Thank you.

Two words I am trying to say a lot now. To express gratitude as much as possible. 

This appeared in the NYT ecosystem this week. 

I have been reflecting on gratitude lately and how much I try to express it- even for small things that happen in my day. The customer service rep that I don’t have to be nice to- they probably don’t expect to be thanked for their help (or even their lack thereof).  

This has gotten me to think about how I communicate with colleagues and other scientists and my own digital habits. I’m not sure I communicate that well with anyone, let alone colleagues. I’m the strong silent type (also introverted). 

Introversion is a trait a lot of scientists share, but science also rewards extroverted tendencies a lot more. I am using my more introverted self to write more and speak up when I can, but I still prefer to be quiet and by myself a lot of the time.

I don’t tend to talk on the phone. I’ve started tweeting a lot- I like twitter. I write. I don’t tend to leave voicemails. My big fear is actually getting through to someone on the phone and having to talk to them. Of course, if it’s a good friend, I’m happy to talk. But strangers is hard. For job interviews, etc. something I ought to get over, ASAP. Exposure therapy perhaps.

I was out at the pub last night after doing a trial run of this weekend’s Shamrock Shuffle  with the running club I’m a part of last night. I talked a little bit on the run and a bit after at the pub with a beer. But I had to force myself to smile and when I did, I relaxed and had an OK time, even though I still felt out of place and awkward.

I’m not going to stop what I’m doing as far as my nettiquette. I’d like to talk on the phone more, but it’s a thing I am not really able to conquer easily in my head. I don’t know why, but I’d better get over it.

Expressing gratitude is one of the things that has helped get me out of major depression. i’d hate to stop now.


Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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