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Saying Thank You

Offering appreciation and gratitude in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) isn't about telling someone how great they are or evaluating your experience as wonderful, super, excellent, etc.  Saying thank you is about revealing your heart and giving others the gift of knowing how to contribute to your life.

When you are feeling happy about something someone did you can express a more connecting thank you by taking a moment to reflect on exactly what the person did that met needs for you. Then tell them what those needs are.  For example, if you attend a presentation that you enjoy.  You might say to the presenter.

"Thank you for your presentation.Your story about your grandmother helped me to understand my own family.  I feel relieved having that clarity."

Notice that this is just three short sentences.  Only a few words are needed to reveal your experience and connection to what someone did or said.

My partner and I were once stranded on the interstate outside of Eugene with a broken down car and our dog and cat.  A man stopped to see if he could help.  He offered a ride for the four of us, his home to make phone calls, and took us to a rental car outlet.  I said thank you several times.  At the end I expressed an NVC thank you by saying, "Your help today has inspired my faith in humanity."  He lit up and took it in saying it was one of the best things he had ever heard.  My expression had helped him to connect with his own need to contribute to life in a meaningful way.

After basic physical needs are met, the two most important human needs are meaningful contribution to life and autonomy.

When you say thank you by naming specifically what someone did and what needs it met for you, you are helping them meet their need for contribution as well as celebrating with gratitude.


The next time you want to express gratitude and appreciation let the other person know what needs of yours were met and specifically what they did or said that contributed to that.

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