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#181 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Storm Bride-I am pretty amazed and shocked that you feel like the more someone says please and thank you the LESS appreciative they probably are
That's not what I said. I said that a reflexive "thank you" doesnt mean anything to me. I also said that some of the rudest people I know always say "please" and "thank you". That's simple truth. These are people I know quite well, and they have no consideration for anybody else at all, but they wouldn't be caught dead forgetting to say "please" or "thank you"...meaningless noises that make them better than people who don't say them (at least in their eyes). That doesn't mean I automatically feel that people who say "please" and "thank you" a lot are "probably" not appreciative.

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...can I ask you something gently? Do you, in general, feel surrounded by horrible people? Do MOST people you encounter seem ungrateful/unappreciative and self-absorbed? If you do, I am so sorry. That totally sucks. Are these people perfect strangers or people close to you? I definitely do know people that seemed really nice until I really got to know them and people who seemed rude but had hearts of gold but that has only happened after knowing them for YEARS and really really well, I can't apply that to strangers....Now that I think about it, I do know exactly what you are talking about, if you are referring to some specific people you have had the misfortune of knowing really well. But why apply that to strangers? Why should only people who DON'T acknowledge kindness be given the benefit of the doubt? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Do you assume that the person who said "thank you" is probably more selfish than the person who didn't acknowledge you at all? Sorry I am being so intrusive, I just find it totally fascinating!!
I don't assume anything at all about people saying "thank you" or not saying "thank you". I don't assume the person saying it is appreciative or that the person not saying it is unappreciative. The words, in and of themselves are meaningless to me...that doesn't tmean they're negative. It means they're meaningless.

I'll take a real situation (ie. not a "thank you for shopping here" that's going to cost someone their job to omit) that's been mentioned a few times in this thread as an example. If a server brings someone a glass of water, and that person says, "thank you" without making eye contact or changing tone or aything, I don't find that inherently any more appreciative or meaningful than if a server brings a glass of water and the person makes eye contact and smiles, with their mouth closed, because they happen to be chewing or something. The words are just...window dressing, I guess. They just don't mean anything to me.

When it's addressed to me, it's all about context and tone. Sometimes, it means something, but the appreciation shows even without the words, so...again, I just don't care about them at all. I use them, because I was well trained in those particular manners (although, like many people I meet locally, I don't seem to say "please" all that much - lots of "thank you", but not so much "please"...for some reason, it doesn't seem to be very common around here). I don't care one way or the other if people say them to me.

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I was much more self-absorbed and ungrateful when I didn't say thank you as much. It's hard to say which came first, the feeling grateful or the saying thank you...
I'm very self-absorbed in some respects (related to social phobia and shyness, mostly). But, my level of self-absorption goes up and down - probably reaching its peak when Aaron died - and my usage of "thank you" stays pretty steady (with the caveat that I'm sure I just plain didn't even notice things like someone opening the door or stopping to let me pass when the grief was really raw). It's just autopilot stuff. People who think I'm "polite" for it basically think I had good parents, imo.

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#182 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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Whether or not you agree with saying please and thank you, if you live in N. America, they ARE culturally expected words. And people come off rude when they don't use them. And while many people will say "I don't need my kids to "fit in" to N. American culture" it is a huge disservice IMO to intentionally raise them to appear rude to others.
I touched on this in my last post, but North American culture isn't a monolith. I grew up saying "please" and "thank you", but somewhere along the way, I largely (not completely) dropped "please". I've noticed that's very common around here. It's not used anywhere near as extensively as it was when I was a kid, and the cultural expectation of it isn't very strong.

There are places in North America where manners are such that if I taught my kids to be polite by those lights, I'd be intentionally raising them to appear to be butt-kissers in my own area. (This is an area of slight conflict between me and dh - not so much that we argue, but that our styles are very different - because he's from TN, and manners there are much more ornate than they are here.)

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#183 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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VERY well said! I completely agree, especially the part about living in a society where people don't acknowledge someone else's effort.
People saying "please" and "thank you" aren't always acknowledging someone's effort. Sometimes, they're just acknowledging that they were taught to say that in response to certain cues. If you appreciate that kind of "please" and "thank you", then I'm glad for you that people say it. Personally, it makes my skin crawl that this is considered such a big deal, and is used as some kind of barometer of a person's worth.

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#184 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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People saying "please" and "thank you" aren't always acknowledging someone's effort. Sometimes, they're just acknowledging that they were taught to say that in response to certain cues. If you appreciate that kind of "please" and "thank you", then I'm glad for you that people say it. It makes my skin crawl, personally.
I guess I can't relate only because it is a rare occasion that I doubt person's thank you (I can't even think last time that happen in my life, honestly), and I don't understand what excuse do *I* have not to say it to someone to let them know I noticed their effort.

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#185 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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We are already a self centered society and I think it would suck to live in a society that encourages that self-centeredness by doing away with polite words.
I don't feel that getting rid of the words encourages self-centeredness at all, so we're operating from very different base worldviews right out the chute.

I was taught that this stuff is important, and saying those words is a habit that would take a lot of effort to break, and I don't see the point. But, that's what it is...a habit that was drilled into me by outside forces.

Actually...it's a shortcut. I don't have to make any real effort to show appreciation or feel grateful, because I can just say "thank you" at the appropriate cue and get a free pass as a "polite, courteous" person, and not a "jerk".

In these threads, the subject of not deliberately handicapping our children by failing to teach them manners comes up over and over again. So, people believe that other people fail to say "please" and "thank you", because their parents didn't teach them right...but still label them (mentally) as "jerks"? Really? "Your parents didn't teach you what they should have, so you're a jerk"? That doesn't sound like a polite, appreciative society to me.

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#186 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I guess I can't relate only because it is a rare occasion that I doubt person's thank you (I can't even think last time that happen in my life, honestly), and I don't understand what excuse do *I* have not to say it to someone to let them know I noticed their effort.
I agree. Everytime I say thank you I really mean it. I appreciate things others do for me, and I want them to know I appreciate it. My children say it as well, and I know they mean it. I can give them something, and the smile and say" Thank you momma!!". I don't think saying please and thank you are some weird society rule. I mean they are part of our upbringing and a standard we have set, but it's a good one. It all ties into being respectful and kind to others. It's very important that I teach my children how to be respectful and appreciative of others in the real world.
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#187 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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I guess I can't relate only because it is a rare occasion that I doubt person's thank you (I can't even think last time that happen in my life, honestly), and I don't understand what excuse do *I* have not to say it to someone to let them know I noticed their effort.
I don't see any reason why people should have to say it. It's that simple. The idea that there should be an excuse not to say a pair of words to someone just blows my mind.

I can't even imagine a world where people said "thank you" on cue, but I could believe they always meant it. I don't 'even get how that works.

You can teach people to say it where "appropriate", or you can teach people to say it out of appreciation. They're two different things. They can certainly overlap, but they're two different things.

I don't exactly "doubt" most people's thank yous. "Doubt" doesn't even come into it. In order to doubt it, I'd have to attach meaning to it. In many cases, I don't.

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#188 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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If a server brings someone a glass of water, and that person says, "thank you" without making eye contact or changing tone or aything, I don't find that inherently any more appreciative or meaningful than if a server brings a glass of water and the person makes eye contact and smiles, with their mouth closed, because they happen to be chewing or something. The words are just...window dressing, I guess. They just don't mean anything to me.
I could understand if one's mouth is full, and the waitress is in a hurry to turn away. A smile, eye-contact, nod - fine, they are pretty equal to saying the words "thank you", however, I think the reason why this whole not saying thanks deal bugs me is because I live it. My DH, when out at a restaurant per your example, doesn't always say thank you or acknowledge when the waitress refills his coke or brings him the ranch dressing he asked for. It makes me feel embarrassed, TBH, and *I* end up saying it for him many times. And yeah, he's not my child, so I don't say "where are your P's and Q's, honey?" But to relate to the OP, I do think it's important to model and teach this to our children - b/c somewhere along the way my DH didn't make that a habit. I can't imagine being a waitress and having every customer you served not say thank you when you came back and forth to their table. I would probably start to feel crummy and unappreciated. Even if 9 out of 10 people did say thanks, that 1 person might irritate me just b/c it IS expected when you do something for someone else.

I enjoyed azgirls post b/c I have seen my DH change for the better over the years - and I see it in his face/eyes when he says thank you to the bank teller and grateful. Whether or not saying it makes him seem less self-absorbed or entitled or whether it's the other way around - that he's realized at that moment to be thankful, I dunno - but I can see him sorta 'getting it' as opposed to not acknowledging their help and being on his way.

I guess I just see please and thank you as being pretty important in our daily communication with others, and think going through the motions w/o using them, whether one is genuinely thankful inside or not, seems so cold and ungrateful. I don't see any harm at all in modeling and teaching our children to use these social graces inside our home, and out. I, personally, LOVE that my DD often says thank you, mom when I make a yummy dinner or take her shopping with me. It just makes me feel good inside, and that's a positive thing.

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#189 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Wouldn't that just be 6 of one, half dozen of the other?

If it's intent that matters, then the word itself doesn't matter. So let's say we replace "Sorry" with "Oompa", "Thank you" with "Loompa", and "Please" with with "ZZzzzzzzzING!". Wouldn't people saying those words (or if we were to make up gestures, or dances, or facial expressions, whatever) STILL be the same thing? It really doesn't matter if you say "please" or "ZZzzzzzzING!", if you're using it as a way to be polite, you're still using That Generic Polite Word.

Right? Or am I missing something?
If you are, I am too. I think those words have meaning even if they are misused. "I love you" can be misused, but it's still meaningful. I don't care what language you say it in...

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#190 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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My dh has "exquisite" Southern manners. However, he also "fails" to say thank you to servers sometimes. In his case, it's a combination of legal blindness and pretty bad ADD. He simply doesn't notice. It has nothing to do with a lack of appreciation and a lot to do with the way his vision and brain work.

So, the focus on manners in our society makes me look polite, because I have very good awareness (usually) of what's going on around me, and makes my dh look impolite, because he lacks that awareness. Despite the fact that the pleases and thank yous are far more important to him, I'm the one who gets the "not a jerk" prize, for no effort at all.

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#191 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I don't exactly "doubt" most people's thank yous. "Doubt" doesn't even come into it. In order to doubt it, I'd have to attach meaning to it. In many cases, I don't.
Ok, maybe I'm getting closer to where we disagree.

You see, I believe in "No act of kindness, no matter how small is every wasted". For me, holding the door AND letting the other person know that you noticed their effort with a quick "thank you" are two little acts of kindness, acknowledging each other's existence, being good to each other in a quick passing moment; and no matter how small, neither one is a waste in my eyes.

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#192 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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People saying "please" and "thank you" aren't always acknowledging someone's effort. Sometimes, they're just acknowledging that they were taught to say that in response to certain cues. If you appreciate that kind of "please" and "thank you", then I'm glad for you that people say it. Personally, it makes my skin crawl that this is considered such a big deal, and is used as some kind of barometer of a person's worth.
Umm, no one has said anything about people saying "thank you" are worth more. It's just polite, plain and simple. And why on earth would someone say thank you if they weren't recognizing the other persons effort? You seem to be reading a lot into the motives behind other people saying please and thank you. I just don't see the reason to be suspicious - most people I know are good, decent, respectful people...so I assume they are just being nice and polite.

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#193 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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So, the focus on manners in our society makes me look polite, because I have very good awareness (usually) of what's going on around me, and makes my dh look impolite, because he lacks that awareness. Despite the fact that the pleases and thank yous are far more important to him, I'm the one who gets the "not a jerk" prize, for no effort at all.

Yes,I think so, b/c the whole reasoning behind saying thank you and being polite is consideration for the person you are speaking to. It doesn't matter if you are in fact grateful you were brought soup to eat but failed to say anything, for whatever reason - it will likely come across as "jerk-y" to the person who served you. They don't know what's inside one's head - all they hear is what comes out of their mouth.

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#194 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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Umm, no one has said anything about people saying "thank you" are worth more.
Several people upthread agreed that if someone doesn't say "thank you" for having a door held, they think "what a jerk". That's kind of a value judgment, imo.

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It's just polite, plain and simple. And why on earth would someone say thank you if they weren't recognizing the other persons effort? You seem to be reading a lot into the motives behind other people saying please and thank you. I just don't see the reason to be suspicious - most people I know are good, decent, respectful people...so I assume they are just being nice and polite.
I'm not reading anything into the motives. There are no motives. It's a habit. I think I'm probably a reasonably good, decent, respectful person, and most of my thank yous are meaningless. They're a habit. "When presented with this cue, reply with "thank you". Repeat as necessary." is drilled in at a pretty early age.

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#195 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Yes,I think so, b/c the whole reasoning behind saying thank you and being polite is consideration for the person you are speaking to. It doesn't matter if you are in fact grateful you were brought soup to eat but failed to say anything, for whatever reason - it will likely come across as "jerk-y" to the person who served you. They don't know what's inside one's head - all they hear is what comes out of their mouth.
This is kind of my point. People make all kinds of assessments about what's going on with other people, based on whether or not they say a particular set of words. It's a huge lie in our culture that these words mean certain things, so we assign those meanings to people who say or don't say them. In dh's case, his failure to say them (sometimes) "means" that he's being unappreciative or rude...except that it actually means he simply didn't see the glass being set down. So, despite the fact that I'm not as polite as he is, I get the credit for not being a jerk, simply because I don't have his particulary physical/neurological handicap.

Several people in this thread have commented that I'm making assumptions about the motives of people who say "please" and "thank you"...while making assumptions about the motives of the people saying (or not saying) "please" and "thank you". I make no assumptions at all.

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#196 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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I'll take a real situation (ie. not a "thank you for shopping here" that's going to cost someone their job to omit) that's been mentioned a few times in this thread as an example. If a server brings someone a glass of water, and that person says, "thank you" without making eye contact or changing tone or aything, I don't find that inherently any more appreciative or meaningful than if a server brings a glass of water and the person makes eye contact and smiles, with their mouth closed, because they happen to be chewing or something. The words are just...window dressing, I guess. They just don't mean anything to me.
But they are both acknowledgments that you (the server) did something for me that I didn't have to do myself. Neither are window dressing.

That same person that smiles nicely to the waiter might just go back to their job and be the biggest jackass boss in the world that makes everyone's job miserable. Because they *smiled* instead of saying saying "thank you" that somehow makes them a more "authentic" person? No, of course not, because their true personality is being a witch. A smile can be just as insincere.

Whether gesture or words, both can be hallow. And really, I think appreciation is a continuum. Saying "thank you" to the waiter will have the appropriate amount of appreciation in the voice. Saying "thank you" to the person that just pulled you from a burning vehicle is going to have the appropriate amount of appreciation in the voice. We're not always "you-saved-my-life-appreciative" but both the waiter and the life-saver need to be thanked for their actions. In word or deed... better yet, both... make eye contact and say "thank you". That's what I'm teaching my dd...you look at the person you are talking to and make some eye contact. Yes... yet another social more I'm burdening my dd with. <sigh>
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#197 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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Ok, maybe I'm getting closer to where we disagree.

You see, I believe in "No act of kindness, no matter how small is every wasted". For me, holding the door AND letting the other person know that you noticed their effort with a quick "thank you" are two little acts of kindness, acknowledging each other's existence, being good to each other in a quick passing moment; and no matter how small, neither one is a waste in my eyes.
Well I acknowledge people's existence all the time...nod of the head, a smile, whatever. But, while I do say "thank you" when someone hold the door (assuming I don't have my mouthful or something), I don't think of it as being an act of kindness. It's just a verbal noise. In most cases, it's fairly heartfelt, as having a door held for me is a pretty big favour when I'm struggling with a bunch of stuff, kids or both. (I remember wanting to just kiss a guy for holding a door when ds1 was a newborn and I was trying to figure out how to handle doors and strollers.) But, sometimes, it's just a cued reflex, and not even particularly well meant. I don't enjoy appearing "jerky" and have been well programmed to express appreciation for certain things, even when I don't feel it. Thus, the guy who "holds the door for me" from 15 feet away, making me feel as though I have to run for it, gets a "thank you", as well. I don't mean it, because I don't find it kind, and don't particularly appreciate it (and strongly suspect, from the number of times I've heard people complain about this, that he's standing there, thinking "come on, lady, hurry up - I haven't got all day").

Cued response. Meaningless, in and of itself.

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#198 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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But they are both acknowledgments that you (the server) did something for me that I didn't have to do myself. Neither are window dressing.

That same person that smiles nicely to the waiter might just go back to their job and be the biggest jackass boss in the world that makes everyone's job miserable. Because they *smiled* instead of saying saying "thank you" that somehow makes them a more "authentic" person? No, of course not, because their true personality is being a witch. A smile can be just as insincere.
That's true. IME, most people who have their mouth full and still bother to acknowledge the glass (dessert, fork, extra napkin, whatever) are actually trying to acknowledge something. The autopilot "thank you" isn't. This is one of the fundamental places where I don't see things the same way as the majority. I don't see these things as acknowledgements of anything, except that a cue has been given. I might as well say I was polite for heading into class when the bell rang.

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Whether gesture or words, both can be hallow. And really, I think appreciation is a continuum. Saying "thank you" to the waiter will have the appropriate amount of appreciation in the voice. Saying "thank you" to the person that just pulled you from a burning vehicle is going to have the appropriate amount of appreciation in the voice. We're not always "you-saved-my-life-appreciative" but both the waiter and the life-saver need to be thanked for their actions. In word or deed... better yet, both... make eye contact and say "thank you". That's what I'm teaching my dd...you look at the person you are talking to and make some eye contact. Yes... yet another social more I'm burdening my dd with. <sigh>
Appreciation is a great thing. Social mores? I'm not such a big fan. In any case, if you're teaching your dd to do those things, because it's nice to acknowledge when someone does things for you, I doubt it's a huge burden. If I happen to do something for her, I don't really care one way or the other, is all.

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#199 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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FTR, my "please"s and "thank you"s are always sincere and heartfelt. ALWAYS.

And it is a value I work hard to instill in my children. Pure appreciation for a kind act performed by someone else.
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#200 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Cued response. Meaningless, in and of itself.
Why is a cued response meaningless? One can be taught to, on cue, say thank you when appreciative of someone else's effort. I am honestly thankful most of the time when someone holds a door for me, brings me a refill of my drink at a restaurant, helps me with something, etc. So it's a cued response because when I feel gratitude, I say thank you.

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#201 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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But, while I do say "thank you" when someone hold the door (assuming I don't have my mouthful or something), I don't think of it as being an act of kindness. It's just a verbal noise.
Why don't you just say, "HONK blah snort" at them, instead, then? I mean if it's truly so meaningless?

I think you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. So common courtesies are common, and sometimes words are hollow, and people are brusque. Can we all get over that and use a couple words to say that we appreciate what is given, even if we don't have time to make a huge production out of it all?

Taking the time to say those words is in itself the courtesy. If you feel they're too automatic, say something else each time. I know I do. "How kind of you." "Why thank you." "That's so nice of you." "Thanks, I appreciate it."

On low-energy days, I say "thank you".

I worked at Starbucks, which often had a transaction time in the morning of about 15 seconds, tops. A lot of people didn't say thanks. I remember the faces of the people who did. It literally made my day. What "thank you" meant to me:

"Hi. I know we're busy, but I don't see you as an automaton or someone who is basically my coffee galley slave. I recognize that you are a person and deserve to be treated as such, as opposed to being barked orders at like a dog. We aren't friends or anything, but by nodding and smiling, I'm sharing a bit of humanity with you. I appreciate what you do."

Small words can be insincere, but they can also mean so much.

As for automatic responses--this is actually a longstanding ethical dilemma discussed by philosophers. Is an automatic response praiseworthy? On the one hand, we think of praiseworthiness as attributable only to actions performed freely, i.e. chosen. Yet automatic responses or conditioned responses are not performed freely in the classical sense. On the other hand, is not the whole point of becoming a good person and raising good people, to be the sort of person who doesn't even debate or question whether or not to (for example) jump in the lake and save the drowning toddler? Surely, by conditioning one's self to be that hero by always thinking of others and selflessly serving others, one is not in fact turning himself into an immoral or amoral person!

I automatically don't steal. Honestly, I really don't debate it. It's been decades since I was tempted by the pack of gum at the checkout counter. Does that make me as bad as the thief, or any less of a thief than the person who wants to steal, but doesn't?

Likewise, if I AUTOMATICALLY appreciate what others do from me and verbalize that, how is it less good or sincere?

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#202 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Why don't you just say, "HONK blah snort" at them, instead, then? I mean if it's truly so meaningless?
Because I wasn't trained to say "HONK blah snort", for one thing. Besides, enough people think I'm nuts as it is...I don't need to give them any more fuel, thanks!

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I worked at Starbucks, which often had a transaction time in the morning of about 15 seconds, tops. A lot of people didn't say thanks. I remember the faces of the people who did. It literally made my day. What "thank you" meant to me:

"Hi. I know we're busy, but I don't see you as an automaton or someone who is basically my coffee galley slave. I recognize that you are a person and deserve to be treated as such, as opposed to being barked orders at like a dog. We aren't friends or anything, but by nodding and smiling, I'm sharing a bit of humanity with you. I appreciate what you do."
I haven't worked retail. I did work reception (well...kind of - the front desk was part of my job, anyway) for many years. I also had many small transactions each day. And, what "thank you" usually meant was...well, not much of anything, to be honest. (Sometimes, it meant "I've been trained to show my appreciation by making a verbal noise at you, therefore I'm going to waste a couple seconds of your time, which doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but I don't have 14 other lines ringing".)

Likewise, I said "please" about 100 times a day (okay - probably not every day). It meant "this is the set speech I have to give you before my finger plunges to the "hold" button, otherwise you'll complain and I may get a reprimand".

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As for automatic responses--this is actually a longstanding ethical dilemma discussed by philosophers. Is an automatic response praiseworthy? On the one hand, we think of praiseworthiness as attributable only to actions performed freely, i.e. chosen. Yet automatic responses or conditioned responses are not performed freely in the classical sense. On the other hand, is not the whole point of becoming a good person and raising good people, to be the sort of person who doesn't even debate or question whether or not to (for example) jump in the lake and save the drowning toddler? Surely, by conditioning one's self to be that hero by always thinking of others and selflessly serving others, one is not in fact turning himself into an immoral or amoral person!
This is so far afield from saying a word that I can't even follow the extension very well. Obviously, we try to teach our children to value other people's lives, time, property, efforts, etc. etc. etc.

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Likewise, if I AUTOMATICALLY appreciate what others do from me and verbalize that, how is it less good or sincere?
It's not. I'm not talking about automatically appreciating something. I'm talking about automatically saying something. "Thank you" doesn't inherently mean "I appreciate you/what you did".

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#203 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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Appreciation is a great thing. Social mores? I'm not such a big fan. In any case, if you're teaching your dd to do those things, because it's nice to acknowledge when someone does things for you, I doubt it's a huge burden.
Actually, I'm surprised that I even said that. For some kids, it is a big burden. Maybe that's why this strikes home for me more than it used to. DS1 easily picked up on all this stuff, and never batted an eyelash at making the appropriate noises at the appropriate cues. DD1 has a bloody awful time with it, and I've reached the point that I hate that she's learning that being embarrassed, humiliated and made a spectacle of doesn't matter, as long as she does what other people expect of her and shows her "appreciation" of attention, gifts, etc. that she doesn't want, anyway.

Other people might think we're good parents for teaching her this stuff. I feel like an ogre.

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#204 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Ok, maybe I'm getting closer to where we disagree.

You see, I believe in "No act of kindness, no matter how small is every wasted". For me, holding the door AND letting the other person know that you noticed their effort with a quick "thank you" are two little acts of kindness, acknowledging each other's existence, being good to each other in a quick passing moment; and no matter how small, neither one is a waste in my eyes.
This!

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#205 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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Actually, I'm surprised that I even said that. For some kids, it is a big burden. Maybe that's why this strikes home for me more than it used to. DS1 easily picked up on all this stuff, and never batted an eyelash at making the appropriate noises at the appropriate cues. DD1 has a bloody awful time with it, and I've reached the point that I hate that she's learning that being embarrassed, humiliated and made a spectacle of doesn't matter, as long as she does what other people expect of her and shows her "appreciation" of attention, gifts, etc. that she doesn't want, anyway.

Other people might think we're good parents for teaching her this stuff. I feel like an ogre.
If you think people are humiliating/embarrassing/making a spectacle your child you should tell them to lay off. There's nothing wrong with setting boundaries. No one here thinks that children should be forced to be polite when people are abusing them.

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#206 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Well I acknowledge people's existence all the time...nod of the head, a smile, whatever. But, while I do say "thank you" when someone hold the door (assuming I don't have my mouthful or something), I don't think of it as being an act of kindness. It's just a verbal noise. .
Of course it is. It's a small gesture of appreciation, a small act of kindness. You can choose not to say anything, if it's truly that meaningless as you say.

You are acknowledging the person holding the door. You don't have to do that. When you choose to say thank you, you are choosing not to ignore the person that just did something nice for you. That's a tiny act of kindness that lets other people know you see them. No matter how small - never wasted.

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#207 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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Of course it is. It's a small gesture of appreciation, a small act of kindness. You can choose not to say anything, if it's truly that meaningless as you say.

You are acknowledging the person holding the door. You don't have to do that. When you choose to say thank you, you are choosing not to ignore the person that just did something nice for you. That's a tiny act of kindness that lets other people know you see them. No matter how small - never wasted.
For most people though, it is not an act of kindness. It's reflexive response they have because they were taught from an early age that how they feel or act that makes them polite, but it's what they say. As long as they say "thank you" they are good people even if they only say it because it's expected.

There have been many instances where I have felt acknowledged without a single word from the other person, and there have been even more instances where I have felt like I don't actually exist by people who have said "thank you".

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#208 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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For most people though, it is not an act of kindness. It's reflexive response they have because they were taught from an early age that how they feel or act that makes them polite, but it's what they say. As long as they say "thank you" they are good people even if they only say it because it's expected.

There have been many instances where I have felt acknowledged without a single word from the other person, and there have been even more instances where I have felt like I don't actually exist by people who have said "thank you".
But it isn't the words that are the problem in these cases. It is the ability of some people to convey gratitude and others to accept it authentically based on the common courtesies around "please and thanks". Based on this thread it seems to me that those who are able to acknowledge there is value in those words also work hard to convey gratitude authentically and to teach the art of appreciation and the value in expressing it in a socially normative way to their kids.

As we can't always know what is behind another person's intent when the say please or thanks, we can either choose to see things with positive intent or choose to be cynical about the intent of others. I'd rather live in the world with the former.

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#209 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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For most people though, it is not an act of kindness. It's reflexive response they have because they were taught from an early age that how they feel or act that makes them polite, but it's what they say. As long as they say "thank you" they are good people even if they only say it because it's expected.
I see it as a choice. I can choose not to say it, unlike Pavlov's dogs couldn't quite choose not to salivate, yk?

Assuming that people only say for their own good appearance is assuming the worst of people. This is not my approach to life, yk? I choose to assume the best.

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There have been many instances where I have felt acknowledged without a single word from the other person, and there have been even more instances where I have felt like I don't actually exist by people who have said "thank you".
Again, I have no idea where you guys are coming from, because that has not been my experience over here. In this area, most times when people don't say thank you for the little things - they act entitled all around. Can I envision a scenario where thank yous are said with rudeness? Sure. But I cannot recall last time someone saying thank you in a rude way to me. I CAN recall a few scenarios where I observed or experienced people not saying thank you and not acting with appreciation, yk?

If words are as meaningless as you say, does that mean that you will not say it when you ask for directions and the person tells you how to get to the place? Does it mean you will not say thank you to the person holding the door? If actions speak louder than words - then your actions will tell you how you really feel about those words. Do you say them?

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#210 of 256 Old 07-15-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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I was thinking about this thread this morning. I sometimes run in the mornings, on the streets near my house. Most of the streets don't have sidewalks, so I'm running on the side of the road, facing traffic. Some of the cars coming toward me come within inches with their side-view mirrors. Other cars swerve way out to give me several feet of space when they pass.

This morning I was reflecting on the fact that, when cars swerve around me, I tend to give a little wave and a silent "thank you". I actually think the words in my head. When I noticed this morning that I was doing this, I at first thought it was a little dumb. Obviously the people to whom I am directing my thanks don't hear it.

However, the act of thanking people who do me a kindness makes me more aware of the fact that such kindness exists. Thanking people may be partly automatic, but at the same time it pulls me into a bit of gratitude, which then makes me further appreciate the things in my life that deserve thanks. Don't positive-thinking gurus sometimes advise people to start gratitude journals, in which they write down things they are thankful for, in order to get into a more positive frame of mind? Saying thank-you out loud (or in my head), gets me into the same space--recognizing and showing appreciation for acts of kindness, even very small ones like not mowing me down as I jog on the side of the road.

I like to say it. I say thank-you all the time for things that don't even need thanks: "Thanks, kids, for going to the amusement park with me!" and "Thanks, DD, for suggesting we have donuts for a treat; they were delicious." are the most recent two. I guess I see thanking someone as being an act of warmth, rather than an act of oppression, and saying it benefits me as much as receiving it.

I like please and sorry, too, but maybe not on as deep a level.
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