Original publication in Harvard Business Review on November 28th 2019.
Practicing gratitude — making a deliberate point of being thankful for the positive things in your life — is good for your happiness and well-being. But when we express our gratitude to others, we have a tendency to talk about ourselves when we should be thinking about them. Often when we get help and support, we want to talk about how the favor made us feel: “It let me relax…” or “It makes me happy….” But expressing gratitude shouldn’t be all about you. Helpers want to see themselves positively and to feel understood and cared for. So the next time you thank someone, try “other-praising” instead. Acknowledge and validate your benefactor’s actions: “You go out of your way…” or “You’re really good at….” Doing so will strengthen your relationship with that person.