Friday, September 23, 2005

Looking for Thanks in All the Wrong Places?

Rebecca, from I'm Just a Girl, has an interesting post today about civility and ingratitude.

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?
The older I get, the more forgiving I try to be of other people's quirks. Maybe the guest of honor was distracted. Maybe he/she really did think that all that effort was worth nothing more than a thank you at the time. Maybe.

As much as possible, I like to think the best of people, especially my friends. But I'm with the party-giver--I'd have been a little hurt, too. So Rebecca and I want to know: Is that just our hangup? Maybe we're just a couple of over-sensitive gals.


Blogger Tish G. said...

That story kind of reminds me of something weird that happened today--when a young woman said "thank you" when I held the door for her and her kid, and I said "you're welcome," she answered "I'm sure you are."

What was that supposed to mean?

Often, people don't seem to understand civilities anymore. Some folks don't know how to simply say thank you, and don't know that "you're welcome" is the proper response to a thank you. Along the same lines, some people really don't know when to say thank you. If the person has a genuine quirk (perhaps ADD or something) that's one thing. He/She could still learn to respond properly though.

Generally, I think it's that many never learn the simple social graces at home, and schools certainly don't have the time to teach them either. Perhaps in another generation, the idea of something like "thank you" and "you're welcome" will be quaint old fashioned ideas. you never know.

7:41 PM  
Blogger michellesarah said...

I don't know how upset I'd get - I guess it would depend upon how much my efforts had been acknowledged during the event. If the fact that I'd worked hard and all had been mentioned a couple of times over the course of the night, and a thankyou was said as they were leaving, I would probably consider that enough. I guess the reason I would've done it was not to receive thanks, but just because they're a good friend who I wanted to do something nice for. Probably to say thankyou for being a good friend in the first place!

But I too have noticed that people don't seem to be up with their manners anymore - I am still polite no matter what the situation, I was at the hospital the other day, doubled over in pain from a kidney infection and still managed to remember to say thankyou to the doctor for some medicine despite feeling pretty faint. I work in a school though, and I am always reminding the kids to use their manners, and complimenting those who remember.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Tish--couldn't agree with you more. I wrote a little about this a while back in a post about my brother, who was always the perfect gentleman as a kid. Though it came naturally to him, he had a great teacher--our mom. When parents fail to teach civility (call them manners--it's really just civility), then everyone loses.

MichelleSarah--I agree that there is the issue of doing something to be thanked. You're right--doing the right thing should be the first motivation in such situations, and the friends did say thanks that night. But it's too bad the event wasn't mentioned at all just a couple of days later--based on Rebecca's description, it seems like the host went to a lot of trouble and one more bit of thanks probably wouldn't have hurt.

I'm sorry to hear about your kidney infection (ouch!). Hope you're doing better.

BTW, although I'm sure you were nice to the doctor because you're a nice person (and keep teaching those kids--thank you!!)--you get better care when you're polite. I speak from experience as a person with a chronic illness (currently in remission). Funny how civility helps everything work better!

And welcome to my blog, all the way from Australia! It's the beginning of spring there, yes?

6:55 PM  
Blogger Mr. Liberty said...

You know, I would have been hurt too. But I think it's better to try and just do these things for the pleasure one gets from it.

And if there's no thankyou, then you did it for all kinds of reasons, and the thanks was the least of them.

Just my opinion. That's the only one I have.


3:41 PM  

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