As busy people, it’s easy to get wrapped up in shooting off short texts and email answers, forgoing “please” and “thank you,” to save a minute, and hoping the people we’re communicating with know how highly we esteem them. Doing that becomes a habit, and that habit often leads to not even considering taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate others. We know, of course, that doing all those things are smart; investing in our relationships with others brings a great deal of return our way. Plus, it’s just nice, right? Who wants to be an efficient-but-not kind human? Not me. And I bet not you.

A couple of years ago, I realized I was on the edge of becoming exactly that person.  As a general rule, I’m a naturally gracious person. But with my VA, I got lazy. And I didn’t like it one bit.

At that time, I wrote to my VA, Nicole, and told her that while I felt sure that she knew how much I appreciated every single thing she did for me, I wanted to be more aware of always saying “please” and “thank you” (consciously), and of doing better to let her know just how highly I think of her and how deeply I hold her and our partnership in my heart.

Honestly, it’s the least I can give to this woman who supports me the way that she does. She truly deserves more than a gold star. She deserves the world from me.

If you’re sitting there thinking you’d like to be better at this, too, let me offer some suggestions.

To do it well, always start with a very sincere and genuine  “thank you.” Done mindfully, that’s almost enough on its own, you know?

“Please” comes next. It may seem extraneous, but it means so darn much to others.

They belong in pretty much every interaction you have with another human.

For the cherry on the sundae, from time to time, add a sentence where you say something like,  “I appreciate,” or, “_____________ means so much to me.” You get bonus points if you say it to her outloud, or send an email or card with ONLY this in it.

As to what you might appreciate/acknowledge or put in that blank, here’s a list of 25 beautiful things to get you started:

  1. Your sense of humor
  2. The way you look out for me
  3. How you make things easy for me
  4. The perspective you bring to my work
  5. Your sincerity
  6. The way you connect dots that I miss
  7. Your patience
  8. Your ability to switch gears; to zig when I zag
  9. Your natural graciousness
  10. Your calming presence
  11. That you’re often two steps ahead of me
  12. Your skill; you make everything so simple
  13. That you make being organized seem easy
  14. How you make my clients feel welcome
  15. Your sound advice
  16. Your curiosity
  17. Your can-do spirit
  18. Your willingness to have difficult conversations, believing they will make things better between us
  19. The way you pitch in when you see I’ve bitten off too much, again
  20. That you believe in what I’m doing
  21. Your kindness
  22. Your high standards
  23. That you work well with others
  24. Your maturity
  25. Your ability to help me see what needs to be seen

I probably could have given you 50, or 100, but this should get you started. What others would you recommend adding to the list? Drop a comment below and let me know.

And try this out and see how it improves your relationship.

You’re welcome. (that’s another great one to add to “please” and “thank you.”