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mid-week Connect: 11/22/23 ~ Cultural Virtues - Gratitude

Greetings and Happy Midweek!

Since many are celebrating the harvest around the globe with grateful hearts and tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, I thought I’d start a new Connect Category - Cultural Virtues - and that we’d explore the virtue of Gratitude today. I’m going to put this into the Transformations component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework, because when people practice and/or receive gratitude, that can be a transformative experience. [*]

One scientific article I found (see first LINK below) parsed gratitude into these 3 types, based on research in “7 very different countries: Brazil, China, Guatemala, Russia, South Korea, Turkey & the US”:

~ verbal gratitude

~ concrete gratitude

~ connective gratitude

I’ll leave you to read the article or imagine your own definition for each. I’ll note here that I heartily agree with their general conclusion - that gratitude is expressed differently across cultures!

I personally experienced this in Africa. In Senegal, for example, based on my language learner status and American cultural imperatives, I diligently targeted verbal gratitude and learned in Jola multiple expressions, using them on every possible occasion: saying “thank you” or “bless you” or God will repay you”, or combining several at a time! Maybe adding a fourth type (physical gratitude), I also learned appropriate body language by bowing my head, touching my heart, extending my hands with palms facing upward and clicking my tongue in the back of my throat.

Guess what?!

By the time my expressions of gratitude were in full bloom, I began to (not in frequently) be admonished by the listener - for using too many expressions of gratitude too often! When I asked a close friend about this, she explained that my grateful embellishments were actually devaluing what had been done or given. She forgave me, stating “all Americans” do this. And, to help transform my gratitude into something truly sincere among the Jolas, she suggested that it’d be much better if I try just one occasional expression in a special moment or for a special gift or an appropriately timed gesture - dictated by norms I had yet to learn!

HA! So it goes.

Gratitude, and we’ll see this is true for additional virtues as well, must be carefully explored and then even more carefully expressed as we move across cultures, so it is indeed perceived and received as what we sincerely mean it to be. Then, both we and the recipient of our gratitude can be positively transformed by the exchange!

How about you ~ what’s one way you’ve learned to be grateful across a cultural boundary?

Share about that with a friend or note it here.

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on gratitude around the world.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ a fascinating take on gratitude:


Related Connects: since this is the first Virtue Connect, stay tuned for future ones! And let me know any that you’d be particularly interested in exploring.

[*] Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including:

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:

1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST ; 3rd dimension = HARBOR)

PROACTive Framework:

PRO = PROfile, PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Applications, Collaborations and Transformations (which we explored this week)

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming:

2023 ~ Celebrating 40+ years of working in

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community"

Please Note: this is copyrighted content.

Please do not reproduce or share without my permission (

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