Say “Thank you!”

David and I have written about gratitude in previous posts. Some people are quick to say, “Thank you” when someone gives them a gift or does something nice, while other people rarely, if ever, show their appreciation. This post is prompted by a recent experience with someone with whom I have been acquainted for many years and who will remain nameless for the purpose of this writing. David and I gave this person a generous gift, one that was not mandated by a special event, such as a birthday or wedding, and we never, ever received a word of thanks. Although I believe thanking someone should be done via a written note or letter, (according to every etiquette book I have ever read), these days, it is acceptable to thank someone in other ways, including sending an email, a text message, or calling on the telephone. The means by which thanks is given is less important, in my view, than showing one’s appreciation by thanking the gift giver. As I said in a previous post, David often takes professional quality photos of friends, usually at their request, then he goes to the trouble of editing the photos, printing them, and sending them to the person(s) in the photos. Sadly, he frequently receives no “Thank you; that was nice of you to take and send the photos.” There are even some errant brides and grooms who, decades after he took their wedding photos for free, due to their status as friends, have yet to thank him. In the most recent episode of thanklessness, due to the value of the gift that was never acknowledged, I contacted the recipient to inquire if the gift was received. My inquiry was met with a terse, “Yes, I got it. Thanks.” I guess that counts for something! In any event, the point of this post is that it only takes a few minutes to say “Thank you,” while the damage that can be done to a relationship from an absence of gratitude can be long lasting. Thank you for reading this post!

I recall a fairly regular cause for a letter to “Dear Abby” or “Ann Landers” was the complaint that grandchildren never wrote thank you notes.  My Mom drilled that into me by buying special stationery to use for just such occasions.  And, doing so timely was expected.  It was always a bit difficult to me to do; sometimes, it felt like I was going through the motions figuring out what to say, but it got done.  Years later, I understood why Ann and Abby got such letters.  Showing appreciation is part of our culture, a way to share in our mutual lives.  But, there are times when the absence of a simple expression of thanks is noticed.  I do enjoy sharing photos with people. Lately, they seem appreciated, but there have been times when the effort, and expense, of doing so has not been appreciated.  I’ll always lament that my offer to donate my negatives created over years for one particular client was squashed.  I was a poor graduate student at the time and I offered to donate years of an archived collection for this client as long as they would pay for shipping.  Rather than saying “thank you” they asked me to cover the shipping as a donation to their non-profit hospital.  It was a shame, I couldn’t afford to do so – and they did not appreciate that those images could be utilized as a part of their corporate history.  We do not write these posts for the thanks, but we appreciate the readers, especially those who comment!  Mark W., you are not alone, but I think you lead the pack, so thank you!

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