qualities. Look at their character or what makes them uniquely them. This is a way to say thank you, as well as other nice things, such as, “I see you and appreciate the person you are.”
Rest assured, this type of acknowledgment will stick much longer. And if you’re giving a gift to someone you work with or see often, it’s an awesome way to grow your relationship with that person.
Give a Heartfelt Gift
There are so many different ways to give a gift to show gratitude. But it’s not always about how much you spend or what lengths you go to deliver an awesome present. Sometimes, the opposite is better.
A handwritten note or something you take the time to create yourself can be an even better gift than something expensive. A Visa gift card tells a person, “You (or your actions that I’m celebrating) are worth this amount of money to me.”
That isn’t to say giving a gift card isn’t a nice present or something people enjoy. It is, but the message money sends isn’t that deep.
A handwritten note or a homemade gift, on the other hand, says, “You’re worth my time. I took a moment to consider who you are. Here are my thanks.”
What could you create in twenty minutes that will end up in a scrapbook or on someone’s wall for the next decade?
Remember Small Acts Count Too
If you want to know how to show love, remember that it’s not always about grandiose acts. Celebrations or award ceremonies are nice and certainly memorable. But it’s always worth exploring how you show gratitude daily, too.
Ask yourself if there’s a way you could show more appreciation. Consider the benefits of starting a gratitude journal, or even a daily practice. Taking two minutes at the start of each day to think about what you’re grateful for can boost relationships and even give you a positive outlook on the day.
Simple actions can also go a long way. Has the person you’re trying to appreciate told you something in the past that would be useful now? An errand or a chore checked off the list could be an awesome way to say thanks.
How to Show Someone You Appreciate Them
Learning how to show someone you appreciate them isn’t about whipping out your credit card or taking bold action.
It’s a quieter process and one that involves simply taking some time to be reflective and specific. People appreciate feeling seen just as much as they like being told they did a good job. If you take an approach that does both, the person is very likely to feel the appreciation you’re trying to convey.
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