Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, April 20, 2019 01:18:20 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Expressing gratitude can be so hard to do

photo by

By
12th-Sep-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

David Ludden, PhD :
The most important factor in a long and happy life is having a good social network you can depend on. We're pack animals, and we simply can't go it alone. Every day, we cooperate with others, we help them, and they help us. Yet in the daily give-and-take, we so often fail to express our gratitude to those who make a difference in our lives.
"Surely they know how grateful I am," we think. "I wouldn't want to embarrass them by getting so emotional." This reluctance to say thanks is odd, considering how both scientific research and common experience has shown that expressing gratitude boosts the mood of both the expresser and the receiver, thus strengthening the emotional bond between them.
Then why are we so reluctant to say thanks? This is the question that University of Chicago psychologists Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley asked in a set of studies recently reported in the journal Psychological Science.
The researchers start out by noting that we all have an egocentric bias that makes it difficult for us to accurately predict how other people-or even ourselves-will feel in a particular situation. That is, we tend to assume that the way we currently feel is the way others feel, or how we'll feel at some later time. Well-known examples are as follows:
People believe they'll feel happier if they spend money on themselves but are in fact happier when they spend it on others.
People believe that engaging in a conversation with a stranger will be an unpleasant experience, but afterward they report it as positive.
Likewise, when introverts are instructed to pretend to be extraverted in a social situation, they later report that they enjoyed the experience more than others who remained introverted in the same situation.
Our egocentric bias thus leads us to systematically underestimate the positive value that social interactions will have for us.
With respect to expressing gratitude, Kumar and Epley suggest that this egocentric bias plays a role in two ways. First, since our gratitude is obvious to us, we assume it must be obvious to the other person as well. Psychologists call this mindset the curse of knowledge. That is, if you know something, it's hard to imagine that other people don't know it as well. "It's obvious," we say. But nothing is ever obvious.
Second, we often feel uncomfortable when we have to express certain emotions because we're not sure how to go about doing so. We struggle for the right words to express our feelings, and in the process we assume the receiver will feel just as uncomfortable hearing about our gratitude as we feel in expressing it. In terms from social psychology, actors are more concerned about competence-saying or doing things in just the right way-while others usually judge us according to our warmth-that is, the perceived sincerity of the emotion we express. And so, while we struggle with our competence, those around us are touched by our warmth.
To test the idea that expressing gratitude can be difficult due to the social-cognitive biases outlined above, Kumar and Epley performed a series of experiments. Although each experiment was designed to test a specific aspect of the theory, the basic procedure and results were similar across the board. In a nutshell, participants were asked to write a letter of thanks to someone who had made a difference in their lives. Immediately after that, the participants answered questions relating to their mood, their feelings while writing the letter, and how they expected the recipient to feel on receiving the letter. The researchers then contacted the recipients and asked how they felt about the thank-you note.
After sending the letter, participants reported a boost in mood, saying that expressing their gratitude in words had been a positive experience for them. However, they still underestimated how surprised their recipients would be at receiving the letter, in line with the curse of knowledge, whereby we assume that what we know should be obvious to others. In fact, the recipients were quite surprised not just to receive a thank-you note but also by the content of that letter. In other words, the recipients generally didn't know the impact their kindness had had on the letter writer.
Furthermore, the letter writers expected the receivers to feel uncomfortable about the expression of gratitude, but this wasn't the case. And in follow up questions, the researchers determined that was due to the competence-versus-warmth issue we discussed earlier. That is to say, while letter writers felt awkward as they struggled to find the right words (competence), the letter receivers were deeply touched by the expression of gratitude (warmth), regardless of the actual words that were written.
Several lessons for life can be drawn from this study. First, don't be cursed by knowledge. That is, don't assume others know what you know. What's obvious to you may not be obvious to them. People really can't read your mind, so if you tell them what you're thinking, it's likely to be news to them.
As a corollary to this, people often do think they can read your mind, and they'll make all sorts of inferences about what you're thinking and feeling. They're also often wrong, so by expressing straightforwardly what's on your mind, you clarify a lot of misunderstanding. The importance of expressing gratitude is just one aspect of the general need to communicate in an honest and open manner.
Second, worry less about competence and focus your attention more on warmth. In the end, no one cares whether you used exactly the right words. Rather, what they care about is your warmth, that is, the sincerity of the emotion you express. In fact, words that are too skillfully crafted can come off as insincere, so it's much better to use simple words and straightforward language.
This advice works not only for expressing gratitude, but also in other awkward situations such as giving your condolences or even asking someone out on a date. Afterward, no one will remember the exact words you used. But they will remember the emotions you expressed, and how much they were touched by them.

(David Ludden, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Football »

FIFA backs English players' social media boycott over racism


AP, England :FIFA is backing a 24-hour social media boycott by professional players in England in a protest against racial abuse and revealed plans for a new global campaign to eradicate discrimination in soccer.Following a series of high-profile cases in recent weeks, the Professional Footballers' Association has gathered support from ...

International »

US President Trump declares victory on Mueller report D-Day


President Donald Trump, backed by his attorney general, declared himself fully vindicated on Thursday in the investigation into Russian election meddling and alleged collusion with his campaign - even before the American people and lawmakers see the full probe report."Game Over," Trump tweeted, using a "Game of Thrones" style montage ...

Entertainment »

Shanta Jahan in Australia for hosting


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Shanta Jahan is a popular host of present time. Though she acts sometimes but always feels comfortable to present herself as a host to all. For the first time Shanta went to Australia to host a show. She left Dhaka at night on April 18. Today is ...

Editorial »

One is punished for another's sin!


LOCAL media reported that a day labourer was allegedly sent to jail on Wednesday for not paying electricity bill of Tk 4007, even though his house at Mochagora village in Muradnagar upazila in Cumilla district had no electrical line. On Thursday evening, Chief Judicial Magistrate granted him bail after hearing ...

Cricket »

Sri Lanka dump Chandimal, bring back Thirimanne for World Cup


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka Thursday dumped established stars including former captain Dinesh Chandimal to hand batsman Lahiru Thirimanne and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay a place in their World Cup squad.Chandimal, who was one-day captain until last October, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga were all ...

Cricket »

Senior players need to take the responsibility: Faruk Ahmed


Former chief selector Faruk Ahmed insisted on the performance of the senior players, stating that they need to take the onus if Bangladesh want to do well in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.According to Faruk, the condition should give Bangladesh a confidence, given that they stormed into the semifinal ...

Entertainment »

Mehazabien’s Boishakhi works create viewers’ attention


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :For the last few years, Mehazabien Chowdhury established her strong position in media by virtue of her acting quality and skill. She is now getting positive response for acting in two Boishakhi plays. Afran Nisho was her co-actor in these two plays - Tom & Jerry and ...

International »

Turkish opposition takes control of Istanbul, re-run appeal still pending


Reuters, Istanbul :Turkey's main opposition candidate took office as Istanbul mayor on Wednesday after a stunning victory over President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, but the new head of the country's largest city still faces an appeal for the vote to be re-run.The final result of the March 31 local elections ...

Editorial »

Power politics in Egypt


A HUGE majority of Egypt's MPs on April 16 approved constitutional amendments to allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in power until 2030. The amendments were initially introduced in February, however after lengthy debates and discussions favouring the Egyptian society it was updated earlier this week. "The president's current term shall expire ...

Football »

Iniesta's J-League club Kobe part ways with coach Lillo


AFP, Tokyo :Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta's Vissel Kobe have terminated the contract of manager Juan Manuel Lillo following a poor run of results, the Japanese club said on Wednesday.The 53-year-old former Real Sociedad and Zaragoza boss won just two of six games since taking charge last October as star-studded Vissel ...

International »

US waging 'financial war' against Palestinians


AP, Ramallah, West Bank :The new Palestinian prime minister on Tuesday accused the United States of declaring "financial war" on his people and said an American peace plan purported to be in the works will be "born dead."In his first interview with international media since taking office over the weekend, ...

City »

Various organisations formed a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday marking the International Krishok Sangram Dibash-2019.


Entertainment »

Priya Bapat to take up a web series


Web Series are surely the in thing nowadays and so many actors, irrespective of their stardom, are being seen in them. Marathi superstar Priya Bapat has also bagged a web series called City Of Dreams. Sharing her experience of being part of the series, she says, “Web series are now ...

Editorial »

Urgent steps needed to check outbreak of diarrhoea


AT the advent of summer this year, the number of diarrhoea patients has already crossed the recent records. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and the other city hospitals are struggling to tackle the surge in diarrhoea patients. The diarrhoea patients admitted to the ICDDR,B has crossed the number ...

Cricket »

Tearful Taskin vows to make a strong comeback


Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed vowed to make a strong comeback after being snubbed from the 15-member World Cup squad, announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Tuesday.Chocked with emotions as tears were rolling down from his cheek Taskin shared his disappointments with media."Its' ok just pray for me," Taskin ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news