How does gratitude impact a relationship and how might I see it play out in someone’s postings on Facebook?
This week in our readings we read a study which set out to find out how the display of gratitude played into our relationships. The results found that couples who showed regular gratitude towards each other were more likely to be in the same relationship 9 months later. We also viewed a TED talk about how gratitude plays into relationships and despite having some strange data such as “people with happy looking baby pictures are more likely to have successful relationships” it brought up some good points about gratitude and how its a positive feedback loop which ultimately helps the couple.
On Facebook people can show gratitude in a multitude of ways. Simply posting something kind about someone is a way of showing that you appreciate their existence. Personally I think that showing gratitude on Facebook is a bit over the top and that if you are truly grateful for something someone did or does you should tell them or reciprocate their actions. The idea of posting something public like that could be taken differently than it was meant by people who it was not directed to. This could be seen as “look how much I’m loved and special I am.”
For this blog post I read an article on a Buddhist based blog that spoke about showing gratitude in meaningful ways and all of them involved personal interaction or thoughtfulness such as taking over a mundane task for someone or writing a carefully worded letter letting them know what they did and how it affected their life. I guess the Buddhist ideals don’t really apply to conversations on Facebook but it is interesting how there is no place for Facebook in terms of these methods of showing gratitude.
However if you’re of the church of O or the Oprah Winfrey worshiping church you may partake in Oprah’s new Facebook game for showing gratitude called the Thank You Game which she hopes will spread gratitude worldwide. She started the project after a fan wrote her a particularly heartfelt letter and she realized how good it felt to be appreciated. These two conflicting views of gratitude on Facebook are at least food for thought because it’s really up to the poster to decide the appropriate reciprocation for what they’re thankful for.
Deschene, L. (2012, November 17). 50 ways to show gratitude for people in your life. Retrieved from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/50-ways-to-show-gratitude-for-the-people-in-your-life/
ElMonico, K. (2012, May 7). 50 ways to show gratitude for people in your life. Retrieved from http://corporate.discovery.com/blog/2012/05/07/oprahs-new-facebook-game-aims-to-spread-gratitude/
Carlson, E. N., Vazire, S., Oltmanns, T. F., (2011) You Probably Think This Paper’s About You: Narcissists’ Perceptions of Their Personality and Reputation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 185-201. DOI: 10.1037/a0023781