A quarter of Britons say thank you when they don’t really mean it, study shows


Researchers who polled 2,000 adults found they’ll typically express their gratitude 207 times a month – but 54 of those thank yous are uttered just for the sake of it. And perhaps as a result, a quarter believe the art of genuinely thanking someone else is ‘dying out’. However, an insincere thank you is still better than nothing – a third admitted they feel ‘upset’ if they don’t get acknowledged for their actions.

Furthermore, 63 percent believe good manners are important – and 51 percent even suggest having good manners makes you a better person.

The research was commissioned by Virgin Media O2 ahead of ‘Thank You Day’ which takes place on Sunday July 4.


To mark the occasion, the broadband and mobile phone network provider has teamed-up with etiquette expert William Hanson to create a guide on how to show gratitude.

William Hanson said: “Brits have a complicated relationship with giving thanks.

“On the one hand, we are quite buttoned-down, and it’s not ‘the done thing’ to show too much emotion.


“On the other, many of us take pride in our manners – and saying please and thank you is critical to that.

“It’s clear that we need to focus on not just saying ‘thank you’ to someone, but more importantly, making sure it’s a genuine expression of our gratitude.”

The study also found nearly three in 10 find a text or WhatsApp message their preferred method for expressing thanks.


One in four will go as far as sending a gift, like a bouquet of flowers, to show their appreciation to someone.

And 12 percent will take to social media to shout someone out for something they are grateful for.

While more than half (55 percent) of Brits believe they have become ‘more grateful’ during the pandemic. 


Four in 10 feel saying thank you helps those receiving it with their own mental health and wellbeing, with 90 percent saying it is ‘good for their health’.

William Hanson added: “This Thank You Day, take the time to thank three people in your lives to show them how much they mean to you.

“My advice to people who want to say thanks to someone that they can’t be with in person, is to do the next best thing and do it via video call, on the phone, or even send a voice note.


“Hearing a voice is not only more personal, but you will naturally feel more connected to each other and what better time to do this than on the national day of thanks.”

A spokesperson for Virgin Media O2, which is helping 400 charities and community groups to hold events this Sunday through its Together Fund, said: “It has been a tough time for many of us, and the simple act of saying thank you to someone, whether you say it face-to-face, via a video call or voice note, can make someone feel valued and special.”



1. Effort and gratitude go hand in hand.

Want to thank someone for a delicious dinner or a lovingly prepared lunch?

It’s about what you say and not how you say it.


Gratitude is wonderful in all its forms – take the time to craft the message and really think about what you want to say.

2. Emotion may not come naturally to us Brits – although we’re getting better, thank heavens.

If you’re ever unsure of the exact wording of your thanks, my advice is not to overthink it.


Just write or say what comes naturally.

Draft it first, if needs be.

Something sincere, from the heart, will shine more than an overly moderated message.


3. When you aren’t able to write to say thank you, pick up the telephone or dial them on video chat (or do both and send something written the next day!).

We have so many ways to connect with people today, so there’s really no excuse not to.

You can use the fantastic technology that’s available at our fingertips to show them that you’re wearing the new jumper they got you, or how beautiful the flowers they sent you look in a vase.


4. Feel free to use various ways to express your gratitude: a quick phone call on the day you get the present, followed by a letter a few days later.

Remember – you can never say thank you enough.


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