You don’t have to say thank you if you aren’t grateful

The other day, I was in the grocery store picking up some cold medicine. As I was holding a bottle and considering my options, a woman came up next to me and said,

“Just make sure you don’t take that for longer than 7 days. ‘Cause I did and it was bad — and then I read the directions!”

I knew this woman was trying to be helpful. Everything in me told me to smile at her and say an enthusiastic, “Oh! Wow, thank you! Good to know!”

But that’s not how I felt. How I felt was:

  1. I don’t know who you are
  2. I don’t feel comfortable with you looking at what I’m purchasing
  3. I didn’t ask for your pharmaceutical consultation
  4. I always read the directions before taking a medication, so I wont make your same mistake anyway

Now, I live in a small town where people feel that it’s appropriate to look at what others are buying and to freely comment. I also live in a town where people have strong opinions when it comes to health and remedies.

So I’m used to the polite nod and “Oh, really? I didn’t know that” type of response. I’ve learned how to pacify people.

But I did not feel comfortable doing that the other day. I felt that if I pretended to be grateful, this woman would think that what she did was socially appropriate, and desirable even. And I decided not to lie to her like that.

I don’t know if she thought I was rude or ungrateful, or if maybe she didn’t even notice I didn’t thank her. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I did what felt right to me.

I hope this story serves you, as a reminder that you are free to make your own choices and do what feels right to you, regardless of how you have been taught to live. Be honest with people. Stand up for your feelings and perspectives. Don’t feign gratitude just to validate someone else’s choices. (tweet that)

For further reading on this topic, I recommend Sam Harris’ super quick read, “Lying“. He makes a strong case for why we owe it to others to always be honest, even when it might be a little uncomfortable.

In what area of your life can you stop pacifying others and start being true to your own feelings?


Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.