How Australians Like To Say Thank You, According To Science

Young Aussies Are In A League Of Their Own When It Comes To Expressing Gratitude

There’s a lot in life to be grateful for. Whether it’s a friend who cooked you dinner or a co-worker who pitched in to help you on a big project, there are a lot of good people out there doing things for the ones they love.

The way you express gratitude says a lot about you as a person — do you turn your feel-good vibes into extra-delicious “thank you” cupcakes? Or do you return the favour, wielding good deeds like a pro to help people out?

To find out more about how Aussies express gratitude, we partnered with Praise for World Gratitude Day on September 21. Together, we ran a short survey to find out how young people in Australia give (and like to receive) thanks.

The results are wholesome as hell, especially when you look at how the rest of the world does it.


The stereotype that Aussies are easygoing is true when it comes to showing gratitude: our favourite way to be thanked is literally just hearing the words “thank you”.

Compared to other countries around the world, where getting a gift or a favour in return are the top ways to be thanked, 70 percent of people who completed our survey said all they need to feel appreciated is to hear those two magic words.

But that doesn’t mean we’re too easygoing to say it — almost 80 percent of people surveyed said they’d been thanked in the last week.

When our lives are busier than ever, and our stress keeps on rising, it would be easy to let gratitude slip by the wayside. But a 2018 study found that being thanked makes people feel happy, surprised, and way less awkward than a lot of us expect. Expressing gratitude makes us happy and that’s science, baby!

So we know that Australians love getting a bit of verbal affirmation. But just in case you’re looking to shake things up a bit, here’s how young people around the world give thanks.

United States

study run by Jonathan Tudge, a professor at the University of North Carolina, found that young Americans are much less likely than us to say “thank you”. Instead, they give a lot of gifts to express their gratitude.

Receiving a gift is Australia’s second-favourite way to be thanked, and it doesn’t even have to cost heaps.

If you’re trying to spice up the way you say thanks from day to day, you could always treat someone to a bunch of hand-picked flowers, a personalised playlist, or a coffee. And we can all agree that coffee is life’s greatest gift.


Just to keep you on your toes, “thank you” is chucked out the window in China. Helping people is a part of everyday life here, so saying “thank you” might imply that you didn’t expect the other person to be so generous. But like Nick Enfield, a linguist at the University of Sydney told The New York Times: “Expressing gratitude and feeling gratitude are not the same thing.”

Instead, young people in China are much more likely to repay a favour to show their gratitude.

So, if you’re especially low on cash, or looking for a way to thank your non-coffee-drinking friend, look no further than running an errand for them, giving them a lift, or cooking their favourite dinner.

Little things like this don’t have to take much time out of your day, but they might make all the difference in someone else’s schedule.

There’s really no wrong way to express gratitude, whether you take a friend out for coffee, gift them a cute ‘lil plant, or offer to walk their dog for them after a long day at work. Just don’t underestimate the power of a simple “thank you”! There are so many ways to express gratitude every day, and it’ll make everyone feel better. You can thank us later.

This article originally appeared on Junkee.

(Lead image: Kira auf der Heide / Unsplash)