The Antidote for Gratitude Scrooges

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Jennifer Hunt MD
Jennifer Hunt MD

Chair of Pathology, Executive Coach, and Healthcare Leader

If you have determined you are a Gratitude-Scrooge (take this easy, free, and simple assessment here to find out), why not use November, the National Month of Gratitude, to practice something different for yourself.

Want to try a slight shift to see if you can let Gratitude seep into a few cracks and give you the tiniest bit of joy and satisfaction?

Expressing gratitude and compliments is like giving a gift. The person gives this gift to you for two reasons…(1) to make you feel good and (2) to make themselves feel good.  Most people who practice gratitude, and especially in Gratitude November, are doing it to make their own lives happier and better as well as to lift your spirits. If you don’t learn to graciously accept their gratitude, you are depriving them of the joy of gratitude.  

I really hope you want to lock your Gratitude-Scrooge in the basement…at least for November. I’ll make it easy on you and give you five easy formulas you can almost memorize to make gratitude moments less awkward. (If you want to see the common ways Gratitude-Scrooges curdle gratitude moments, click here).


The simplest and most straight forward answer to any expressed gratitude or compliment is “Thank You.”  Get good at saying those two little words with meaning and warmth and add a little pause afterwards.  The moment of awkwardness will be short-lived and the conversation will move along gracefully.

If you can’t leave it at “Thank you,” think carefully about the best ways to add on. Here are some add-ons that are effective and positive, and don’t kill the joy in a gratitude moment. 


Add on an interesting detail. Just make sure it is a positive one and not something negative or self-deprecating.  For example,

“Thank you. When I was doing the research for the presentation, I was delighted to find that John Smith, one of the world’s experts on the topic lives right here in this town!”


Click the retweet or the like button for the compliment. What I mean is, don’t transfer the gratitude to someone else, but share it as a separate gift.  

“Thank you. Would you mind if I share your compliment with the team? They worked hard to get ready for this and it would make me proud to tell them how much you appreciated it.”


You can also extend your own joy bubble from a gratitude moment to envelope the person giving it in a way that radiates but doesn’t simply reflect. 

“Thank you. Hearing you say that gives me pride and joy. Really, thank you for sharing that compliment with me.”


Use the compliment or gratitude to deepen a connection or relationship with the other person. 

“Thank you. I had no idea that this was a passion and interest of yours, too. I am so glad that we connected over this.”