Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

Archive for November 18th, 2009

Powerful phrases: Sorry and Thank you

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I’m trying to be better about saying I’m Sorry and Thank You. They are fairly essential sentences, and I could write this post from several specific angles. Instead, I’m taking a general approach.

These two sentences are beneficial to any kind of relationship, personal or professional. I’m still having trouble finding the original data, but by now we’ve all heard about how Doctors can avoid malpractice claims by simply saying I’m Sorry to their patients (and meaning it!).¬† It is also great to get used to saying it to people you care about, especially significant others. When your significant other is upset with you,¬† no matter how unjustified you may think they are, say you’re sorry. Do not defend yourself first. If you must, say “I’m really sorry that you feel that way, but (insert your defense).”

Side note: Remember to use I statements¬† (this post is channeling the psychology major in me). I statements are basically just sentences with you as the subject, talking about your thoughts and feelings. Focusing on I statements means you’re not focusing on You statements, which usually means you’re not actively blaming the other person in your defense. You’re defending/explaining yourself; not accusing them.

Saying Thank you is a slightly different thing than saying I’m Sorry, and should be easier to pick up as a habit. Admitting you’ve done wrong is difficult (especially as sometimes you don’t think you did wrong, but you should still say you’re sorry), but being grateful? Anyone can do that, right? Say Thank You as often as you can. Get in the habit. It used to baffle me that my boyfriend would say Thank You for really little things, like returning the Netflix DVDs just like I said I would. Of course I dropped them off! Why are you thanking me? Likewise, I wasn’t always very good about being appreciative about similar things. It’s not that I would never say Thank You, I just tended to save it for bigger things (like after favors or after receiving any sort of gift).

And then I thought about it differently. It wasn’t necessarily about me being incredibly excited and happy that he remembered to send me that email. It’s like a smile that you can hear or read. It’s simple, every day positive reinforcement; you’re acknowledging that they did something nice or helpful. You say it to strangers who hold the door for you. To classmates who remind you that there’s homework due tomorrow.

I’m not great at this yet, but I’m working on it. I’m actively thinking about it, and eventually, maybe I won’t need to actively think about it.

You might say, but won’t they lose their meaning? No, they won’t, because Thank You and I’m Sorry are meant to be the simple, genuine daily phrases. When something really big happens, you add modifiers, you say, “This is amazing! I can’t believe you did this for me! Thank you so much!” or “I am so, so sorry. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Does I Love You lose meaning? No, it doesn’t. Neither do these two, so long as the tone’s right.


Written by Aba

November 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Posted in Life in General