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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

One-Off Wednesday: Whatever Happened to 'Thank-you'?

Is it just me or has there been a noticeable decline in thanks-giving? Whether it's holding the door for someone, doing a person a favour or giving a gift, does anyone respond with 'thank you' anymore?

I've been waiting almost two years now for a thank-you card from a wedding I attended. Just after the one year anniversary, I asked the bride's mother if thank-you cards had gone out yet so I'd know if mine had possibly been lost in the mail. She just laughed and said she didn't know, but would ask her daughter. I've heard nothing since.  

When I was married, proper etiquette dictated that your cards went out within three months of the wedding; now I understand couples have up to a year. Why? How hard is it to write 3 cards a night (90 in a month, 270 in three months); how busy can you be? If you must, an e-card is better than nothing. Nothing is just plain rude. The giver can only assume you didn't appreciate the thought or effort that went into buying something or that all you cared about was presents and presence was optional. Don't expect much when the baby shower comes along, that's all I can say.

Recently I spoke with a senior lady who had regularly sent money to a far-off niece for her children's birthdays, Christmas, etc. After years without any kind of thanks, she decided to keep her gifts in her purse. Nothing was said and her decision was validated.

My kids know that if they ever get married and receive wedding gifts, I will expect them to send some kind of thank-you to friends and family who give. While it's their responsibility to do the actual job, I will be asking them at various points if the task has been done. Hopefully I've raised thankful kids and won't need to do this. We shall see.

I hate to ask it, but do you think this is a generational thing or are some of my peers or elders equally thankless? Whatever happened to thank-you?


  1. My DD (11 yo) writes thank you cards for birthday gifts and will also say what she bought if she was given money. With close family she always says her thank yous when she opens them with the family present.

    In 2004, I wrote out wedding thank you cards as soon as I received the picture and card from the photographer. I expect my daughter to do the same thing when she gets married many years from now!

    Unfortunately, I think etiquette has gone from what we grew up with in the 1960s and 70's.

  2. Let me adjust my halo before I write this. I think you should give because you want to and not worry about being thanked. There are lots of reasons why kids don't thank older people and one is shyness. I would have found it difficult -- I don't now but my little girl self would have found it excruciating hard.
    Ask Amy recently said that we should try to get more on their wavelength --- send a text, send a card with an envelope and stamp. Help them do something they're not used to doing. Show real interest, not just financial. Yes, everyone loves money -- it's the best gift for young people, I think -- but some of them will express themselves to you in surprising ways once a real relationship is set up. Or not.
    Thanks for reading this! ;)
    -- pj


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