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Have We Lost a Sense of Gratitude?

Were you brought up with a sense of gratitude when you are given something or a sense of entitlement?

Perhaps it is my upbringing but I don't think so; it troubles me when I see how many people are inclined to take a kindness for granted. Maybe they aren't feeling entitled, that is for them to decide, but my impression is that at the very least they have no sense of gratitude.

A long-time friend of mine once said, "Each one of us is either a net giver or net taker. You have to learn to live with both. And you have to be honest with yourself regarding which type you are."

I am not talking about the niceties of Please and Thank You but showing appreciation for a kindness offered or support given to another. Nor am I talking about being kind or supportive with the goal of receiving gratitude.

Here are a few examples people have shared with me and a couple of my own as well:

"I spent hours helping a fellow who networked to me during his job search. He sent me an e-mail to let me know he landed a job and since then has never responded to a single e-mail."

"I worked extra hours even above and beyond my usual long work week to help my boss with a big presentation he had. One of the reasons for the extra effort was because he had not managed his own time and progress and had created a time crunch. I know he made the presentation and even heard him tell a colleague how well it went. Nothing from him that in any way acknowledged my help."

"A friend of mine overseas needed some information in an area of my expertise and apologetically said he needed it ASAP so he could attend a management meeting reasonably informed about the topic. 'I owe you one', he said. I dropped what I was doing and sent it to him. 'This is terrific; I owe you one." He hasn't sent me an e-mail and has not responded to any of mine. A simple thank you would have been nice."

I can't help but wonder how much better we would all feel if the spirit of gratitude was alive and well. The good news is, nothing prevents us from making that our shared experience.