Please and Thank You

Relationships are hard.  Of course, no one wants to admit that, do they?  Maybe it would better to say that maintaining meaningful relationships take effort and hard work – on a continual, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, basis.

Long-term relationships add even more effort to the mix.  If we add to that ‘close’ relationships, it becomes even more challenging.

Why?

Well, first of all, I’m no expert on the topic.  And, I don’t have any training in psychology .  But, if we were to take a few moments to analyze why close, long-term relationships are so challenging we might come up with a few clues:

  1. If the relationship is long-term, and close, we know the other individual quite well.  Knowing them well tends to limit conversation, for, after all, they already know what we are thinking, what we want, what we don’t want, etc…, so why talk about it?
  2. We tend to take for granted those things that seem unimportant to us.  So, if the person who you are in a relationship with has already seen you with your ‘hair down’, then why would you want to take the time to fix your hair?
  3. Courtesy is something of an after thought, if thought of at all.  This is the one I want to talk about.

When we receive something from someone, especially a stranger, we sometimes say, “Thank you”, to show our appreciation.  When we want something we sometimes say, “Please.”  But, over time these terms can get put into the closet.  For why should we say, “Thank you”, over and over again, day after day, especially for those things that we have come to expect, from those with whom we have a close relationship with?

But, “Please”, and “Thank you”, are more than simply signs of respect or acknowledgment.  They are our recognition of things that we don’t want to take for granted, and assume will always be there.  They are beneficial to both the giver and receiver.

While we are on the subject, “I’m sorry” is another term that is either not used at all, or is misused.  By some, this term is a sign of weakness, a sign that we are flawed, that we are not capable.  It is true that an ill-spoken “I’m sorry”, does little good and can actually do harm.  There is no sense in saying, “I’m sorry”, if you really are not.

I’ve had a lot of experience in the arena of “I’m sorry” as I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my short life.  I’m not proud of it, it is just the plain unvarnished truth.  I’ve found that it’s generally more meaningful if I can explain exactly why I’m sorry.  This forces me to experience the true regret of what I’ve done, instead of non-heartfelt “I’m sorry”, that has little benefit to the hearer.  In other words, if I have to say, “I’m sorry”, I want it to mean something.  If not to the hearer, at least to me.

So, back to “Thank you” and “Please.”  Can these things be overdone?  If done truthfully and heartfelt, probably not.  It would be like saying can love be overdone?  I’ve had all the love I can take, I can’t take anymore!  Probably haven’t heard that one lately, have you?

Now, if you are a logical person (like me) then you might ask, “What difference will it make, whether I say it or not?”  And, yes, there are times when your “Thank you” or “Please” may not be accepted.  But, that doesn’t diminish the importance of matters some deem as ‘trivial’ matters.  The courtesies extended may actually benefit the giver even more than the receiver.  Maybe that’s what the Lord meant when He said to do good to those who hate you.  There is no weapon that can defeat love, caring, kindness, and courtesy.  You can bring down the individual, belittle them, hurt them, even kill them, but their testimony cannot be destroyed or diminished.

So, to close off this discussion I offer this true life example.  We have a house mortgage with our credit union.  It is set up to be withdrawn from our ‘shares’ account once a month.  And, of course, it’s my job to ensure there are sufficient funds in there for the debit to occur.  So, faithfully, towards the end of each month I make my way and deposit a check into our account.  As I’ve been told innumerable times, “There is a two day hold on checks deposited, before it becomes available.”  Yes, I know, as I’ve been making this payment every month for the past 16 years.  This last time I did something different, however.  I engaged the teller in a conversation.  It had nothing to do with my transaction.  Just chit-chat about this, about that.   We talked, shared, laughed.  In other words, we accomplished nothing except to exchange courtesies.  I got my receipt, and was a little surprised.  I looked for the two-day hold which is customary.  Not there.  The check was immediately credited to the account.  Now, can I say for sure a little conversation and courtesy did this?  No.  But, who knows?  It makes me wonder how much could be accomplished if we simply treated each other a little better?

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One Response to “Please and Thank You”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    What a great blog! I enjoyed this so much and there was so much truth in it! I loved the last paragraph. Always love hearing about your own personal experiences. Some of them make me laugh. With this one I got a visual of you standing there having your conversation. Again…I laughed. As always, thanks for being such an inspiration! What a God given talent you have! Blessings…

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