What Happened to Thank you?

Guy Nahmiach

I walked out of the restaurant and held the door open for the person walking in… And he just kept walking. I said “you’re welcome” and got no reaction back. What happened to “thank you?” Letting someone into your lane during traffic, there used to be a wave of a hand, as if to say “thanks for letting me in,” maybe a thumbs up

In restaurants, coffee shops and so many places we walk in and out of these days, do you say “thank you” to someone just doing their job? Is tipping a form of “thank you?”  Has the increased and automatic tipping caused a reduction of actually saying “thank you?”  I thank my dentist, my garage guy and anyone else that does anything for me, it’s just how I was raised. I don’t evaluate, I just say “thank you.” In fact…. I’m pretty sure I’ve been thanking readers for reading my column for years. It’s what you do.  

There are entire collections of printed “thank you” greeting cards in stores and supermarkets, electronic versions almost anywhere and everywhere. Saying “thank you”apparently is big business but sadly less and less verbalized in simple everyday situations… Or has the sentiment become more transactional rather than meaningful? 

Not every culture hands out “thank you’s” automatically. Europeans rarely say thank you after being given a compliment. It’s seen as a vain gesture. In many parts of the Middle East, the reply to “thank you” is “at your service.”

In Chinese, there’s a very famous phrase that’s called ‘xia tian.’ “Xia” means “thank you” “Tian” is “sky.” There are so many things and so many people we are thankful for, we’re grateful for that, let’s just say, “xia tian,” “thank the sky.” And when you say it that way, when you start to think about gratitude is toward everything and all beings under the sky that moves expression of gratitude away from a transactional understanding of gratefulness, but into an all-encompassing understanding of kindness toward the world and how your receiving all the good things, goodwill in the world.

I’m not equating thank you with gratitude, they are completely different things. Being grateful and thankful are forms of recognition for the environment around you. Generally speaking, I’m not looking for anyone to throw themselves at my feet, but a simple “thanks” will suffice. Thanks for holding the door, thank you for listening, thanks for college, thank you for dinner. I’m not doing favors for the “thanks,” but I am doing them for you. 

Wishing those that celebrate Passover a wonderful holiday and a very happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there. We’d be nowhere without our moms. 

As always…. Thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Neighborhood Gazette or its staff.

Share this article:

More Local News and Articles


Your Life is Now

“24 and there’s so much more” sang Neil Young, and that’s how I feel about this new year. If it’s

Read More »
Scroll to Top