Why writing a thank you letter is important
It’s good both for the sender and the receiver
Aug 13, 2018
Do you ever feel like you’re annoying or making things awkward when you just want to be polite and grateful to someone—saying “thank you” in particular? If yes, you’re not alone. And you’re wrong.
Two psychologists found that this kind of thinking called “egocentric bias” leads to undervaluing the positive effects of expressing gratitude more often.
In their research published in the journal Psychological Science last month, they conducted experiments where participants wrote gratitude letters and then predicted how surprised, happy, and awkward recipients would feel. And boy, were they wrong.
When the recipients of letters reported how receiving thank you notes actually made them feel, it showed that senders “significantly underestimated how surprised recipients would be about why expressers were grateful, overestimated how awkward recipients would feel, and underestimated how positive recipients would feel.”
Senders thought they’d induce a 3 at the happiness rating on the questionnaires. However, recipients ticked a 4 or 5. Also, most recipients didn’t care about the writing that much—they cared about warmth, according to Kumar and his co-author Nicholas Epley, a professor at the University of Chicago.
“They think it’s not going to be that big a deal,” says researcher and psychologist Amit Kumar to New York Times. He’s a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and studies well-being.
So, go on. Stop being so self-conscious and send that long overdue thank you note.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.
Read more by Yazhmin Malajito:
All the best places you can bring your pet for a date
Want to discover UP Diliman’s secret spots? Take these free walking tours
Remembering the “Rape of Manila”
I tried to get my boyfriend into skincare. Here’s what happened
UP students and staff have a new shoulder to cry on: emotional support dogs