Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thanks for nothing

I really hate the words "Thank you." It just never feels like it's ever enough.

When I'm at work, busting my ass to fix a computer problem for a customer, they'll thank me for helping them out. But it feels empty to me. I know I'm just doing my job, and I'm being paid nicely for it, but I wish they'd do little more to show their appreciation. Maybe a little kickback or bribe. A small snack, an offer of an alcoholic beverage after hours, a few extra bucks out of their own pocket. If you really were thankful for helping you out, you'd SHOW me. Or tell my boss.

On the reverse side, "thank you" doesn't properly show my gratefulness for someone helping ME out. I could say it until I was blue in the face, and I'd still fall short. Doesn't matter who: family members, friends, customer service. I usually want to offer someone something in return. "Hey, I'll buy you beer". "You want me to come over and give you a hand with that?". Seriously, is there anything I can do to repay you? I'd like to give what I get; I don't want to feel like I owe anybody anything.

When I was in college, my roommate Paul talked about this book he read about the five languages of love. Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. I speak those last four languages pretty well. I want to spend time with the people I care for. I love gifts, usually receiving, but I'll put a lot of thought into giving something from the heart. I always want to lend a hand or borrow someone else's. Then there's the handshakes, pats on the back, man-hugs.

That first language? I understand most of it, but when you say "thanks", you might as well be talking French or Japanese, Arabic or Portugese. I'll show my appreciation for that on my face for about two seconds, then turn away in disappointment with a blank stare (I don't actually stare blankly, but that's how I feel on the inside).

Need help showing your love for me? I'd take advice from Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt on that one.

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