I have been in multiple situations of late where I have expressed gratitude for things that friends have done for me. The general reaction is that it is not necessary to say ‘thank you’ to a friend - that some how it is understood. Perhaps the reaction is a way of saying that what was offered was offered was offered unconditionally.
Apart from not wanting to express or appear to express a sort of taking advantage of someone, it seems to me that expressions of gratitude define relationships. It’s not just about saying ’thank you’, it’s about finding creative and meaningful ways to do it. There are things that people do and ways that people are that affect us deeply and sometimes even change us. That these people exist and that these events occur is one thing, but recognizing them is a whole other level of experience. Expressions of gratitude are a way of honouring them. It seems to me that an expression gratitude is in part for the receiver, but that mostly it is for the giver; it changes us on a fundamental level. It is an expression of respect and love that makes us better for having done it. I also think that it is impossible for us to achieve our potential as human beings without it. I understand that among my best friends there are things that sometimes go unsaid that are understood, but words have power. What we say and what we don’t say defines our relationships.