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Once you do someone a favor, it may be easy to turn down their attempt to repay you. However, allowing a person to thank you often makes them feel better.
For instance, when a neighbor or friend wants to return your favor of mowing their lawn or giving them a ride to work, it can be natural to feel uncomfortable and tell them not to worry about it. But if you sincerely thank them for their appreciation or take them up on their offer to “repay” you, it can benefit them. Think of it like a double-sided scale where, when someone does something for you, it tips the scale. It’s in our nature to want to keep this scale balanced by returning favors.
In fact, we worked with a research program at Georgetown University, where half the were instructed to graciously respond to patients’ gratitude, while keeping the other half of the students totally out of the study. We found that patients who were seen by the students in the study felt more respected than patients seen by the students who were not involved in the study.
Related Reading: Three Tips to Help You Feel Thankful— Beyond the Holidays
How to Return Favors
Accepting people’s favors starts with knowing how to give them ourselves. The next time someone does you a favor, make sure you respond in ways that:
- Are specific: Whether you’re doing it verbally or through a thank you note, don’t only thank them, but let them know specifically how it helped you. It makes your message seem more genuine.
- Offer something in return: Try inviting the person over for dinner or giving them a small gift to show your appreciation.
- Say how it made you feel: Explaining how it makes you feel sends an impactful message that helps the recipient understand how much they helped you, and it makes them feel good.
Returning people’s #Favors is an important way to feel better ourselves. When thanking them, make sure you are specific, say how it made you feel, and don’t downplay their favor. Learn more via @MedStarHealth
Common Ways to Return Favors
Giving thanks is different for everyone, as some people have to do something more meaningful to find balance. Some of the easiest and most common ways to give thanks include:
- Giving a heartfelt expression, such as a hug or a sincere “thank you”
- Giving a gift
- Writing a thank you note
Allowing others to return our favors is important, as it gives both parties the chance to feel good. Next time you do someone a favor, make sure you give them the chance to repay you.
Would you like to thank a MedStar Health associate for making a positive impact on your life or a loved one’s life? Express your gratitude by sharing your story on the MedStar Health Facebook page using the hashtag #GratitudeMatters.
If you’d like to partner with our grateful patients, families, and friends who are committed to MedStar by making a gift online, visit this page.