Expressing gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, cherish good experiences, and think more deeply about what they have rather than what they lack. If someone in your life selflessly does something for you and you want to express gratitude, common expressions of thanks might not seem like enough. If the person has improved your life in a powerful way, it’s important to find an approach to gratitude that communicates your utmost appreciation with sincerity.
Whether to your friend, colleague, neighbor, or family member, here are several thoughtful ways to express gratitude to those who should hear it.
1 Show a little enthusiasm
There’s nothing wrong with a little hyperbole. If you want to communicate how much your friend or relative made an impact, expressing gratitude with extra enthusiasm can emphasize the extent of your thanks. Phrases like “You made my day!” or “You saved my life!” are more potent than simply saying thank you.
2 Vary your vocabulary
When thanking someone for several things, you want to be sure to vary the words you use to show your appreciation. Combining a few of the most common “thank you” phrases, such as “Thanks a million. I appreciate you so much. You’re the best.” packs a much more powerful punch than only one. Plus, varying your expressions will allow you to express your thanks repeatedly while still sounding natural.
3 Get specific
What makes you particularly thankful for your sister, or your professor, or your best friend? It’s really easy to get specific when you are expressing gratitude—all you have to do is add “for” to the end of your initial phrase. For example:
- Thank you for . . .
- I appreciate you for . . .
- I am grateful to you for . . .
Naming what you’re really grateful for is a powerful way to communicate to your friend, family member, or colleague what it is about them that is so special to you.
4 Make it public
If you usually express gratitude by texting or calling, why not change up your usual format and take the message public? There are many formats for expressing gratitude that will make your words more of a proclamation. Whether you choose to shout out a colleague in a company-wide channel, spotlight your project partner during a meeting, or to show appreciation to a friend through a post on your Instagram story, there are many ways to go above and beyond a simple direct message.
5 Share a list of your favorite things about them
What are the defining characteristics of your most supportive friends? Are they generous? Honest? Non-judgmental? Perhaps they are great listeners or very encouraging. Whichever traits they exhibit that make you appreciate them most, tell them! Writing a list of the traits you admire most about them in an email or sharing them in a text message acknowledges their support in a way that feels personal.
6 Write them a handwritten letter
In today’s world of digital-first communication, a handwritten note is a real gift. Writing on paper feels more heartfelt than an email or text—perhaps because it is physical and can be displayed or stored forever. People know that taking the time to sit down and actually write a note of thanks is quite meaningful, and they will value your expression of gratitude even more for this reason.
7 Give them extra encouragement
While encouragement is usually associated with helping someone believe in themselves or grow their confidence, it can also take the form of affirmation. After your neighbor has surprised you by trimming the bush that separates your yards, tell them what a great job they did. Encouragement can also include phrases like “Way to go!” or “Awesome work!” Another way to show encouragement? Tell them that they encourage you!
8 Get deep
Occasionally, words might not seem like enough to convey the extent of your thanks. This is when it’s crucial to choose an expression that shows a deeper appreciation for the person and their actions. Be sure to only use these deep, emotional statements when truly merited so the person doesn’t question your sincerity. With an intonation that’s thoughtful and deliberate, you can say:
- I cannot thank you enough.
- Words cannot express how much you mean to me.
- I am more grateful to you than you’ll ever know.
- I’m eternally grateful.
- You have my deepest thanks.
- I’ll never forget your support and kindness.
Showing gratitude is one of the simplest, yet most powerful things we can do for one another. To make sure the gratitude you’re expressing in return is worthy of the deed, use any of these creative ways to show you’re truly thankful and be sure your message is deeply felt.