If we take a moment to think about how often we use the phrase “I'm sorry,” it reveals how frequently we apologize when we could be thanking the person in front of us. Illustrator Yao Xiao has picked up on this trend and instead believes that our apologies can easily be replaced with gratitude, replacing I'm sorry with a simple Thank you. “A few friends of mine would always say ‘thank you for hanging out with me' and I couldn't figure out why it was so nice to hear it,” she told A Plus. “When I thanked people, it brought to light the fact that we just did something together–and that realization made us both happier.” To illustrate this exact sentiment for others to see, Xiao used everyday scenarios as inspiration to create an eye-opening series of comics.
Even though her project is captioned “If you want to say thank you, don't say sorry,” the artist never wants anyone to feel ashamed for apologizing. “To me it is not about correcting behavior, it is about taking an extra step when you are capable,” Xiao explains. “I know that when I say ‘sorry I'm taking up so much of your time,' I just want to hear someone say ‘it's okay, and I like spending time with you.' It comes from the same place, and people understand it.” Ultimately, the illustrator's work demonstrates that gratitude and apologizing are quite similar, but the former tends to make everyone feel better about themselves.