I Appreciate You vs. I Appreciate It
My middle daughter, Emily, works in customer service at Home Depot. It’s been a great source of work experience for her during the disruptions of COVID, she’s made some new friends, and has allowed some side income while going to school virtually.
Emily helps a lot of people every day, both over the phone, and in person. Sometimes she even helps people take stuff out to their vehicles. Although not everyone shows gratitude, she receives plenty of appreciation for her efforts.
The other day Emily called me to ask a PCM Question. As a Process Communication Model trainer and the author of a new book about PCM, she hoped I’d have some insight. Her question;
“I get a lot of compliments each day, and there are some that mean more than others. Some people say, ‘Appreciate it,’ and others say, ‘Appreciate you.’ I’ve noticed that I definitely prefer ‘Appreciate you.’ It means so much more to me than ‘Appreciate it.’ How do you explain that?
The explanation has everything to do with personality differences in how people are motivated. We all have the same six personality types in us, but in a preferred, set order. Emily’s two strongest ones are Rebel and Harmonizer. The Rebel type is motivated by playful contact that is safe, fun and accepting. The Harmonizer type is motivated by recognition of person, caring about who you are, no strings attached. “Appreciate you,” nails them both!
Appreciate YOU people:
- Are generally caring, kind, and playful.
- Want to know you like and accept them for who they are.
- Do things for you as an expression of their compassion and human connection.
Appreciate IT people:
- Are generally organized, committed, and observant.
- Want to know you recognize the things they do.
- Do things for you as an expression of their responsibility and dedication.
Next time you want to show appreciation to someone, watch for the cues and offer what means the most to them. They’ll definitely appreciate YOU for IT. Learn how to develop your compassionate communication with The Compassion Mindset®!
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I can’t stand it at work when people say “I appreciate you” after I do something for them. You don’t appreciate me. You don’t even know me. You appreciate a thing that I did, and have reformulated the stock phrase to signal your own superior observance of my humanity — when in reality you would scarcely notice if I ceased to exist.
I did a thing that needed done. Appreciate *it*.
Thanks, Alan, for letting us know which one you prefer. A great example of how using the wrong one can have an unintended negative impact. And it goes both ways, as evidenced in the story of my daughter. Believe it or not, though, some people like my daughter much prefer to hear “I appreciate you,” even after they do something for someone. It comes down to recognizing their motivation for doing it.
I’m a 56-year-old guy and I first started hearing the phrase I appreciate you instead of the phrase I appreciate it maybe not that long ago. Even now the overwhelming majority of the times that I hear it are from African-Americans. When I first heard it it struck me as odd but it didn’t take long until I thought about it and realized just how much of an improvement that seems to me to be over I appreciate it. In a world that seems increasingly hostile it struck me, I appreciate you, as a bolt of humanity.
Thanks Hajji. It is a bolt of humanity! In reading your comment I was wondering…does saying “I appreciate you” do more for the person who’s giving, or receiving? My standard Thank You is “I appreciate it” because I’m projecting my own needs onto others. When I make the conscious choice to say “I appreciate You” it feels different inside, more personal and requires more sincerity on my part.
When people first started using “I appreciate you,” it sounded a little more personable to me than “I appreciate it.” However, it gets old pretty quick. In fact, now I’m beginning to loath the phrase. Of course I admit that I’ve become hypersensitive to all the trendy, overused words and phrases floating around out there (don’t even get me started on “reach out” or “demonize” or “that being said”). If “I appreciate you” were just used once in a while it would be fine, but when it’s overused it starts to sound phony, at least to me.
Thanks Chris. I appreciate you responding and sharing your thoughts on this. I’m curious, which of the two questions do you prefer to hear – personally?
“I appreciate you” is a denigration of the American language. It is sad to think that adults are impressionable. To appreciate means to value or regard highly; using that incorrect phrase is ascribing value to a human as a means of worth or as an object that can be coveted and used such as a slave to a slave owner. Moreover, someone who regards another highly after a few minutes of dialogue is either a child, moron, idiot, or imbecile. Use “I appreciate it”, before one of you colleagues finds out you received your doctorate not knowing any better. Furthermore, this popular saying is grammatically incorrect, the dregs of society are usually the only one’s making the mistake not PhD’s.
I struggle with the assertion that “I appreciate you.” is gramatically incorrect. It has a subject, verb and object. It seems it could only be considered ‘incorrect’ if ‘you’ was something that could not be appreciated. And I think people can be appreciated. So we have subject, verb and object, with the verb appropriately applied to both subject and object, and matching in tense. I’m not trolling. I seriously would like to understand what may be incorrect about the three word sentence.
there’s no problem with the language. language is there to communicate thoughts. that’s it.
what you’re communicating is that you don’t think that people have any inherent value or worth – that human beings can only be valuable if you wish to own or objectify them and that you have to know them for quite some time before deciding that they’re worth anything.
some of us can make those decisions about others quite quickly based upon their humanity alone. 🙂
Nate- I wanted to tell you this story and thank you. Since reading this blog, I have been saying “I appreciate you” since it is closer to the sentiment I mean when speaking with people, though I know not all receive it the same way, as you explained. This morning I ordered a coffee and I said “I appreciate you” to the women who got my drink. She absolutely lit up- hands to heart, smile on her face and a big thank you to ME. I think I made her feel a little bit “seen” today. And I have you to thank. It made my day seeing how she responded and I think it made her day. You are doing good work with people. You may not see it every day, but you are. You make an impact on peoples lives, and I appreciate you. Thank you.
Caroline, this is so special to hear. With a small change in language, you came from the heart and made a positive impact on someone’s day.
I think it’s an example of ‘language evolves’. And I don’t mean the already pointed out “prhase or word of the year”, often originating in corporate culture, such as when everyone started saying “Clearly” at the beginning of every sentence. Used when it’s meant, what follows can be something that is largely inarguable. Used constantly, it implies what you’re saying is a) beyond challenge and b) only someone dumb would need it said because it’s ‘clearly so’. On the point at hand, I feel awkward saying “I appreciate you” as a substitute for “I appreciate it”. So, I’ve just become more specific. Like, “I appreciate your attention and patience.” Or if someone opens the door for me, “I appreciate it”, because it’s clear what ‘it’ refers to. If, for example, I was feeling insecure and someone said, “I love what you’re wearing.” I may now respond, “I appreciate you.” Because it’s more personal. I don’t just appreciate you saying it, I appreciate *you” for maybe noticing I needed it *and* saying it. So, for me it wasn’t adoption of a revision of a phrase, but it did make me give more thought as to it being a phrase that can be nuanced, and made clearer with a few different/extra words.
I have no problem with the use of “I appreciate you” and recognize when it’s appropriate. My concern is it’s become overused so that it’s losing its meaning. I use the term on a much less frequent basis than “I appreciate it” since it’s a much more personal way to state your appreciation for an action. I hear it more often than I perceive it to be appropriate. Just my 2 cents.
Thanks, Neal. Just this weekend I delivered a training program for a group of 45 leaders from Little Rock, AR. We spent the weekend together which included some social time outside of training. I received lots of affirmation and appreciation for my training, and I heard both “I appreciate it,” and “I appreciate you.” This training was on personality type differences and I was able to see a pattern in which types used “You” vs. “It” to show their appreciation. Humans are prone to practicing the Golden Rule- Treat others as you would want to be treated,” so they naturally pick the one they are most comfortable with and would like hearing from someone else. In contrast, I prefer the Platinum Rule – Treat others as they want to be treated. This might feel uncomfortable, but it shows respect for the other person.
I believe this is regional – I have noticed “you” is used in the SW part of the country. I am a NYer – we have always used “it”…I have never herd “appreciate you” used. That is why I noticed the phrase in several movies/TV shows and looked it up, online!