Mom Was Right! Power of 'Thank You'Mom was right (again). Saying thank you is not only polite, but also provides a real social benefit. And now there is evidence to prove that expressing gratitude leads to increased feelings of interpersonal warmth that in turn helps old and new relationships grow stronger and closer.
"Our study shows just how important it is to say thank you to someone," explained study leader and social psychologist Monica Bartlett at Gonzaga University. "A simple thank you leads people to view you as a warmer human being and, consequently, to be more interested in socially engaging with you and continuing to get to know you to build a relationship with you."
The study: Seventy university students were asked to provide mentoring advice to a high school student by reading and commenting on that student's university admissions essay. Later, half the mentors received a handwritten note supposedly from their mentee that included the following expression of gratitude: "Thank you SO much for all the time and effort you put into doing that for me!"
The results: The undergraduates who were thanked were far more likely to want to continue their relationship with their mentee than those who were not thanked. In addition, the grateful mentees were rated as having significantly warmer personalities.
The takeaway: Saying thank you--that is, expressing your gratitude--not only helps us develop new relationships, but also helps build up existing relationships.
The study findings were published in the journal Emotion.