The phrase “thank you for your understanding” is interesting because it evokes so many different connotations to the person who hears it. It may make the listener feel as though they are being let down when they aren’t.
It may also give the perceiver a bad feeling, and so it should be said with caution. For instance, if a salesperson used the phrase to a potential client, it may end up costing them the sale. A person should consider their language before speaking, especially if there is an end goal they would like to accomplish.
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“Thank You for Your Understanding”: Different Meanings in Real Life Situations
When people are having a conversation with someone that they are not as familiar with, it is important to remember that words are the best tools to use. Saying phrases such as “thank you for your understanding” may mean something completely different to you than it does to them. The following are a few different meanings that someone might perceive when they hear the phrase.
Issuing an Apology for an Inconvenience
Many delivery companies are often in the position that orders are behind schedule for reasons beyond their control. When this happens, they will often send out an email to whoever is being affected by the issue. The message will usually read something like, “the order has been delayed for reasons beyond our control. We want you to know that we apologize for the inconvenience and thanks for your understanding.”
This message essentially means that the delivery company is sorry that the order is not getting delivered on time despite their best efforts. Still, they are hoping that the client will understand and forgive them despite the inconvenience. They are also emphasizing that they are grateful for your patience waiting on the order.
Inconveniencing Someone by Asking Them to Help
There is no need to thank someone for their understanding when they are simply performing their job adequately. An example of this would be when a server in a restaurant is taking payment for a meal.
However, if a special request is made, it would make more sense to thank someone for their understanding. For instance, if a customer asked a server to split a meal between several different payment methods. This is inconveniencing the server because it is causing more work for them, which they will not like or want to do. In this case, it would be appropriate to thank them for their understanding.
Issuing a Complaint About a Service
Sometimes, when receiving poor service from a business, it is necessary to complain about them. This could take the form of “our party was poorly treated when we visited X establishment on Sep. 30, 2023. We had English relatives visiting whom we had hoped to impress. The service was very slow, and we never received our food. Thank you for your understanding and quick attention to this matter.”
In this case, the complainer is implying that they expect this poor service to be rectified in some way.
Thank You for Understanding or Thank You for Your Comprehension?
People will sometimes get confused between the English phrases “thank you for understanding” and “thank you for your comprehension.” The former is referring to thanking a person for being considerate and addressing an issue at hand.
The latter is simply thanking a person for being aware of the issue at hand. Even though they are aware of it, they are not necessarily helping out by fixing the problem.
Alternatives to the Phrase
Now that it is clear that phrases have different meanings depending on the situation, it is time to look into alternative ways to say “thank you for understanding.” The meaning can be conveyed by other words, which may come across as being politer to the listener.
Inconveniencing Someone with a Request
People will often reach out when they are stuck with something. This is normal, but they may feel as though they are putting the other person out by asking for help. There are many different alternative ways of showing appreciation to them.
Frequently in the workplace, employees will ask a co-worker to perform an inconvenient task. This may be because they do not have enough time or skills to do the work themselves. In this scenario, the employee may shoot a quick email to the co-worker and convey their appreciation.
Example: “Thanks for helping me out with marking those English papers for my students, you rock!”
Your Help is Greatly Appreciated
If the worker wanted to be a little more formal, such as if they were saying thank you for your patience and understanding to their boss, they might use a more professional way of speaking in the workplace. It will also succinctly summarize that the worker appreciates the extra effort that the boss put into helping them.
Example: “Thanks for working with me to fill out my expense reports for 2023. Your help is greatly appreciated.”
I’ll Return the Favor
This is a more informal way of speaking, but it is an indication that the colleague understands that they are asking the second coworker to go out of their way to assist. In exchange, the colleague who made the request will acknowledge that they owe the second person a favor.
Example: “That was so nice of you to help me find my English bulldog. I’ll return the favor for you when you need to use my wheelbarrow.”
Thank You, Everyone, for the Cooperation
In the case that someone is addressing a large group of people, the wording should be changed so that everyone feels included. If a boss is addressing all the employees in the company, they are writing a mass email with the phrase because they want everyone to understand.
This sends out the impression that everyone is working together to complete a common goal, and the effort is being noticed.
Example: “This has been a busy tax season for us. I appreciate everyone who has been working so hard to complete returns while maintaining our clients’ privacy. I am grateful for your cooperation.”
I Can’t Thank You Enough, and I Owe You
This is a stronger version of “I’ll return the favor.” It can be used in the professional workforce, but only on occasions that require such sentiment.
Example: I know you worked all night to get that presentation done on time. I can’t thank you enough. I owe you.”
Could You Kindly Oblige Me?
This phrase would most often be used with someone unfamiliar, such as a government office. It might be used in the situation that a request has been made, and it may be difficult for them to fulfill it.
Example: “I understand that my tax return may not be ready in time for the meeting with my accountant. However, I was hoping that you could expedite it and email it to me by tomorrow. Could you kindly oblige me?
Your Cooperation is Appreciated
This is a more formal way of addressing a group of people or an individual. The passive voice makes the phrase sound more objective, which is a professional way of speaking.
Example: “Your company has outstanding invoices on file. Your cooperation is appreciated to resolve this matter.”
Making Mistakes That Inconvenience Someone
Mistakes are inevitable in everybody’s lives. There is no way to avoid mistakes, no matter how hard somebody tries to. When these mistakes get made, it is important to thank the people who stop what they are doing to assist.
Your Accommodation is Appreciated
When people change what they are doing to assist with a situation, they are doing a very nice thing. Being flexible and wanting to support someone is a great trait to have.
Example: “I am sorry for having to cancel the business lunch that we had planned. Your accommodation in changing your plans is appreciated. We will reschedule for later in 2023 if it suits you.”
Your Continued Support is Important to Us
When times are tough, it can be a sign of great loyalty when clients decide to stay with the company. A business representative should reach out to commend the customer.
Example: We are sorry for the delays that you have been experiencing lately. We are working to resolve all the issues in the future. Your continued support is important to us.”
Your Compassion is Very Valued
When a mistake is made, it is easy to point fingers and direct the blame. When this doesn’t happen, it is a sign of compassion and should be acknowledged.
Example: “I understand that the report I sent you was the incorrect file. I apologize for the inconvenience and have attached the correct version. I will do my best to avoid this from happening again. Your compassion is very valued.”
Your Understanding is So Important to Me
This is a more emotional way of phrasing the words. It is an apology, but it also showcases that the speaker values the relationship with the listener.
Example: “Our longstanding business relationship was recently threatened by poor service from one of my salesmen. I will be looking into the matter and rectifying it. I will send you an email when it has been completed. Your understanding is so important to me.”
Thank You for Your Patience
Many problems cannot be fixed instantaneously. When clients understand this, it is a great relief to the company because they do not have to deal with the customer on top of everything else.
Example: “We understand that you only received 20 English muffins for the business lunch when you ordered 200. We apologize for this error, and we will be looking into it right away. Thank you for your patience.”
Thank You in Advance for Your Understanding of This Matter
This is a very formal way to convey thanks. The context in which this phrase is spoken is best suited in a very professional setting when used in the English language. Otherwise, it can be used when writing an official email.
Example: “It is my understanding that fraud was committed within my company. I want you to know that I will be looking into this forthwith and reporting back to you. Thank you in advance for your understanding of this matter.”
I Appreciate Your Encouragement
When a mistake is made, and a client tells a company that they understand, it is great to hear. The customer is indicating that they would like to continue to do business with the company even though there was a problem.
Example: “I am so sorry that I forgot to place your order. I was having such an off day, but I appreciate your encouragement.”
When a complaint is received, it can be very discouraging to hear. However, there is usually a good reason that the complaint has been lodged. It is the company’s responsibility to look into the issue and resolve the problem.
Thank You for Your Time with Me Today
People’s time is precious, and they will enjoy hearing that you understand that. It makes them feel that their time will not be wasted, and it will be a fruitful encounter.
Example: “I am here to request that the potholes in my street be filled. I hope that the matter will be addressed, and I am grateful for your time with me today.”
You’re a Great Listener
When someone is having a rough day, they might just need someone to vent to. By blowing off steam, they can release all their anger and compose themselves.
Example: “Thanks for letting me complain to you about my boss today. I just needed some privacy to vent a little. You’re a great listener.”
I Appreciate Your Checking into This Matter for Me
When a complaint is filed, there is an understanding that it needs to be resolved as soon as possible. Otherwise, the company will not be able to carry out their regular business needs.
Example: “Your shipping delays are causing us to lose many of our clients. We will need to come to a resolution. Otherwise, we will be forced to conduct our business elsewhere. I appreciate your checking into this matter for me.”
This Can Be Worked Out, and I Am Thankful for Your Commitment to Do So
When there is an issue to be solved, both parties will need to help out. One side will be looking into the solution, and the other will be sticking it out and waiting for a resolution.
Example: “Our shipment has arrived, but several items are damaged. We trust that you will resolve the issue as soon as possible. We are confident that this can be worked out, and I am thankful for your commitment to do so. I appreciate your understanding.”
It can take a lot for a client to vanquish any doubt they have and believe in a supplier. That supplier needs to phrase their gratitude that they feel towards the customer and their show of loyalty towards them.
Thanks for Believing in Me
When a client shows that they trust their supplier to resolve an issue, they are showcasing their faith. They believe that the problem will be solved, and they will not need to worry about it anymore.
Example: “I have resolved the problem with your order and re-issued it to you. Thanks for your patience and for believing in me to solve it.”
I Value Your Trust
When a boss places their trust in a worker, it is a huge sign of encouragement. It means that the boss has enough faith to think that the worker can proceed on their own.
Example: “I am ready to present my findings to the board of directors. I value the trust that you have placed in me.”
Your Collaboration Means a Great Deal
Business in 2023 is all about building relationships with other people. Sometimes it takes two people to complete a project, and so it pays to have that understanding with others.
Example: “I am so happy that we were successful at getting that English springer spaniel adopted. I know that you worked hard on this, and your collaboration means a great deal.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Thank Someone for Understanding?
Is it possible to thank someone for understanding without saying anything? These come in the form of actions that allow the other party to sense the gratitude.
- Offer a client a discount
- Write a letter
- Buy them a small gift
- Send flowers
- Return the favor when they need something
Is it Correct to Say “Thank You for Your Understanding?”
Yes, it is correct to say so. However, it may come across as being a little stilted to some native English listeners. Instead of saying thanks for your understanding, try practicing some new phrases that fit the situation better. This could make the conversation flow more smoothly.
What Can I Say Instead of Understanding?
There are multiple different ways to thank someone for understanding without saying those words themselves.
These could include but are not limited to the following English phrases:
- I appreciate your flexibility in this matter
- Thanks for the continued support
- Your compassion is greatly appreciated
- We value your dedication
- Thank you for the encouragement as we look into this matter
Importance of Language
The importance of proper English phrases should never be underestimated, especially if the situation involves a client. If the customer feels uncomfortable, or if they feel that their privacy is being violated, they will not purchase the goods or services, and they will use another provider.
Have there been any encounters in which precision of language was emphasized at work or elsewhere? Tell us in the comments below!