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No matter how much we love our family and friends, we don’t always take the time to tell them that we appreciate them. By not expressing these simple words to one another, we fail to translate our real feelings into a powerful action. When someone takes the time to say “I appreciate you,” the action means so much more than just words.

If someone tells you they appreciate you, you know that it is a personal thing for them to say. It’s not something just said or done because society told them it needed to be done for one another- but rather a message the person values you for being in their life. You enriched their life in some way and they are expressing gratitude to you for having done it.

In this article, I discuss what appreciation means as well as why and how people should make an effort to say it more often.

What Does “I Appreciate You” Mean?

young adults laughing

Appreciation is a strong feeling of thankfulness, gratitude or recognition of worth or excellence.

When someone says “I appreciate you” to another person in a sentence it is usually because they feel that person has done something good for them and deserves an outward recognition of thanks.

It could also be used as an expression of admiration towards another’s accomplishments. When people say this phrase, they are usually saying it to mean they are:

  • Thankful for what you offer in a relationship.
  • Grateful for your contribution in a situation.
  • Wanting to share their acknowledgement of something helpful of exception you have done and that you deserve recognition and respect for it.
  • Hoping to show admiration towards your hard work or effort to help out

Likewise, you can say “I appreciate you” when:

  • You are aware of what someone has done for you and you want them to know this so the person feels respected by your words.
  • Or the person has done something good for you without expecting anything in return. They don’t want any type of reward from you but just a genuine thankfulness towards what they have done for you when other people would not do the same thing.
  • You wish to share acknowledgment of their contribution to your life, and you are appreciative for it.

Appreciation is more than just a word, it’s an action that needs to be expressed without hesitation or delay when the time comes.

Many people are used to being unappreciated during their day-to-day routines. A simple phrase can change someone’s entire outlook because they know their contribution has gone noticed and is valued by another.

This genuine recognition can be internalized and validate someone’s actions.

When you take the time to communicate your appreciation to another, they will:

  • speak kindly and respectfully about you,
  • think highly of what you do and how hard you work,
  • treat you and your property with care,
  • consider your interests before theirs when it comes time to make decisions that affect both people equally.

Does I Appreciate You Mean I Love You?

father and son

As a new parent, I make it a point to say “I appreciate you” to my son regularly. I want to build his behaviors in such a way that he openly shares his feelings with another and can use this as a way to cultivate stronger relationships.

While seemingly simple to say these words, the power they convey can set you apart in the mind of others just for saying the phrase. Why?

Because some of the hardest things to say are also the simplest. Many people choose not to say these words or don’t have the courage or sense of mind to communicate it to another.

I hope one day my son says “I appreciate you” back. What a heartwarming thought! Depending on the circumstance, his “I appreciate you” could also mean “thank you”. But it could also mean “I love you.”

Some people struggle with saying these words to another and meeting the basic needs of those in their lives. Personally, I hope by showing my openness and sincerity of words to my son on a regular basis, he can share the same feelings openly.

He might return the same words with his own “I appreciate you” or “I love you” of his own.

A dad can dream, can’t he?

Examples of How to You Say “I Appreciate You”

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You can say “I Appreciate You” in a number of different ways. How you say it, in what context and how often all factor into the sentiment you express.

You can say “I appreciate you” by saying:

  • “Thank you”
  • “I’m grateful for you”
  • “You’re amazing”
  • “You’ve really helped me out”
  • “You mean the world to me”
  • “I love you”
  • “You don’t know what this means to me”
  • “You are so thoughtful”
  • “I am so grateful”

The list can go on. I’m sure you have a few of your own ways to say, “I appreciate you!” Don’t forget to express these sentiments to those around you, especially those who serve you like teachers, police officers, military, friends and family and more.

Here are some examples for different occasions:

  • For someone who’s just done something helpful or kind for you – feel free to express yourself by coming out and saying, “I appreciate you.”
  • For someone who’s just expressed something they’re grateful for – say “thank you” and tell them what it is that you’ve appreciated about them.
  • If your friend has done something great or just been really supportive of a financial goal you established like choosing to live like no one else or made some other decision in your life, then let them know how much their support means by saying, “I appreciate you.”

It’s a simple thing to do. And yet, it means the world when people hear “thank you” or “you’re amazing” in response. Saying any number of words to express the same sentiment can floor someone and validate them on a personal level.

Realizing success often comes with help from others. Stating your appreciation for others outwardly and openly can deliver a feeling of respect and admiration.

How Do You Show Appreciation?

happy couple in field medium

Related to how you can say, “I appreciate you,” appreciation can be shown through different actions. These acts of kindness don’t necessarily need to be spoken, but can come from actions you take.

Some examples of ways to show appreciation include:

  • Small gestures, like a thank you card or touching farewell letter to colleagues, flowers on your desk at work, etc.
  • A kind word or act said about you or others.
  • A thank you note written to someone for a favor.
  • Flowers sent to family or friends after they’ve been through an illness, accident, etc.
  • Calling your spouse when he/she has just gone out of town on business and let them know how much you miss them already even though it’s only been two hours since they left
  • Likewise, calling someone to tell them you were thinking about them
  • Going out of your way to help someone with their work or errands
  • Expressing gratitude for someone’s assistance with a task that you didn’t have the time to do yourself
  • An act of service like cooking, cleaning, doing yardwork, taking care of children/elderly relatives while they’re ill
  • Asking them how they’re doing and then telling them you appreciate what they do.
  • Acknowledge their work, or ask if there is anything else you can do to help

When receiving gestures such as these it’s important to show that they are appreciated and desired by saying “I appreciate you” back in return.

How Do You Respond to Appreciation?

savings account

You can respond to appreciation by saying “thank you” or “I appreciate you,” which both have the same meaning.

The common phrase used in response is “Thank You.”

This response is often used for an act of service you’ve performed and can span a range of activities like:

  • cooking,
  • cleaning,
  • doing yardwork,
  • taking care of children/elderly relatives while they’re ill,
  • helping someone to start investing money with useful investing apps for beginners for the first time,
  • assisting with developing financial literacy and making a list of things to save up for,
  • signing up for useful stock investment newsletters to learn about the stock market,
  • providing help as a stock advisor when someone wants to understand how to invest money,
  • lending a hand when someone wants to start a business and needs assistance to get it off the ground
  • working with someone to quit hemorrhaging money and get back on track,
  • and much, much more.

It can also be a general way to show gratitude for someone’s assistance with a task that one didn’t have time to do themselves.

Speaking your feelings may come in handy when receiving gestures like these from others. It’s important to show that they are appreciated and welcome by saying “I Appreciate You” or reciprocating it back in return through an action.

Responding to appreciation is a great way to show that you are thankful for all they do and how much it means. Show it openly and show it regularly to those you care about in your life.

In doing so, you’re more likely to receive the same in return.

Related: Best Stock Trading Applications for Beginners

I Appreciate You Gifts for Him and Her (Thank You Gifts)

If you’ve been thinking about what to give someone for a thank you gift, why not make it something that will be useful?

A present with utility is one of the best ways to show appreciation.

Some free examples include (also available as longer-term subscriptions):

But you don’t just need to give free trial memberships of Amazon services (though they are free), you can also give other thoughtful thank you gifts like:

A thoughtful “I Appreciate You gift” can be anything and something as simple as:

  • a cup of coffee in the morning,
  • to an offer to take them out for dinner,
  • or just simply making their day by telling them how much they matter.

The important thing is that it’s sincere. It should come from your heart and show that appreciation isn’t taken lightly with this person.

Expressing gratitude without expecting reciprocity will leave both parties feeling valued and appreciated while deepening your relationship over time.

Giving appreciation gifts shows what matters most – showing someone else how important they are every single day.

For more thoughts on “Thank You Gifts” and “Appreciation Gifts,” consider looking at this collection of gift ideas.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.