What's the best way to show appreciation and improve relationships with family, friends and anyone you associate with each day? Express gratitude. Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, said, "Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."

While we may appreciate something a person has done for us, our gratitude often goes unexpressed or unnoticed. When someone goes above and beyond to help you out, acknowledge their efforts and show your appreciation with one of these thoughtful suggestions.

1. Give Food! 

Freshly baked cookies and pies, whether you made them yourself or bought them from the local bakery, are a nice way to show someone you appreciate them, or to say "thanks" for a good deed. Why? Everyone loves food. Find out their favorite treat and deliver it in person.

2. Write a note.

Nothing expresses gratitude better than a heartfelt, handwritten note card. You don't have to be a poet or have perfect penmanship. Just write from the heart and say why you're thankful.

3. Return the favor.

If someone did something nice for you, return the favor. Did a neighbor pick up your newspaper and mail while you were gone on vacation? Pick up their newspaper and mail when they go on vacation, or offer to lend a hand if you see they need help.

4. Pay it forward.

When someone does something nice for us, it's natural to pay that generosity forward. If the person in front of you at your favorite coffee place buys your coffee, say "thanks" and pay their generosity forward by buying coffee for the person behind you.

5. Deliver flowers or a colorful plant.

Brighten someone's day and show you appreciate them with a bouquet of flowers or a colorful, easy-to-care-for plant, such as lavender, aloe, jade, ferns, and snake plant. All of these plants are resilient in case the recipient doesn't have a green thumb.


6. Give them something useful. 

Never underestimate the power of a useful and thoughtful gift. If you know the person well, think about their interests - what do they like or enjoy doing? For example, if they garden, get them a pair of gloves to say "thanks" for their help. If they love wine, buy them a bottle of their favorite wine. They'll know how grateful you are, and will appreciate you personalizing the gesture.

7. Give a gift card.

Gift cards are ideal for those you may not know well, but have some ideas about their daily life. If they're into cooking, get them a gift card from the local kitchen store. If you know the person spends a a lot of time in their car zipping around town, get them a gift card from a local coffee shop so they can enjoy a beverage on the go.

8. Sing their praises on social media.

When you write a message on a connection's profile, the comment will be shared with their family, friends, and colleagues. Sing their praises by tagging them in a post thanking them for their help. When people within your networks see it, they can "like" the status, which will make the person feel appreciated.

9. Donate money to charity in their name.

If you want to say more than "thank you", and the person has everything, donate to one of their favorite charities, in their name. Either browse for favorite organizations on their social media pages, or ask them directly for the name of their preferred charity. They'll not only enjoy the gesture, they'll also appreciate you listened to them and respected their interests, which helps to build relationships.


"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." - G.K. Chesterton