Millennial Manners: Gratitude 101

We all could use a few tips and reminders now and then.

By Ben Jarzombek | Nov. 15, 2016

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These days, it seems like the end of October starts a crazy two-month period of various holidays, exam schedules and time off of class. It’s toward the end of the year that many of us think less about class, work and responsibilities, and instead consider all of the things we are thankful for. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that gratitude and etiquette are lost in this generation (that’s why I’ve been writing this column, after all). But I don’t think we’ve lost all sense of gratitude; if anything, I see our generation as one that values experiences and people more than the generations before us. However, there’s some value in more traditional forms of gratitude, and I think we all could use a refresher on that.

Mind your manners

Really everyone, it’s not that hard. It’s not like “please” and “thank you” are complex phrases that can only be uttered at specific times. Holding a door for someone isn’t a back-breaking endeavor, and I’m sure that we could all stand to be a little more polite at times when dealing with people. Manners don’t have to be an archaic or overcomplicated practice; just be a decent person more often.

Play along sometimes

While it may not be necessary in your friend group to constantly vocalize or show your gratitude, thankfulness tends to be very much appreciated with many people your senior. When addressing those older than you, a “sir” or “ma’am” is still a sign of respect. Reminding your family members how grateful you are for them can go a long way, even if you don’t find it necessary.

The thank-you note

I love the thank-you note so much, I could write this entire article about it. Somewhere along the way of being forced to write these monotonous notes (in cursive, too!) by my mother year after year, it finally clicked: these things are actually really nice. Have you ever received a handwritten note from someone? A thank-you note is a way of telling the recipient, “Hey, whatever I’m thanking you for meant so much to me that I paid for the stamp and wrote something for you with my bare hands.” Thank-you notes can mean so much that they actually can help your professional career. Did you snag a great interview? Send a thank-you note to the interviewer and anyone that helped you secure the interview. Just finished an awesome internship? Mail a note over to your superiors telling them how much you enjoyed the experience.

Gratitude isn’t a science. There’s no clear-cut way to express it, and there aren’t many rules attached. Being grateful is something that you just feel, and sometimes the best way to be grateful is just following those feelings and affirming your appreciation for those around you.

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