The ability to be grateful is one of the reasons why human societies can exist. Because of this reciprocity, it is possible to establish links that unite people beyond the mere fact of giving well-being to the one who receives the thanks.

What are grateful people like and how can we recognize them in everyday life ? Let’s see what their main characteristics are.

Characteristics of grateful people

These are the typical attributes that characterize those who are grateful to others spontaneously. Of course, they do not have to appear all at once in the same person, they only serve as general guidelines.

1. No strategic thanks

It is clear that, if we think about it, any prosocial behaviour can be seen as a strategy to obtain benefits in return. However, in practice, when we do things that benefit others, we don’t usually stop to think about how that will benefit us.

This is another key that helps to identify grateful people : they say thank you spontaneously, irrationally, without any calculation of costs and benefits.

2. show appreciation to everyone

For grateful people, showing gratitude is one more element that often comes into play in personal relationships. Therefore, they do so regardless of the degree of friendship or the intensity of the emotional bond that binds them to that person.

This is especially important in adulthood , a stage of life in which the number of close friends is relatively small and therefore most people with whom one interacts are relative strangers.

This characteristic is basically related to the previous one, since the cases in which gratitude is expressed towards people with whom you do not have much treatment, the most probable thing is that the opportunity does not appear for them to return the kind gesture.

3. They use creativity to show gratitude

People are grateful in all the ways in which it is possible to give thanks; they are not limited to a single category of the “material gift” or “thank you note” style.

In any context, with any kind of resource, it is possible to reveal what is valued and appreciated in what someone has done for us , and by putting a little imagination into it, the idea of what to do to express it comes easily.

4. They adapt their message to the person to whom they are addressed

Something to keep in mind when expressing appreciation is the knowledge you have about the tastes and personality of the person to whom the message is addressed. In the end, if you want to convey a sense of well-being, it makes sense to maximize this effect by adapting the way you say thank you .

5. They do not always wait for the celebrations

Why be constrained by the calendar when giving thanks? There is no reason to stop being grateful during the days from one celebration to the next. Beyond birthdays and Christmas, there are many other moments when one can give gifts or make dedications. The message has even more power precisely when a day arrives.

6. They are fair in their personal relationships

Being grateful does not mean that you have a natural tendency towards candor or altruism, but it does mean that you tend to treat everyone fairly. Beyond the image that is offered to others when it comes to speaking or the facility to make friends and to be liked by others, those who are grateful integrate this fact into their way of seeing human relations , and these are governed by the idea that justice is important.

7. Make sure the other person understands the message

It is no use giving thanks if the person to whom this symbolic action is directed does not interpret this sign of gratitude as such. It is not a question of gaining positive points in front of her, but what is important is that she is aware that she has given someone reason to be grateful, which says a lot for her.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bremner, J. Gavin (2017). An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Ortega, P., Minguez, R., and Gil, R. (1997). Cooperative learning and moral development. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 206, 33-51.
  • Roberts, W., and Strayer, J. (1996). Empathy, emotional expressiveness, and prosocial behavior. Child Development, 67 (2), 449-470.
  • Willis, Amy (November 8, 2011). “Most adults have ‘only two close friends’. The Telegraph. London.