Saying a simple "thank you" might be considered polite, but it's not always expected or necessary, research suggests.
While you might think you’re a stickler for manners, an international study of how often people express gratitude in response to someone doing something for them has found that responses such as "thank you", "sweet", "good job", or even a nod of the head, occurred in only about five per cent of cases.
The researchers said in everyday situations, for example, when someone asks to pass the salt at the dinner table, it’s not expected that people say thank you, and people seldom do it.
They listened to 1000 examples of requests made during informal conversations between friends, families and neighbours from different languages.
University of Sydney researcher Professor Nick Enfield, who led the study, said while it seemed standard to say "please" and "thank you" in formal social interactions, people dispense with these niceties almost entirely at home.
However, this doesn't mean they're being rude to their friends and family.
"Instead, it demonstrates that humans have an unspoken understanding we will co-operate with each other," Prof Enfield said.
"Everyday life works because it's in our nature to ask for help and pay back in kind, rather than just in words."
If you’re thinking this sounds pretty weird, the researchers did say people who spoke English and Italian were found to be more likely to express thanks.