Show appreciation for the gift giver, rather than the gift. Here’s why.

What’s your first instinct when you receive a gift? To say “Thank you”, of course! But there are different ways to say thank you that can have different impacts on relationships. Interestingly, research has shown that the best way to show gratitude is by focusing on the gift-giver, rather than the gift. An interview with Barbara Fredrickson on ‘elegant social coordination’ revealed this. She found relationships improved significantly when thanks were given to the person, not just for the gift. Positive psychology trainers love examples like this, because they show how powerful everyday communication can be.


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Next time you receive a gift, don’t talk about the details of the present. Instead, express your gratitude to the giver. Tell them they are kind and thoughtful and they put a smile on your face. Saying that will help put a smile on theirs.


About the author of this fast fact:

Eleanor Shakiba is a master trainer. She runs workshops in positive psychology techniques such as positive deviance, learned optimism, constructive communication and positive leadership. Eleanor can help your people build a thriving business, and a flourishing workplace culture. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D practitioners. She also runs a range of retreats and workshops for trainers and facilitators.