Stop Feeling Embarrassed About Thanking People.

It’s nice to know what is good in your life (even and especially when it seems like everything else is awful). But if you express it in the form of gratitude diaries, prayers, or meditation, you kind of turn that feeling into solitude. What about the people in your life for whom you are truly grateful? Could you tell them how you feel? Well no, many of us might say. Sounds very embarrassing.

If you’ve ever done this, you may have found that the recipient is more likely to be moved than embarrassed. We think this is mostly common sense, but recent research gives us some support.

Business school students were asked to write a letter to a classmate or another person in their life, “explaining why they were grateful to this person and describe what this person did for them and how it affected their lives.”

If both the author of the letter and the recipient were ready, the researchers asked both of them what they thought of the letter. Compared to what the letter writers had predicted, the recipients were more surprised, more positive (happy) about it, and less embarrassed.

Researchers have conducted similar experiments with other groups of people with similar results. Not all recipients completed the survey, there are other caveats, so this may not be a completely reliable, guaranteed correct result. But it’s probably fair to take this as a push in the right direction: get over yourself and send this capacious text, email, or thank you letter to someone who changed your life.


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