Friday, September 23, 2005

What does it take to say "thank you"...?

One of my girlfriends recently threw someone a birthday dinner. She went all out to make the night special....she decorated the house, made a dinner complete from appetizers to dessert; she really wanted to create a memorable night for them. And it was.... everyone had a wonderful time. Interesting thing though. The guest of honor never called the next day to say thank you. Actually, the next time they spoke - a few days later - it wasn't mentioned at all then either. My friend - being a very thoughtful, kind and warm person - was hurt by the fact that nothing was mentioned. No "hey - you know, I really had a great time the other night...". Nothing. How do you react to something like that? Do you give them the benefit of the doubt that they thought expressing fun at the moment in which it occured was good enough? Do you chalk it up to ignorance?

I'm very much a "thank you" person. I appreciate everything that a person does for me when they've got kind thoughts and obviously my best intentions in mind. Not only do I follow up with a thank you call (or email, which nowadays is appropriate in lieu of a phone call for this kind of positive feedback); but I send a thank you card. This is just how I am. Some may say that's going too far....I however, think that if someone is taking the time out to do something kind for me, than the very least I can do is write a short note and spend 32 cents on a stamp to send a token of my appreciation.

It wasn't necessarily ingrained in me as a child to do this; my mom always taught various niceties about kindness of course - but thank you note writing wasn't a "must". This is something that I've sort of learned along the way, as what my perspective of how I choose to be as a person in the big scheme of life is. To me, while sending a card might be construed as more than necessary to some - at least calling to let someone know that their thoughts and efforts were appreciated is something that should be a core part of who you are as a person. And I often wonder how some people manage to go through life trumping on other's feelings in such a manner without ever having it brought to their attention.

Am I the only one who feels this way?


Alison Rose said...

No, no you're not the only one who feels this way. The guest of honor was thoughtless. There's so much incivility in this world, the least we can do is be kind when the situation warrants--no, demands--it. Doesn't seem to be a lot of guesswork in this case!

Sounds to me like the person owes her friend more just a thank you. At the very least a cup of coffee and a pastry at the nearest latte' house would be a nice gesture.

But then--maybe that's just me and you! :-)

steelcowboy said...

Common courtesy seems to be lacking a lot now a days. My daughter, who I taught better, really, took almost two months to get around to sending out her thank you's for her high school graduation gifts... I was NOT pleased with her about it.

Rebecca said...

Hey Cowboy - at least in your daughter's case, you're teaching her the courtesy; she's a teenager, so even if promptness isn't exactly there, the concept is. She'll get better at it! :)

Alison - I totally agree!

Lori said...

I agree 100%. And children learn about it by watching us, their parents. If WE do nothing to show gratitude (a handwritten note is always lovely I think), then how will they learn? My son has to have a tap on the shoulder about it, but does pretty well. And my 16-yr-old daughter has thank-you's written before her birthday cake is gone or the Christmas tree down! Some people are natural writers...and perhaps it is easier. But we should always make an effort to show someone how much we appreciate them, especially when they've shown it to us.

Jerry said...

The good feelings I've felt when someone paid me the courtesy of saying thank you taught me I could give just such a gift to someone for free and they'd love it too.

great post Rebecca.

have a great weekend!

JAX said...

I am a thankyou person but I suck at sending cards. I will buy them and write them but they will sit on my desk until I wonder if it's too late to send them. I don't know what my hangup is. I always do the follow up thankyou call or email though.

I feel guilty that I skimp on sending the cards. I think I just have a mental block when it comes to snail mail.

Tish Grier said...

I just left a comment on alison's blog about this, but I'll leave it here too...

basically, I think we're losing the sense of 'common courtesy'--people aren't taught it at home and lord knows the schools don't have time to do it.

Case in point: I held the door open for a young woman and her kid in a carriage...she said "thank you" and I said "you're welcome." appropriate response, correct? Then, she says, "I'm sure you are."

what was that suppose to mean? I think she simply needed to have the last word, no matter how much of a non-sequiter or how inappropriate it was. And that's a quirk I don't want anything to do with.

So, you're def. not alone!

McSwain said...

I'm big on thank you cards also. First of all, it's just nice and makes the person feel appreciated. But secondly, it makes a good impression. It can help you get a good job, another birthday party, lots of good things... So see, there are selfish reasons for sending them, too!

Rebecca said...

Tish - I can't believe she made a remark like that. Exactly - what's that supposed to mean? How rude. And you're absolutely right -the breakdown begins at home. Same with everything, including respect. But I digress into something that I could rant about in another post. ;)

Jax - I think that so long as you verbalize the thank you after the fact - it's fine. Like, I totally go over and above most likely. But that's my hangup. And I always worry that people don't get the thank you cards - because it's not something that people say "hey, thanks for the thank you!" hahaha. So I probably have issues anyway. :)

Cheryl - that's funny you mention the job aspect. When I was younger and interviewing via a headhunter, I remember them forcing me to write thank you cards; I never got the concept with regards to a job, because it made me feel like a "suck up". But you're right, it can make a difference!

clew said...

I'm totally with you. I always send thank yous for things like this - it means a lot to me that my friends and loved ones go out of their way to do something special for me. A personal penned thank you is the least I can do - And I think that since such an art has been put to the wayside by so many, the gesture is appreciated even more. :)

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