“No thank you” or “No, thank you”? Have you heard the one about the panda who walks into a cafe with a gun, orders a sandwich, fires the gun, and leaves? Ask British author, Lynn Truss. Her 2003 bestseller “Eats, shoots and leaves” bemoans the lost art of punctuation.
But what might be a case of “syntactic ambiguity” – when a reader/listener can reasonably interpret one sentence as having more than one possible structure – is actually me bemoaning the lost art of politeness.
On certain, not all, occasions lately, what’s been heard is silence, i.e. no thank you’s. Does the receiver of an act of kindness assume the giver has somehow understood “thank you” through telepathy? Or perhaps such an acknowledgement is passé or is rejected because it’s too de rigueur?
Look, I’m not from the #smartgen nor the #nextgen but from the #othergen. And I’m old school so that my favourite pastime is writing and sending notes of thanks, yes, paper and yes, snail mail. I purchase “thank you” cards so often that my friends have started gifting them to me and you can guess who receives the first one out of the pack.
Our lives are fast and fleeting. Has “thank you” disappeared along with “please, may I, pardon me”? Please say it isn’t so. The foundation of relationships is built on gratitude. When you experience loss in life and need help, what will ground you is gratitude. Wharton Professor Adam Grant says it best in his 2013 best-selling book, “Give and Take” and his 2016 TED talk , He describes how people are givers, takers, and matchers and how most effective leaders are givers.
When someone gives, offers, surrenders, volunteers, sacrifices their time to help you, will you remember to say those famous almost-forgotten last yet powerful words, “THANK YOU”? Because if you don’t, you might not get another chance to say these words again. Ever.