How Much Thanks Is Too Much Thanks?

Recently, we were discussing whether you could go overboard with thanking someone…

Jaya: Okay so the question is, is there ever a time where a thank you note is not appropriate or too much?
We’re always harping on how thank you notes are so great, but they do have a tendency to be Very Official and that can be weird for certain things

 

Victoria: That’s true. I think thank you notes can be weird for monumental gifts and services…like, they are so small in comparison, that they seem silly? Although, I guess, when my grandmother sent me my inheritance early, I think I sent a note but also called her (for me, calling her is a supreme gesture since we just…don’t talk on the phone).

 

Jaya: That’s a good point! Yeah, I think with large, generous gestures, especially with family, a phone call or in person thank you seems more meaningful. Like, I sent thank you notes to people who got me bowls for my wedding. This should be different than that.

 

Victoria: Haha yeah, exactly. And like, even aside from money gifts, like say someone came and stayed with you when you were sick for a period of time, or something. like…a thank you note is just not enough. And really, you aren’t GOING to be able to even really thank them in a way that is meaningful enough for what you received from them. Other than to sincerely thank them when it is occurring and hopefully be willing to do something similar for them.

 

 

Jaya: Right. I think that’s key, that this is all in service of conveying a deep emotion, which is a hard thing to make tangible. But to me, someone looking into my eyes and thanking me for something is always going to FEEL nicer than a note.
Victoria: Exactly. I like notes for wedding presents and stuff because it feels very formal for a formal exchange. But its very rote.

 

Jaya: Though, you bring up that nothing will ever be enough, which brings me to another pet peeve–people who will not stop thanking.

 

Victoria: Ughhh yeah, it’s very embarrassing.

 

Jaya: It seems like they understand that a note or a phone call is not enough, but try to make up for that by bringing it up all the time.

 

Victoria: Just be cool everyone.

 

Jaya: hahahaha

 

Victoria: No, I am serious though. It’s the same with taking compliments.

 

Jaya: Yes!

 

Victoria: Really and seriously try to bite your tongue and just say thank you the once.

 

Jaya: I mean, if anything, it just unnecessarily raises the bar. Then it makes people who only get one thank you from someone feel like that is somehow inadequate or in-genuine.

 

Victoria: That’s true.

 

Jaya: And also, I think it’s almost like saying “I’m sorry.” You’re not doing this to come off as a good person, you’re doing this to convey a specific feeling for the benefit of someone else. So just like, be sincere in your thanks and you won’t have to do it more than once.

 

Victoria: Agreed. Although, I think it can come up naturally sometimes- like with the Hamilton thing (ED: Jaya chipped in with a ton of people for Hamilton tickets for Victoria’s birthday), yeah, I thanked you guys at the time (and tried to thank everyone individually, in person) but then also specifically mentioned it when posting about it when it happened, and a few times when mentioning it to other people. But that feels organic, I guess?

 

Jaya: Oh totally. I’m not saying it has to be a hard and fast rule of ONE THANK YOU AND THAT’S IT. I think you nailed it, when it feels organic that’s fine. Instead of it coming out of an anxiety that you haven’t done enough.

 

Victoria: Haha yeah. I mean, I think the giver can feel the difference between joy and anxiety? Hence the be cool thing. When in doubt, say thank you once.

 

Jaya: Probably. Nobody is as smooth as they think they are, so if they send a note and call and bring it up twice in person, the giver is probably like “okay but you can chill now.”

 

Victoria: Hahaha I am smooth. But yeah, agreed.

 

Jaya: Well of course YOU’RE smooth. We’re talking about people without an extensive glove collection here.

 

Victoria: I am available for lessons for the low low price of $50 an hour, LOL.

 

Jaya: hahahahaha. Lessons on how to own gloves and thank people effectively, call Victoria.
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How to Graciously Accept a Gift You Do Not Want

Always an option

Always an option

There was a video going around recently (that turned out to be fake) showing a husband surprising his wife with a $60,000 kitchen remodel. And when she walks in she is not impressed and walks out. Now, if it were me, I would be FURIOUS that my (hypothetical) husband spent $60,000 of our money without consulting me on a change in our house that I would have to look at and cook in for at least the next 10 years. And the fake kitchen in this particular video was not even that nice, so adding in that anyone who had spent $60k on it was an idiot who got wildly ripped off. It was baffling to me, then, that so many of the comments on the video were about the wife being ungrateful and horrible. Now this is an incredibly extreme example of being ungracious about a gift, but highlights this visceral reaction that people have to their gifts being rejected.

Thus it is important to learn how to receive gifts gracefully and with tact.

Obviously, it is important not to scowl, say “this isn’t what I wanted,” call the thing ugly, throw it across the room, or otherwise make the giver aware that you hate their gift.

You should at least act like you are pleased- say something like “this is great! I always wanted a purse shaped like a cat!”

If it’s someone close to you like your grandma who you see frequently, it’s a nice gesture to keep the offending item around and pull it out when they come over, but this is completely optional.

Say thank you in person or write a thank you note if you are not with them.

If you are able to figure out where they bought it and return it, that’s fine and great. If not, give it away to someone who can use it more.

Avoid regifting if it is likely that the original giver will find out.

If you do run into a problem where someone is consistently giving you tons of stuff that you don’t want and don’t have room for (like bringing you random junk every week) then you can have a gentle conversation about appreciating the thought but you are trying to get clutter out of your life and you would love to see just them, no presents.

If a repetitive poor gift giver is someone VERY close to you like your parents or your spouse, you can also have a gentle conversation to try to steer them in the right direction.

So tell me, what are the worst gifts you were ever given?