Anatomy of a thank-you

If you owe a genuine expression of thanks to someone who really helped you out and made a difference, “Thanks so much!” probably doesn’t get the job done. Instead, try hitting three important areas.

1. Express your thanks.

Be specific and reference the thing they did for you.

“Thank you so much for jumping in to cover my shift when I was sick.”

“Thank you for helping me study for that bio exam.”

“Thank you for spending so much time reviewing my college applications.”

2. Explain why you’re appreciative.

This should ideally be about them, not about you.

“I know you were probably looking forward to your own day off and you swooped in anyway.”

“You spent a lot more time with me than you probably expected to given that bio is not my strong suit.”

“I know you have a lot of students to help, and you somehow found a way to give me as much time as I needed.”

3. Reiterate your appreciation by pointing out the difference they made.

“You saved me from cashing in yet another sick day, and I was already running out after having bronchitis last month. So really, thank you.”

“I never would have passed that exam if it weren’t for you and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.”

“I’m so excited about college and I will never forget the role you played in helping me apply to so many great schools.”

An effective thank-you pays the person back in some way, it makes it more likely they’ll help you in the future, and most importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.