If I go through calisthenics to avoid a straight Thank You, you should see what I’ll do when someone tries to thank me for something.
Pish. No, it was no trouble. Please don’t thank me. It was my honor. It was nothing.
Okay, so the other day my friend Valerie tried to thank me for taking over some driving duties for the writing workshop. I am a grown woman, but this was my response:
“Pish,” I said. “Pish, pish.”
Pish isn’t even a word for grown-ups. I know this but I said it anyway.
Valerie got a look in her eye that I recognized. Yes, this is the same friend from yesterday’s post who taught me to just say thank you.
“What I mean to say is, you’re welcome,” I said.
What the hell does pish even mean? I guess it means don’t worry it was nothing, which is a rude response on a couple of different levels. When I dismiss someone’s thanks, I denigrate her feelings as well as my own. It causes that person to have to go to extra efforts to get me to understand that she is really, very grateful. It turns a pleasant social interaction into an exhausting conversation.
It happened again today when a work colleague tried to thank me for a brief tutorial I gave the department. Luckily I caught myself before a slippery slope of pishes got totally out of control.
You’re welcome, I said. Because my colleagues are important to me, and I went to some effort to deliver a presentation. I care about them and our mission, so I worked to make my remarks relevant. Denying that work would be a denial of how high my regard is for my colleagues.
Advice to me: Simplify my language. Stop creating mini tornadoes of verbal debris when a simple “thank you” or “you’re welcome” would be awesome.
It’s time for me to stop acting like my gifts aren’t worth anything. I know I’m cool, so whatever. You’re welcome.
List five things you did today for other people. How did you feel during each task or activity? If you were thanked outright, what was your response? Write about your own feelings and responses to being thanked.
Write an imaginary “you’re welcome” note to someone whom you helped or gave a gift to without thanks. What did you learn in this exchange? How did it feel for you to give of yourself in this instance? Do you resent not being thanked, or are you cool with it?
What opportunities to help others are you thankful for? Write about the enjoyment and peace you get out of helping others at work, at home, or in other relationships. How are you of extreme value to the people in your life?