“Sorry”, “Thanks”. Two words that are used often, but how often do we really mean it? More often than not these words are simply inserted into conversation almost idly.
Take this example which can be seen or heard in many places:
“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused”
Is the person or organisation actually sorry? Is it safer these days to say sorry than not to? What does sorry even mean?
Similarly we seem to express ‘thanks’ with equal aplomb. Think back over your day and try to recollect how many times we have said ‘thanks’, whether it is in person or through email sign off (‘Thanks’, ‘Many Thanks’). Now think back to how many of those occurrences were ones where you genuinely and wholeheartedly meant it in the truest sense of the word. I bet you’ve probably knocked ten or more ‘thanks’ off your total.
I was recently asked to spare some of my time to help out a colleague who needed a helping hand to run through some outstanding tasks. Of course I was more than happy to oblige. At the end of the meeting we couldn’t help but say thanks to each other and so we went our separate ways and I thought no more of it. A day or so later I received a short email which in short said thanks for helping, and I could straight away see that the sender was genuinely appreciative. We have perhaps become desensitised to being on the receiving end of so many ‘thanks’ or ‘sorrys’ during the day, so when this personal email popped up on my screen I could see the true worth of the statement and how it was more than just a passing 6 letter word.
I’m not advocating that we limit our use of thanks or sorry, after all I’m sure that when we’ve said these words we’ve done it out of genuine politeness and reason. So don’t change this! However try to do this next time, say thank you to someone, and genuinely mean it.