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The Importance of Gratitude in Friendships and Family: 4 Ways to Make It Happen

In order to be happy, it’s important to soak in the little things. The small moments that make a significant impact are often taken for granted and not given the credit they deserve. According to research from the University of New Hampshire, gratitude is one of the most overlooked positive emotions. In a study published by the journal Personal Relationships, researchers found that people who are grateful see benefits in their health, happiness, relationships, and even career success. Gratitude is something that develops with time and practice. If you find that your friendships or family relationships could use some gratitude, here are four ways to make it happen:

Talk about the things you’re grateful for

It’s incredible how quickly a thank-you can turn into a discussion about what’s bringing someone joy. If you bring up something you’re grateful for — say, a friendship or family member — the other person might then say that they’re grateful for what’s on your list, too. It’s an easy way to talk about gratitude that’s non-committal, open-ended, and not likely to be shut down. If you’re unsure where to start, there are plenty of lists you can look to for inspiration. You can also make up your own gratitude list and keep it somewhere you’ll see it daily.

Take time to appreciate each other

Just as you’re grateful for a friend or family member, they’re probably grateful for you, too. Acknowledging those feelings is a great way to bring more gratitude into a relationship. You don’t have to wait until there’s a special occasion or someone has done something nice for you. Being grateful for a friend or family member every day isn’t unrealistic — it’s actually a great way to build more positivity into your life. If you’re struggling to think of something, you can use the “three good things” technique: For the next week, write down three good things that happen each day. At the end of the week, turn those good things into gratitude for yourself and others.

Turn conflict into an opportunity to show your gratitude

Relationships, even the closest ones, experience conflict. Instead of letting that cause you and your loved ones unnecessary stress, try to use it as an opportunity to show gratitude. Conflict resolution expert Dr. George Prouty has a great example: Say you’re having a disagreement with a friend, and you both walk away frustrated. Instead of letting it fester, use it as an opportunity to show gratitude for your friendship. “Say something like, ‘I’m sorry that we disagreed and that we treated each other so poorly. I’m grateful for our friendship, and I hope we can resolve this,'” Prouty says. “This will show your friend that you are mature enough to see and admit your mistakes, that you are sorry for your part in the problem, that you don’t want the problem to continue, and that you value your friendship and want to resolve the problem.”

Incorporate small acts of gratitude into your routine

If you’re looking for a way to add gratitude to your daily life, look no further than the flow of you’re daily routine. Things like making your bed, saying thank you, and recognizing achievements in others are all easy ways to bring more gratitude into your life. For example, you can make it a habit to write down three things you’re grateful for every day. Or, you can bring more gratitude into your relationships with a gratitude letter. A gratitude letter is similar to a thank-you card, except it isn’t necessarily in response to a particular gift or action. You can write gratitude letters to your loved ones, friends, or even yourself.


As you can see, there are lots of ways to add gratitude to your relationships and bring positivity into your life. If you find that your friendships or family relationships could use some gratitude, make it a priority to incorporate these tips into your daily life. It will bring you many benefits and make your relationships stronger.

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