31 Ways To Show Appreciation (Examples For Any Situation)

It’s easy to take people around you for granted, but it’s worth taking the time to let them know how much you value them. Gratitude and appreciation can strengthen relationships, including romantic relationships,[1] professional relationships,[2] and friendships.[3]

In this article, you’ll learn how to show appreciation to anyone, including friends, family, colleagues, and service staff.


  1. How to show appreciation to someone
  2. How to show appreciation as a customer or client
  3. How to show appreciation at work
  4. How to show appreciation as a manager or team leader

How to show appreciation to someone

These gestures are suitable for various situations in both your personal and professional life.

1. Say “thank you”

The most straightforward way to show appreciation is to just say “Thank you.” Be specific; let the other person know exactly why you are grateful. For example, you might say, “Thank you for supporting me since my mom passed away,” or “Thank you for always cheering me up after a long day.”

2. Give a thoughtful gift

A gift is a classic way to express your appreciation. Try to avoid generic presents. Instead, show that you’ve put some thought into the gift by buying something you know they’ll like, such as a new book by their favorite author or a box of their favorite candy.

Four friends exchange gifts, everyone is looking when one of them is opening their gift.

3. Write a thank-you note

Thank-you notes require more effort and care than a verbal “thank you,” so they can be a special way to show how much you appreciate someone. You could thank them for something specific they’ve done or write a note telling them how important they are to you.

You can find some additional inspiration in this list of thank you messages for friends.

4. Take over a chore or task

Lightening someone’s workload can be a fantastic way to show that you value them. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend has been meaning to clear out their spare room for months but hasn’t managed to get round to it, offer to do it for them.

5. Respect differences of opinion

Show that you appreciate someone’s intelligence and point of view by agreeing to disagree instead of trying to tell them why they are wrong. For example, you might say, “I don’t agree, but I respect your beliefs,” or “I disagree, but I think your opinions are interesting!”

6. Put someone’s needs before your own

You don’t need to put someone first all the time to show that you care, but going out of your way to prioritize their needs is a sign of appreciation. For example, you could offer to pick your wife up from work to make her life easier, even if it adds some time to your own commute.

7. Give them a compliment

Highlight something you particularly appreciate about someone by giving them a specific compliment. For example, you might say, “You’re an amazing listener. You always make me feel heard,” or “I loved your performance at the piano recital last week.” For more tips, see our guide to giving compliments.

8. Show some interest in their interests

When you demonstrate an interest in someone else’s hobby, you are making it clear that you appreciate them as a well-rounded person with a mind of their own.

You don’t need to throw yourself completely into their interest; just asking a few questions and giving them some encouragement is enough. For example, if your partner has recently started learning a new language, you could learn some basic vocabulary and offer to practice simple conversations with them.

9. Create a memory book or album

To show someone that you’ve enjoyed all the good times you’ve spent together, combine photos, tickets, and other souvenirs in a special scrapbook. You could also include a list of things you’d like to do together in the future and include a few words of gratitude for the memories you’ve made.

10. Throw them a party

If someone has helped you out in a significant way, you could hold a celebration in their honor. But be sensitive to their personality when you’re making plans. For example, an introvert probably wouldn’t enjoy a large surprise party, but they might appreciate a quiet dinner with a few of their favorite foods.

In that case, you might find this article on activities for introverts helpful.

11. Engage with them on social media

Show that you value what someone is posting online by leaving positive comments or reactions. You could use social media to thank or compliment them publicly.

12. Plan a special day or trip

Planning some quality time together takes time and effort, so organizing a special day or trip can be a powerful way to show your appreciation.

If you liked this option, you might like this article on fun things to do with friends.

13. Give public praise

Compliments that are given in front of other people can be more impactful than those given in private because the person you are complimenting will realize that you want everyone to know how awesome they are. But bear in mind that not everyone will appreciate public praise. If you want to compliment someone who is shy and retiring, it’s best to stick with one-on-one praise instead.

14. Offer to return a favor

When someone helps you out, show that you value their time and effort by offering to help them in return. For example, you might say, “Thanks so much for fixing my computer. Please tell me if there’s anything I can do to repay you!” or “Thanks a lot for helping me paint the spare room. I owe you one.”

15. Show physical affection

A warm hug can be a wonderful way of demonstrating to someone that you appreciate them. However, remember that not everyone is comfortable with physical contact. In general, hugs are best kept for close friends and relatives. If in doubt, ask first.

Two friends hug each other side by side. They're both smiling.

How to show appreciation as a customer or client

Showing appreciation to people you know can boost your relationships, but don’t forget to acknowledge the skills and efforts of people you only know as a customer or client. You might get better service, and you’ll probably brighten someone’s day.

Here are some ways to show appreciation to service staff, contractors, and people who work in customer-facing jobs.

1. Always be patient

Many customer-facing roles can be stressful. Even if you are in a hurry, try to be patient. You may get quicker, friendlier service if you can stay calm and polite.

2. Leave a generous tip

If you can afford it, leave a larger-than-average tip. This may be the simplest way to show your appreciation.

3. Praise someone for their specific skills

Show that you appreciate what goes into someone’s job by complimenting their skills. For example, you could compliment the barista in your usual coffee shop on their ability to remember multiple orders without writing them down or compliment the person you hired to design your website on their ability to understand exactly what kind of color scheme you wanted.

4. Provide positive feedback

If you’re asked to fill out a form or survey about your experience with a business, give compliments or positive comments if they are deserved. Write positive reviews online too. For example, you could leave some feedback on a company’s social media profile.

5. Make someone’s job easier

Show that you value someone’s job by easing their burden slightly. For example, if you’re in a coffee shop, wipe up spills rather than leaving them for the barista to sort out.

6. Recommend someone’s services

If you’ve hired someone for a job and they’ve done awesome work, tell them that you’ll recommend them to other people. This will make it clear that you think highly of them and their skills.

How to show appreciation to people at work

Showing your colleagues some appreciation can improve your relationships at work, which in turn can make your job more enjoyable.

Here are a few extra ways to show appreciation to the people you work with:

1. Bring coffee or lunch to someone’s desk

When someone is having a hard day, a drink or snack can give them a boost. Say, “You look busy! Can I pick you up something?” when you’re going to a cafe or coffee shop. Or, if you know what they like to eat or drink, bring them back a surprise that will make them smile.

One person offers a cup of coffee to another one over a work desk. Only their hands show in the image.

2. Don’t take your colleagues for granted

Most jobs require you to help your colleagues when they need it, but saying “Thank you” is a simple way to show appreciation and build professional relationships, even when your colleague is just doing their job. When your colleague goes out of their way to help, you could also send them a “thank you” email or handwritten note.

Your workplace might have a scheme where you can nominate a coworker for special recognition or an award. If so, take the opportunity to draw attention to the ways they’ve helped you or other people.

3. Celebrate coworkers’ birthdays

If they are comfortable being in the spotlight for a few minutes, you could bring in a small cake, give your colleague a card signed by everyone in the office, and sing Happy Birthday.

Showing appreciation if you are a boss, manager, or team leader

If you are a team leader or manager, showing your appreciation can be a smart business move. Research shows that people who feel appreciated at work are more likely to feel satisfied with their work,[2] which may mean they are less inclined to leave.

Here are a few ideas to try if you want to show your team how much you value them:

1. Arrange convenient workplace socials

Workplace socials can help employees get to know each other, but employees with commitments, such as childcare, might not be able to go if the events are outside working hours. Show that you are sensitive to your employees’ needs by scheduling socials during the day if possible.

2. Take employee feedback seriously

If you are a manager or team leader, show that you appreciate your team’s opinions and feelings by giving them opportunities to share their thoughts, for example, via email or an anonymous online suggestion box. Hold regular meetings where you share the feedback publicly, and explain how you will act on it.

3. Encourage employees to give each other feedback

Set up a peer-to-peer recognition scheme that encourages employees to praise each other. For example, you could set up a special channel on Slack where colleagues can give public recognition or put up a notice board and ask employees to leave notes of thanks to team members who have been especially helpful.

4. Hold an employee wellness day

Work-related stress is a common problem. Show your team that you care about their physical and mental health by organizing a day devoted to wellness. For example, you could run a stress management workshop or bring in a massage therapist to give chair massages.

5. Offer development opportunities

Show that you recognize someone’s contributions and potential by offering them the chance to undertake a training course or seminar. You could also match them with a mentor.

6. Mark professional milestones

Reward employee loyalty with a token of appreciation. For example, you could give an employee a card and a small gift on the 5th anniversary of the day they started with the company.

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Viktor is a Counselor specialized in interpersonal communication and relationships. He manages SocialSelf’s scientific review board. Follow on Twitter or read more.

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