When was the last time you said thank you to a stranger? Maybe today. Maybe not for a good while. Either way, we have a simple challenge for you: thank five strangers by the coming Friday.
It’s second nature for some people to say thank you when someone expresses kindness to them, but it’s not automatic for all of us, and sometimes we don’t think beyond the familiar situations where thank-you gestures feel natural.
In light of that, we’re challenging you to say thank you to five strangers this week. Here are some common instances where a thank you would come in handy, and be appreciated by the person receiving your words.
- Say Thank You If Someone Holds the Door for You: This is one of the most common times people say thank you, but don’t do it mechanically anymore—be genuine.
- Say Thanks to the Cashier Ringing Up Your Purchases: Yes, they’re getting paid to do this job, but if you’ve ever been a cashier, you know it’s a stressful job. A “Thank you for ringing up my purchases” may put a much-needed smile on their face.
- Say Thank You to the Person Who Lets You Cut in Front of Them in Line: It’s common to let someone cut in front of you at the store when they only have one item, and you have a cart full. Next time this happens to you, say thank you. That person just shaved a few minutes off your time in the store.
- Say Thank You When Someone Offers You Their Table: If someone is leaving when you walk into the coffee shop or the bar and gestures for you to take their table, say thank you. They saved you from searching for a space, and maybe that’s the only available spot (so now you don’t have to wait).
- Say Thank You to the Person Stocking the Shelves While You’re Shopping: We get busy in our lives and forget all of the work other people do to make life more convenient for everyone. Stop the next time you pass someone stocking shelves at the store and thank them for the job they do.
Feel free to reach beyond our suggestions, though. See a member of the custodial staff at your work, but you’ve never talked to them? Say hello and thank them. There are opportunities all around you to offer thanks.