Melbourne: Expressing gratitude is not just a good habit, it may help you win friends too.
Thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you, a new study indicates.
"Saying thank you provides a valuable signal that you are someone with whom a high quality relationship could be formed," said psychologist Lisa Williams from University of New South Wales in Australia.
The study involved 70 university students who provided advice to a younger student. Some of those advice-givers were thanked for their advice.
The university students were led to believe they were mentoring a high school student, and were asked to comment on a university admissions essay, supposedly written by the mentee.
In reply, all mentor participants received a hand written note from their supposed mentee. In about half the cases the note included an expression of gratitude: "Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into doing that for me!"
The university students who were thanked were more likely to provide their contact details, such as their phone number or email address, for the mentee than those who were not thanked.
"Our findings represent the first known evidence that expression of gratitude facilitates the initiation of new relationships among previously unacquainted people," Williams noted.
The study will appear in the journal Emotion.