22 answers

No Thank You's or Acknowledgement ... Should I Feel Slighted?

Maybe this is a vent, but I would like to hear from you as this has been bothering me for awhile.

My brother and sister-in-law have 3 children. Sometimes we see them around the holidays and their birthdays, sometimes we don't. If we don't, I always still send them a card and gift. Same goes for sending one to my brother and SIL on their birthdays. I NEVER receive a thank you, a call, a note. Nada.

I was always raised that you acknowledge a gift. In fact, I was raised to send thank you cards and I do. Or a thank you email. But I acknowledge the gesture in one way or the other, maybe even a phone call. Something!

I'm really getting turned off by this and am almost to the point where if I don't see them in person for a birthday party, etc. then I feel like doing nothing. 2 of the 3 kids are at an age where they could also step up and call to say thanks.

The last few years, they've even forgotten my and my husband's birthday altogether, then remembered weeks later and mail a card, with no apology of it being belated or anything. That really hurt on my 40th.

I don't want to talk to them about it, either. I don't feel I should have to call and ask, "Oh, hey did you receive the gift??"

What would you ladies do?

update: (and yes, I'm teaching our daughter to acknowledge gifts; I really couldn't be complaining if I weren't :) And that's the thing ... how do I know they appreciate the gestures very much? I don't. In fact, I don't think they appreciate it or they would do the right thing and call! I don't really get joy out of purchasing gifts, I get joy out of knowing that someone liked it and appreciated it. Not knowing that in and of itself takes away any joy. Oh, and I might add that even if I did call, they don't call back. They don't answer emails, they don't answer phone calls, they don't answer texts, etc. As a family member, it's quite frustrating. What if there were an emergency?? My parents have even commented that they don't get back to them most of the time, either. I'm just kind of over the whole thing. I love my brother, but it is hard to be close with him and his family. We invite them places ahead of time, like a family outing at our lake, and when I call to confirm closer to the date, they've "forgotten" "never put it on the calendar" etc. So I stopped inviting them to get together. The whole thing kind of makes me sad -- and we live about 10 miles apart so not far at all!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all of your responses, it really made me realize that my feelings of hurt are valid. Based on your comments, I can see that I'm not alone in this phenomenon of indifference. I also love the "attitude of gratitude" phrase; I"m going to remember that when I continue to teach our daughter about the value of thanking others. You ladies have made me feel a little bit better. Thank you and have a great weekend!!

Featured Answers

I teach my kids that if someone can take the time to give them a gift, they can spend the time writing a thank you note. Not only that, we are now working on the 6 components of a polite "thank you card": The greeting, expressing gratitude, discuss use of item, mention it will was nice to see the person or see them soon, then grace (another thank you) and then the regards.

I think manners is about making others feel valued and respected.

4 moms found this helpful

When my kids are too young to write their own bday thank you'd, we thank those who are present and call those who sent gifts.... At about 4 yo, we do thank you cards together for everyone- present at the party or not. Exceptions are baptism gifts etc, I ALWAYS send cards. Just good common manners. I think I'd be ticked too :) sounds like they just can't be bothered....

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Stop. Plain and simple. If they can't as least acknowledge that they received it, let alone express thanks, I say quit doing it.

We could accumulate far too many people on our gift & holiday lists if we don't occasionally weed it out. I would probably relegate these people to the Christmas Card List and nothing more.

*** ETA**** After reading your So What Happened, I would like to emphasize my advice to stop sending gifts. It seems fairly obvious that your brother's family is not interested in a "close" relationship. Believe it or not, sending gifts will only widen the gap. If you are invited to an event for the children (birthday, baptism, whatever) by all means, get the kids a gift, but don't expect acknowledgement. Otherwise, keep them on the Christmas card list and let your parents try to include them in family gatherings. If you keep trying and are met with resistance, it will only get worse. Trust me. I know from experience.

5 moms found this helpful

We must be related because I could have written your question about my husband's family. I have been thoughtfully choosing, wrapping, sending gifts/checks/gift cards/$$ to his nieces & nephews for 25 years and I have never once received even a verbal thank you (I'd settle for a text at this point). The joke between my husband and me is that our "thank you" is when they cash the check. I should also mention that my husband's sisters don't answer calls, emails or texts - ever. They never return calls and quite frankly, we someone could drop dead and they wouldn't know.
I make sure my daughter writes thank you notes. That's how I was raised. I'm in my 40's and my mother still asks if I remember to send a thank you note to relatives for gifts. Yes, Mom, you taught me well. I think it's such a shame when people don't teach their children to do this. It's common courtesy.

5 moms found this helpful

I give gifts not for the thank yous, but because I like to give.. That being said, I at least want to know the gift was received, so I do call if I have not heard from anyone in that home...

The fact that even the adults do not send Thank you notes says it all.. How are the children supposed to know if their parents do not do this themselves?

Does your husband write all of his thank you notes?
I know my husband does not.. I do, so does our daughter, but my husbands family NEVER writes thank yous.. At least now with email I can send and email and just ask if the gifts were received.

This last Christmas my sister asked me to please give her son, my nephew personalized notes.. I gave him more exciting things as well as beautiful personalized cards and envelopes and a special pen. He was so excited.. He will be a junior in high school this year, so he wanted some more grown up notes..

Maybe this could be your next gift to them.. Maybe they do not have any thank you notes? Hee, hee..

Just call or email to make sure they were received and in the future keep your expectations low, they may surprise you.. I still give gifts to my inlaws, I just know they will never send a thank you..

4 moms found this helpful

I teach my kids that if someone can take the time to give them a gift, they can spend the time writing a thank you note. Not only that, we are now working on the 6 components of a polite "thank you card": The greeting, expressing gratitude, discuss use of item, mention it will was nice to see the person or see them soon, then grace (another thank you) and then the regards.

I think manners is about making others feel valued and respected.

4 moms found this helpful

I am going through the same thing. It annoys me like crazy. I mail gifts to my nieces and receive no acknowledgment whatsoever! I end up sending emails and asking, "Did you receive the gift I sent to ______?" My sister-in-laws, both of them, have replied, "Yes, we got it." STILL NOT EVEN A THANK YOU!!! Anyway, I asked them if in the future when I mail a gift, if they could just let me know they've received it. My nieces, one is 13 and the other 2 are 11, are old enough to be able to send a thank you note. If not a note, even an email or a phone call would be better than nothing. I've never received a thank you! I've gotten so tired of it and really think I'm going to stop sending gifts to them. Bottom line, it shows they don't appreciate it anyway. It is up to their parents to teach them manners, which obviously they aren't doing. My daughter is 7 now. She's been writing thank you notes since she was about 4. At 4 she was only signing her name, but now the notes are several sentenes long. I've taught her that if someone has been thoughtful enough to think of her and give her a gift, then the least she could do is take 10 minutes of her time and send a thank you note.
I agree...I get NO joy out of purchasing gifts for these ungrateful people!
Maybe some of you misread L.'s post. I don't believe she expects a thank you for a birthday card...she mentions card and gift.
With computers/cell phones, etc. there is NO WAY people are too crazy busy to acknowledge or say thank you for a gift. It's plain inconsiderate and rude!

4 moms found this helpful

Well, what I would do is continue to do as you are. I would recognize that a) not everyone is going to be as mannered as we would like and b) regarding the kiddos, they clearly have not been raised to have manners when receiving gifts. These are excuses, yes, but valid ones.

I have family and friends that do this as well. It REALLY bugs me, but I don't change my giving personality based on them. Just realize they probably do appreciate the gifts very much, they just don't have the class to tell you.

Added : I do want to add, I would think you are COMPLETELY right in not sending any more gifts if you choose to do so! I just dont know that is the option I would choose, as your question asks. GOOD LUCK!!!

3 moms found this helpful

In the 10 years in which I have been a Godmother for my cousin's son, I have yet to receive any kind of acknowledment what-so-ever for any gifts or cards I have sent to him. Not the kid's fault, but my cousin's fault for being such a jerk.

What do I do? I keep sending the gifts and cards. Maybe one day when the kid is grown up he'll have a wife who can teach him about such things. I won't hold it against him.

ETA: My parents failed to teach me about "Thank You" notes, although I always did call people who sent birthday cards to me. My grandma kindly clued me in when I went away to college by buying me some personalized stationary, which happened to include personalized "Thank You" notes. Perhaps you could gift that for their next birthday/Christmas gifts??

3 moms found this helpful

It depends on how you will feel about it later on. Me, after a few non-acknowledgements, would just drop it and stop sending them. Your brother was brought up the same as you and knows better. Although he might be relying on his wife, it is still his place to make sure it happens. When the gifts stop coming, maybe he'll wonder why and a light will go on.
The kids are tougher. It isn't really their fault since they are only copying what they have learned (or rather NOT learned) from their parents. So you have to decide if you get enough joy out of the giving itself to continue it even if it is never acknowledged... or if not receiving any acknowledgement is a bigger issue that ruins it completely for you. If you can accept and put it aside that they don't acknowledge the gifts, then keep sending them if it brings you joy. If it doesn't, then stop.
OR, as for the kids, you could follow up with a phone call TO THEM (the kids) and ask them directly: "Did you receive ______?" Then you will a) know that your gift wasn't lost in the mail, and b) provide them with an opportunity to thank you. Will they learn it is good manners to do so? Who knows. Times are changing and it seems more and more parents fail to teach these basic social graces. It's a shame. It affects the way their children will be perceived in the world, and that can affect all kinds of things, right down to what sort of employment opportunities they may miss out on. Some people are so short sighted...

3 moms found this helpful

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