I received a sweet Thank You note from a fairly new friend, Greg, earlier this afternoon.
“Thanks to you and Chuck for a wonderful avenue of exploring San Diego – loved being out in the neighborhood, meeting Chuck and seeing your beautiful home. God, do I love California! Was great spending time with you – I look forward to it! Thanks for many kindnesses!! Love, Greg.”
Needless to say, Greg’s card warmed my heart, not only for his kind words of appreciation, but also for the fact that such a small act of graciousness on my part, left a big enough impression to motivate him to send a special Thank You note.
Last week Greg was in town with “The Langsters;” 3 sisters who share the maiden name of Lang – two of the girls (Robin, one of my closest friends, and Denny) and Greg are from the Boston area, all visiting the oldest sister, Debra, who lives in Capistrano. They all came down from Orange County to go on Debra’s boyfriend’s boat. We had a lovely boat ride — which included lunch — then later came back to my house for some wine and a few small bites.
They were at my house for only about an hour and a half, but it was a great way to wrap up a fun day before they all headed back to Orange County.
Entertaining is such a labor of love for me, and this particular get-together took very little time or effort on my part, mostly because I knew we would have already had lunch, plus it would be a short visit at the house.
Regardless, Greg was impressed and appreciative enough to take the time to let me know.
For some people, sending Thank You cards comes automatically and sincerely. In my book, even an email or phone call expressing appreciation is a gracious form of gratitude; but an actual hand-written card definitely shows that that person went just a little further in showing their appreciation. The price of postage could even be taken into account, but even more so, I think there is something about an old-fashioned, “snail mail” thank you that just blows the competition completely out of the water.
Our friend Craig — who just left this morning after a fun weekend — never fails to immediately drop a Thank You card in the mail upon his return home. (There have been times when we’ve received a card so promptly that I wonder if he mailed it on his way out of San Diego.)
Then there are those people who simply don’t feel the need to send Thank You’s at all; even a verbal “thank you” doesn’t seem to be something they deem necessary and polite.
I’m not picky; if I physically hand you a gift and you open it in front of me, a verbal thanks will suffice. If you would like to extend that even more by sending a Thank You card on top of that, it is certainly appreciated but not expected.
I brought a gift to a friend’s birthday party a few weeks ago, and either the card — which I securely placed in the gift bag — got separated from the gift, or she just hasn’t gotten around to sending out Thank You notes. I am hesitant to ask if she liked the gift, as I want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s just a bit behind in her Thank You cards. Another part of me doesn’t want to inflict guilt on her. Whether any acknowledgment materializes or not, I take solace in knowing that the gift did not cost all that much. Some things just fall through the cracks; I still like that person.
One thing is certain however, under any circumstance and its outcome: I can forgive — but I can assure you that I will not forget.
Christmas time is hit or miss when it comes to giving and receiving; we may not be able to find the perfect gift, but we try to buy what we feel the recipient might enjoy. Whether they appreciate the gift or not, some sort of acknowledgement is appreciated. Sometimes I’ll receive thanks from the ones I least expect it from, and vice versa.
I cannot count the number of times when I have not received a Thank You or acknowledgment of any kind regarding a particular gift or act of kindness. I enjoy giving when possible, and my love for shopping sometimes gives me a good excuse to do so; I can’t let the non-gracious, self-entitled and/or forgetful sorts rain on my joy.
Since we are inundated with acts of ungraciousness almost on a daily basis — running the gamut from not receiving a Thank You for a wedding gift, to not receiving a courtesy wave when we let someone merge into our lane — perhaps it is best to instead focus on, and celebrate the people who do show their gratitude, who do take the time and effort to let you know how much they appreciate what you did.
We cannot control other people; we can only control our reaction to them.
So, for all the people who know how to show their appreciation —from Greg, to Craig, to my 9-year-old neighbor Tess, who sent a personalized (with her name and caricature embossed) Thank You card for our Pretzel and Jewelry-making night a few weeks ago — those are the people who will continue to have gifts, acts of kindness and invitations bestowed upon them.
That’s because they truly get it.