How do I say thank you?

My class partner helped me so much last semester! How can I thank him?

Our elder has some suggestions.

Dear EWC

I am in university, and this past summer semester, I got more acquainted with one of the guys in my program. I want to properly thank him for being such a huge help to me for several things: being my partner for the class discussions, studying for the exams, and the cumulative assignment. He contributed so much, and I got to know him more. We will also be seeing each other in the fall and winter classes, and we are very excited to be spending more time together! We even refer to ourselves as ‘linguistics buddies’, and that is our program of study. How would you advise as to go about thanking him? I do not just want to tell him “thank you”. I want to do something more, and I would appreciate hearing your suggestions. Cheers! 

William replies

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your dilemma with us. Here’s what I think.

First, I don’t get the impression you are romantically interested in the guy who helped you during the year. If that’s the case, let me know, and I’ll adjust my answer accordingly. From reading your letter a couple of times, you strike me as a polite young woman with traditional values — someone who appreciates the assistance and friendship that you have developed in university. I understand it is something that likely will continue in the coming year. 

The first thing I’d suggest is to write him a letter of thanks. It doesn’t have to be complicated. List off a few of the essential items you collaborated on, maybe a sentence or two each, and make it clear that each action was of mutual benefit. Evidence shows that teamwork and cooperation produce the best results, so stress that. Don’t overdo it or it will come across as insincere. You might want to type it up in a word processor so you can fine-tune it, but handwrite the final version. I have received written thank you letters and notes from co-workers over the years. I can assure you they meant a lot more than a casual “thank you” as I walked away. By taking the time to write out your thoughts, you show him you do appreciate the collaboration and companionship a lot.

Another thing to consider is a gift certificate. I have no idea what this guy likes, but by now, you likely have a good idea. Perhaps something for one of his favourite restaurants. If he’s into sports, would a ticket to a game of some sort be appropriate? Also, I’ve gone to enjoyable platonic dinners with colleagues from time to time. If you feel the restaurant gift certificate idea is too impersonal, offer to go to dinner with him on your dime.

Could you add him as a second author or reference on a paper? Re-reading your letter, I believe you are still undergrads, so that may not be practical. I guess that’d be something for the Masters or PhD level if you go that far, but it’s food for thought. There may be projects at your present level where this general idea would apply.

Another thing that comes to mind is to offer to help him with something not related to school. If he’s moving, offer to help pack. If he needs to be somewhere, offer to give him a ride. If you both are athletic types, go to the gym or biking with him occasionally. I guess I could sum this last paragraph up in one sentence: Just be around and be his friend. After all, that’s what he is, and by being there often, you show it. Actions speak louder than words.

I hope this helped a little. If I’ve missed the point, or if you have anything to add, please write back. 

Letter #: 445147

Category: Friendship

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