What Do You Say When You Give A Tip?

Giving tips can be awkward for even the most socially outgoing people. You might be thinking about what you should say or what gesture you should make while tipping your server or your delivery guy or a local worker at a bar or a shop.

There is a very simple rule on what to say when tipping: Always say “Thank you” while paying the bill with a smile on your face and sometimes with an additional sentence explaining to them how much of the change they need to bring back so they realize that the remainings are your tip.

The extra money is a tip for them. This is because some people don’t find it very comfortable to take tips and by not being told that they’re being tipped, their self-respect is upheld as well as their token of appreciation in the form of a tip is received without any awkward exchange.

In the next sections, we’ll be covering the basics of tipping servers and waiters and what gestures and body language you should adopt along with telling you what the right words to say to them are because sometimes unintentional words can prove to be rude or hurtful.

Why give someone a tip

Before we delve into the much more detailed topic of how to tip a server or a minimum wage working waiter, let’s talk about why we choose to give a little extra bit of money to these workers.

When a waiter at a bar or a server at a restaurant gives good service and makes sure that you’re provided with an excellent experience, out of respect for their work and as a token of appreciation, we are supposed to give them a tip from our pocket.

The reason for this is that most of these workers are being paid minimum wage and even not that, they’re still being paid too little as compared to the other professions in today’s society.

A large proportion of their monthly money comes from the tips that generous and courteous customers leave to them. This not only helps them live a better lifestyle but also makes their day better. It serves as a motivation for them and it makes them respect you as a person.

It is always great to tip people a small percentage of the service that you purchase from them because you tell them that their presence and their service are important to you and that it makes your life easier.

This es especially true if you had some special requests like ordering lots of labor-intensive appetizers.

What to say when you give a tip

Let’s talk about some of the appropriate responses to waiters who provide good service and what you should say while tipping them.

Let’s start with something light but heartfelt. Say “Thank You” for their services. A simple thank you goes a long way. You will be surprised to see the smile on their faces because it is not often waiters and servers encounter genuinely good people.

While paying the bill, you can slide a few extra bucks as a tip while saying thank you, which would be a very subtle and nice way of thanking your host and giving them a tip for their services.

Perhaps you can add a line for their excellent service or maybe you can tell them that they’re good at what they do or that they were able to make your experience special, these little things play a very important role in making people happy.

Knowing that they were able to make your day better just gives a feeling of satisfaction and this is exactly what your server would experience while thanking you for your kind words.

If the server doesn’t accept your tip or they simply refuse it, instead of forcing them to take it for proving that you’re a nice person can go the opposite way. Try understanding that they’re refusing because they’re being well-paid by the company or the restaurant and they aren’t allowed to take tips from the customers due to some policy.

If waiters need a tip, they would not refuse it, however, to appear nice, they might not accept it at once, you can ask them a few times, but in case they do not accept, it’s better if you don’t push it too much.

As they say, forced kindness is not kindness at all.

What kind of body language does a courteous person have?

Tipping someone directly relates to a person’s etiquette and courtesy.

However, some people do not know what kind of body language to adopt while tipping someone or what kinds of gestures to make. To address that, we’ve talked about both of the important factors that a courteous person should care about.

Facial Expressions

When it comes to showcasing your kindness while tipping someone and thanking them for their services, facial expressions matter the most. Imagine a person with an incredibly angry look on their face trying to tip someone. The waiter would be so intimidated that they’d think that person just fought with someone.

Keeping a smile on your face and making sure your face glimmers with happiness is very important while tipping someone.


Well, first of all, avoid making disrespectful hand gestures or trying to use signs to ask them to come to your table or to bring the bill. It immediately makes you look very misbehaving.

Try to gesture calmly, signifying your satisfaction, so they are truly able to grasp your respect towards them and understand your good intention.

Your overall body language needs to be calm and cool. This isn’t a test and you’re not in a hurry. Just be yourself, don’t feel awkward, and thank them for what they did for you.

Don’t appear nervous and don’t feel like you’re doing them a favor, you’re merely thanking them in person by your own choice for their job which they do already get paid for.

What to do while tipping someone?

Here is a list of things that you should do while tipping your waiter or server, to make sure the exchange is hearty and wholesome.

Be polite

Whether you’re at a restaurant, at home, or in public, politeness is what makes you human. Even while tipping someone, you need to make sure you’re being polite and that none of your words are hurtful or condescending in any way.

This will not only make you more courteous but it will also increase your people skills.

Keep a smile on your face

They say “Smiling itself is an exercise”. Well then work those muscles out I’d say.

Keeping a smile on your face throughout the day is going to make so many people happy, that you can’t even keep count of them. Even while tipping someone, make sure your smile seems natural and goes with your words.

Use respectful language

Don’t say words like, this is the tip I’m giving you here is your money, etc. These words seem extremely misplaced.

Instead, go for indirect words that don’t hurt the self-esteem of the workers like the rest is yours or please keep the change. This slight change in tone and words go a long way.

What not to do while tipping someone

Now that we’ve talked about what is the right way of tipping someone, let’s talk about the things you should avoid while tipping your servers to keep the exchange healthy and respectful.

Don’t use inappropriate callings

I’ve seen people clapping or whistling waiters and servers toward them which is extremely inhumane. This is not the way you should be addressing your waiters.

Instead, you should wait for someone to accompany you and if not, you can ask for the manager to provide you with a server for the stay.

Don’t say condescending words

Do not address them like they’re inferior to you, you need to make sure you civilly talk to them because the server profession is just as respectful as any other.

Instead, you should focus on using better and nicer words if you’ve had a good experience and leave them a generous tip for their kindness.

All these guidelines and things that you can say while tipping someone are very effective. They help in keeping a respectable environment and establishing a decent customer server relationship.

A few kind words can go a very long way when it comes to being nice to people doing tough jobs. You can take guidance from the Waiter Rule written by William H. Swanson about how waiters and servers should be treated.

If you’ve read the article thoroughly, you now know what to say and what not to say to maintain your tipping etiquette. From the standpoint of a good person, you understand that saying good things about someone’s efforts and giving them a little extra for their work can make their life slightly better, giving you a little more mental satisfaction.

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