Whatever Happened to Saying Thank You?

Updated on July 23, 2010
M.J. asks from Downers Grove, IL
19 answers

I'm curious as to how others deal with family members (in-laws) that do not show any appreciation or thanks for gifts that they are given. My husband and I always remember our nieces and nephews on their birthdays but are never thanked and it's getting very old. The few times that are daughters (5 and 2 years old) have been remembered on their birthdays I've always sent thank you's right away!

What really set me off about this after many, many years is that our oldest nephew graduated from high school this past May and we were unable to attend but still sent him a nice card and $100. Never heard anything so I had my husband call and make sure it was received ... his brother simply replied with a 'yes it was'. That's it ... no thank you! I was raised (and am teaching my girls) that we appreciate and thank others for remembering us! I hope I don't sound rude or petty because I'm not that type of person - I'm just getting frustrated and am about ready to put an end to gift exchange, or maybe I should say buying unappreciated gifts!

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answers from Kansas City on

We send thank yous if we received it by mail, although sometimes we just call and say thank you (my Grandma, for example, loves to hear my daughter over the phone so we call her), but if we receive it in person we dont.

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answers from Chicago on

You can't control other people. You can only control your own emotions. I am a firm believer that if people can't be troubled with a thank you, then they don't deserve a gift. If you choose to remember birthdays going forward, send a card ONLY. Save yourself the money, effort and heartache.

And perhaps the next time you see that nephew, casually say to him, "How's college/life? You know, I was really disappointed that you didn't send us a card telling us how you used the money or even acknowledging our gift." He's a big boy now. He should understand that he let you down.

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answers from Dallas on

Make the next gift that you give them a set of thank you cards. That should get the point across.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would stop sending expensive gifts or money to non appreciative family members. To mark the occasion I'd send a greeting card and well wishes if you want. I doubt they'll even say anything if the gifts stop coming but if they do you can tell them that you're afraid all your gifts keep getting lost in the mail since you never receive any correspondence that they've arrived... ever. And leave it at that.

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answers from San Diego on

Although I totally get what you are saying and it irks me to no end when someone doesn't thank you....for two reasons, one because it's rude and two, because you don't always know if they received it.....I think you need to ask yourself why you are sending the gift.

If it is because you want to be recognized, then yes, I would stop exchanging gifts. If, as I suspect, it's because you like to give gifts then unfortunately I think you need to come to terms that it is what it is.

Raise your kids the right way, keep thanking those that give to you, and write your thank you letters. That's all you can do is lead by example.

Good luck! We have a family member that NEVER says thank you EVER. Then when I suggested that we cut down on gift giving because we were all having babies and needed to save money, she was the one who made the biggest deal out of it. She said she loved to give people gifts....so maybe it's just a bad habit and not really her trying to be rude?

I don't know. I agree, it is a frustrating situation!

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answers from Austin on

AMEN.. Same with RSVP.. so rude..

All you can do is to teach your own children.
When our daughter graduated from high school, I tried to get her to write her Thank you's right away, but she put it off till August.

SIL sent me a very ugly email about not receiving a thank you, and I dashed back an email telling herrto email our daughter, because she was 18 and I was no longer going to chase her down.. I then also reminded SIL she , her husband, and her boys had NEVER sent us a thank you card.. EVER!

Never heard another word about it again..

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answers from New York on

This is a huge pet peeve of mine. My cousins daughters NEVER say thank you, send a note NOTHING!! The only time we are invited over to the home is for a gift giving occassion. So we stopped going and do not send a gift, period. What get's me crazy about the whole thing is my cousin was raised to always say thank you and even though he was a boy he had to always write thank you notes. Since we are close I mentioned his girls ungratefulness, he said "yea I know, but their mom doesn't really do that stuff and my kids have too much anyway if it bothers you don't buy them anything, they're fine" so I don't. I will tell you that when they get my son a gift he thanks them immediatly, without me telling him and we write a note. The mom told me once when my son thanked her, "wow isn't he proper." Ummmmm, not proper, more like..... proper behavior,polite and appreciative. Ugh!

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answers from Chicago on

I agree! Parents just aren't, in general, putting that as a priority and so the kids today (we sound so old- LOL) are just not very grateful and have come to expect so much.

This was very obvious with my husband's family and I got so upset that I stopped by the gifts and had him provide for his own family. He had to think about, shop for it and send it...that is when he remembered. As you can imagine, that didn't go well. It ended up looking bad on me (they thought it was me) and 1/2 the time he would forget or not put it as a priority. And when he would remember and when weren't thanked, I would get upset b/c that was our hard-earned money going out into some deep dark whole. I have, just recently, put an end to buying gifts on his side (my side isn't very big)...we will see how that goes. I suspect that I am going to lose this battle. :(

Well, that's my story. I hope you have better luck and no I don't think you are rude or petty, in fact, quite the opposite. :)

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answers from Houston on

I understand your frustration and I'm just venting as well. I, also, have experienced many ungrateful people who obviously have no manners or just simply don't care about the fact that they never say thank you. After many a time giving nice gifts and trying to be a nice neighbor and never receiving a thank you, not even an acknowledgment, at what point or do you have a conversation with that person and just simply say, "please do not invite us to anymore of your birthday parties"?

I know that we are not supposed to give these unappreciative rude people any thought or time of day. There is nothing that we can say to these people if we want to remain classy, so I guess we have to get over it and have less dealings with people like this, but it can't help but make you mad sometimes.

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answers from Seattle on

I was raised on military bases all over the world. MOST of the time, it would take over a month for mail to be delivered. Sometimes though, it could take as much as 3 or 4 months, and randomly it would take a couple weeks. So we phoned our thank yous... at great expense. My mum would make us write them, but they always seemed like a great waste of time, since half the time I would actually get to SEE the person before the card arrived. Then we moved stateside and the whole concept seemed doubly ridiculous, as I opened the gift right in front of them, thanked them with hugs and smiles, would also be excited and talking about the great gift, and then on TOP of that needed to say thank you formally AGAIN??? How many times was I supposed to say it??? After how many times was it anything more than just an exercise in futility??? It got really irksome. Especially since there was no "fill in the blanks" in our house. We were expected to actually take the time to write at least a paragraph, by hand. Years and years and years of handcramps & resentment. I HATE writing thank you notes. DESPISE. LOATHE. ABHORE.

Obviously, I'm not a fan of thankyou notes. :) That said, I make my son do them.

I cheat, however. I take a picture with him using the present and print it onto a card, and have him write "Thank you!" on the inside.

Quite frankly, every time I GET a thank you note (from a child, especially) I cringe... and think : Poor Kid.

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answers from Chicago on

I was taught that you should always thank people, I also find myself getting upset when people can’t say two little words. I then remind myself that I did this act or brought this gift because I wanted to and not for the thanks. If I feel that someone is being unappreciative then I stop with the gift giving or doing favors. I do feel a little ‘Thank you’ goes a long way, but some people were never taught to common curtsy. I’m very sorry that you feel so upset about this issue, my suggestion would be to just stop! With the gift giving!

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answers from Chicago on

I share your frustration and I agree with Nicole P! I would stop sending unappreciated gifts, maybe just send a card instead. If anyone has the nerve to ask why you stopped sending gifts, simply say you were afraid they were getting lost in the mail since you never heard if they arrived.

It's sad how manners have gone out the window these days.

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answers from Joplin on

yep! happens with me as well me and my mom were just talking about this the other day there was a neighbor that we have had for years well a little while back she had to have a kidney removed and my mother sent her a sympathy card and some money inside she never heard anything from her well she is pregnant and ignores my mom otherwise but,all the sudden wants us to come to her baby shower for a gift? i'm sure and there are those in our family that have never had the respect to say thank you as well. me and my mom especially like you very giving and always thanking in return,I feel your frustration.

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answers from Pocatello on

I agree with your frustration....as a kid we had to write our thank you cards before we spent any $$ we'd get in our cards. I am drilling it into both my kids to always show appreciation for everything....it is so rude and ill mannered not to acknowledge the thoughtfulness of others especially that graduation gift...GRRRRRRR

Having said this I would try to stop, however if you are anything like me and from your story I bet you are in the sense that you enjoy remembering other people's special days and it gives you happiness to make the effort to make other people feel special. It totally stinks when d your thoughtfulness is being taken for advantage of. If you like to do it then keep doing it and know you are raising your kids to be better people! I know how you feel though...double GRRRRRR

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answers from Phoenix on

what a great subject. I have been a firm believer of cards, thank you notes, encouraging my kids to sit down and do it too......but hardly get it back. friends of mine will say thank you in person. But I love to write notes and so to enforce that with mail in the mail.....it is fun. I think email is wonderful and love it too death, but sometimes it is fun to get paper mail too. My kids love it.
SO, yes, my family does not do it either. Moms and Dads.....but not grandparants, in laws, extended family. It is sad. I think people are too busy to put forth any effort to apperciate things anymore as we get it on a silver platter most times.

Send a card from now on.



answers from Cleveland on

I would be upset too! I would at least expect a thank you over the phone.

I don't always send out thank you notes. In fact my daughter just had her birthday party, and I don't plan to send out notes. But I did thank each person at her party for her gifts. In fact, I thanked them each multiple times! I can't remember the last time some one sent me a thank you note for a gift I gave them. If I get a "thank you" in person, that is all I need. I don't expect a note.

If people are not at least giving you a thank you in person or on the phone, I would be quite upset too. It makes you think twice before giving a nice gift in the future.



answers from Topeka on

You can only be responsible for your own reactions to gifts...and in part for the way your own children respond...but I now that doesn't stop you from being upset about the others who don't properly thank you for your gift. My oldest daughter sends thank you notes from our 2.5 year old grandson as soon as he receives anything from us....and it is always a joint project...our GS will put a handprint on the outside of the card...or draw a picture inside...he understands that they are saying thank you for whatever gift it was. That being said...I wonder if it will continue when he gets big enough to do it himself...as my girls got older they weren't as good about writing the thank you notes.
I would simply stop sending gifts to those that aren't close or aren't appreciative. I know that my husbands adult son ( 45 yrs old) and his 2 children ( now 18 and 15) simply do not contact us until a week or so before their birthday or a week or so before Christmas....it is SO patently obvious what is going on.....so years ago...we simply stopped sending gifts to them...unless they are actually HERE at our home for the holiday!!! Why on earth would we encourage that type of behavior?? I have actually had my Grand daughter email me a LIST of things she would like for her birthday...this after not hearing from here since the LAST Holiday??? Why reward that??



answers from Chicago on

I have always sent thank-you cards since my girls were born. Now my oldest (7) writes them even though she thanks everyone at the party. When she goes to a party for school, we get thank-you notes about 1/2 the time. My sister in law does not send out thank yous either and never has. One year I didn't even get a thank-you from my niece at the party when she opened the gift so I just spent less on her gift the following year. If your children aren't remembered with a gift on their birthday by others in the family, I probably wouldn't remember their children on theirs then.



answers from Las Vegas on

I think what's happening is that there is this sense of entitlement or .. well, you can afford it..... why do I need to thank you. Same happens around our place, although I have taught my own child please and thank you and for every gift rec'd, we ALWAYS send a thank you, my husband's cousins (for whom we always give gifts to for most holidays) seldom send a thank you and when at our house (e.g. Christmas) will often leave without having said thanks for the meal and or gifts..... not to mention, at our home, we take our shoes off before entering the home and yet, despite us having done this for years, the cousins don't take off their shoes. Again, this goes back to being self-centered and self-entitled... As I always tell my child, good manner are NEVER out of season. it's tough and you can't control others, but as mentioned you are teaching your kids differently.
Truly I equate all this self-entitlement with the dilema of many being in debt. they think they deserve to have everything and anything they want even if it means getting into debt. it's that kind of self-centered mindlessness that get people into trouble and it can be seen in the every day living situations such as having no manners..some people only concern themselves with ME ME ME.... and bad manners is just the beginning...

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