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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can We Discuss This Here?

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I do nice things sometimes. I do them, but I don't expect a big deal about them. Actually, I don't expect anything at all. I figure my reward will come because God sees what I do. That's all I want--His approval. If I get a verbal "thank you" from someone, I'm thrilled. A written thank you note is nice, but if I don't get one, I'm not upset. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I don't do those things for recognition.

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Maybe that's why I'm not very good at writing thank you notes myself. I was good for awhile. I had a friend who set a great example for me. She wrote one to everyone, it seemed, for every little thing. I got into the habit and then out of the habit when life got busier with more things to care for, and to be honest, I'm just lousy at it now. It's not that I'm ungrateful at all. It's just that I'm not good at doing those little things.

I know people who are offended if they don't get a note. To those people, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I am a thoughtless oaf. It's just true. I know it only takes a moment, but when that moment comes, I can't find a card or I can't find the envelope that goes with the card or I can't find a stamp. I know, excuses, excuses.

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So, what do you think? Is it inappropriate just to give a verbal thank you? Is it okay to say thanks via social media? Is it okay to express appreciation in an email?

We live in a world of entitlement. By not going to special lengths, am I acting like I feel entitled to whatever I'm given? By not setting a better example for my children, am I teaching them to live an entitled lifestyle? I teach them the words "thank you" from birth. They learn to use them in appropriate circumstances without prompting, but is this not enough?
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I'm struggling with this? Do I just need to get over myself, get more organized and get with the program and write a note when required?


Meghan, Carson and the Kiddos said...

I'm so glad that you posted this because I sometimes lay awake at night worrying that people think that I'm ungrateful because I'm such a terrible thank you note writer. I've written then and forgot to send them and have then found them years later. It makes me sad that I'm not better at it. I don't have any words to make you feel better because I'm just as bad. I'm anxious to see what everyone else says!

Deena said...

Meghan just said everything that I felt as I wrote this. I know that when I give a gift or do something nice for someone, I do not expect (or even want) a written thank-you. i would rather that person spend time enjoying other things in life that don't revolve around feeling an obligation to send me a note of thanks. However, like you, I do know some people are offended not to receive thank you notes from me. Does it make me any more likely to write them? No, for all of the reasons you listed and then some. Do I think about the thoughtfulness, and am I grateful? Yes! Oh gosh, yes! So why don't I write that down and send it off? I have no idea. I always have good intentions. I really do. I guess I am a thoughtless oaf too. but at least you know that if I do something nice for you, I will never be upset if you don't send me a thank you note! ; )

Darilyn said...

I think that written notes are very appreciated. I am always super impressed when I get one. But I don't expect them. Well, except for wedding gifts. I do expect those. And honestly I think it's rude and in poor taste to not send wedding thank yous. With that being said, I have noticed that I'm receiving fewer and fewer wedding thank yous. And I can only chalk that up to the fact that we have not been as good about teaching our children to write them! My mother taught me to write thank yous. It was expected of me. And I did them. I have good intentions with having my kids write them but like the comment above, I too have them write them and then find them a year later never sent. Or they write half of them and then so much time has passed that i'm like, "oh well." My kids are not learning to write thank yous like I did. And probably will be one of those that does not send them for wedding gifts as well. Sheesh, see the pattern? Anyway, those are my thoughts. Probably not very helpful I suppose.

Tonya said...

I'm absolutely horrible at sending thank you notes! And I've been equally horrible at not teaching my kids to write them either. I really don;t expect them for things I've done for other's, but I'm always so excited when I do receive one...which isn't often. I try to take the verbal approach. I'm pretty good at making a phone call and giving my thanks. And really, I'd rather have that actual voice to voice connection with someone. That being said, I was so excited when I found hand written notes of thanks written to one of my great grandfathers many, many years ago. The hand written notes live on for years and years, while my phone calls won't be remembered for long at all. Hmmmm...now I'm thinking.

vaxhacker said...

I am awful at sending thank-you notes. I hope I haven't offended anyone by that. Personally, though, I would appreciate a verbal thank-you more. A written note is always a nice (and somewhat rare) surprise, but sometimes they seem like they are written from a sense of fulfilling one's obligations to the demands of etiquette as much as expressing gratitude. Now, a friend who greets me with a smile and lets me know that something I did or said made some kind of positive effect on their day? That really warms my heart and it's pretty plain when it's genuine.

I don't expect accolades for things I do (and sometimes struggle inwardly at how to gracefully accept them, tending to downplay them at the moment) but just those kind words make so much more difference to me than any card I receive in the mail.

lia london, author and writing coach said...

I am not a natural born thank you note writer, but I do always try to express gratitude, either in person or on the phone. Once, I made it a personal project to write notes to 30 people as the occasions arose. It was a good exercise for me, but I found it almost caused me to be slower to say thanks because the effort was going to be bigger.

Adriane D said...

I think you're fine, Julie. A written note, to me, is just as nice as a verbal or electronic thanks. I have a friend who is so punctual on her thank you notes EVERY TIME that they almost have less sentiment... if that makes any sense.

I agree that the reward is in doing the deed in the first place.

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