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One of my friend always helps me but does not want me to know that he helps me. Is there a word or phrase to describe this secret helping?

Also, if someone wanted to thank the secret helper, is there an expression to do so? The expression that comes to mind is

Thank you for always helping me silently.

But seems this expression does not seem as if it would be used by a native speaker. I have also come up with some expressions like

  • Thank you for always helping me in the background
  • Thank you for always helping me under the hood

Are either of these acceptable? Is there a even better expression?

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    'Thank you for your constant and discreet help/support' – user66974 Jul 25 '14 at 22:16
  • "Thank you for being my silent benefactor." – Lumberjack Jul 25 '14 at 22:19
  • "Thank you for being my guardian angel." – Lumberjack Jul 25 '14 at 22:19
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    I propose you drop the whole silent aspect of this. The whole reason you are writing this is to show appreciation to your friend. Drawing so much attention to the fact that he helped silently, does that really improve the message of appreciation? In my opinion, it does not. If it were me, I would say, "Thanks for always being there for me." OR, "You've always got my back, and I can't thank you enough." – Lumberjack Jul 25 '14 at 22:22
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"I appreciate your help" implies both that you're aware of it and that you're aware of its value- that you're grateful. "Thanks for your support" is another option. "Support" seems a little less overt than "help."

Some alternatives to "secret" are "subtle" and "anonymous." Lumberjack is right to say that there's no need to draw attention to the secrecy in your thanks. "Thank you for always helping me silently" could imply that you're grateful for their help and you've recognized and appreciated how discrete they've tried to be, but it could also imply that you want them to be silent and you're glad they helped silently instead of openly.

Personally, here's what I'd write or say: "Thank you so much for all your help over the past year, Carol. I really appreciate your constant support."

Finally, this brings to mind Matthew 6, which you may find helpful as you look for the right words. "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret."

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