You know how we were talking last week about things we just don’t understand? Well, there’s another one that is not on MY list of irritants, but it holds a dominant spot on other people’s lists.
PEOPLE WHO DON’T SEND THANK YOU CARDS.
Let me start by saying that – in my adult life – I’ve been about 75% successful (or better) at sending Thank You cards to people for gifts received or favors delivered. But – there have been those times where it has just never happened. And I know so many people who get SO ANGRY about that and who carry it around FOR YEARS or longer, that I wanted to speak in defense of those times.
Most of the time you just forget. Simple as that. It’s on your To-Do list for a few days, or you left the gift out to remind you, and then suddenly months have passed and it never happened and you aren’t exactly sure if you forgot or not and it’s just easier to let go of the nagging feeling and write it off than to deal with it by maybe sending a second or a very late Thank You card.
And if you don’t understand how life can get SO busy that you would forget something THAT important…then please remember this: Everyone has different priorities. I have friends who don’t understand how I can live with piles of animal hair in every corner of my home. I have friends who don’t understand how I don’t help out at the kid’s school. I have friends who don’t understand how I let my kids eat processed snacks. And then I don’t understand how people don’t get addicted to running or how people don’t read. We all have things in our life that grab our attention, and if someone else’s life doesn’t have the “THANK YOU CARD” alarm that your life has? Remember that there are other things you ignore that the Thank You Card Neglecting person would think shocking.
I guess, my point is that YES. Thank You Cards are important. I made my daughter write one this weekend before she spent the actual gift card she received. But, the thing that bothers me more than people forgetting to send Thank You Cards, are the people who REMEMBER those who DON’T.
Please, understand that we are not bad people. And it’s not really fair to hold on to that in relationship to us forever. You don’t know our life. You don’t know the stress we were under when we received your gift, or the sadness, or the anxiety…you can’t assume that everyone’s life works like yours. And while you and your 8 kids, and full-time job, and PTA president, and soccer Mom life still allows for you to NEVER forget to send a Thank You card…your life is still not theirs. And they could be dealing with any sort of thing that is none of your business. And please keep this in mind: Holding on for years to the fact that your cousin didn’t send you a Thank You for the graduation gift, completely negates the charity of the gift itself. Yes, for practical reasons it would be nice just so that we know the gift was received, but once 6 months or so have passed? LET IT GO.
I bring this up because we got a Thank You card today and there was an apology for it being late. I wanted to write them back and say, “Don’t apologize! It’s your life! Life happens! Anyone who needs that apology should not have given you a gift in the first place! I don’t need an apology! And you don’t owe me one!”
And that’s when I realized I have some frustrations about this topic and maybe I should write about it to vent those frustrations.
Maybe it’s just a Southern thing, but I hear it time and time again. People complaining about people who don’t send Thank You cards. And I get it – I really do. I hate when I don’t get one because there’s a part of me that thinks, “Maybe I shouldn’t have sent a gift, then!” But then I hate myself. Because I’ve been there. I’ve forgotten. And it has nothing to do with not appreciating the gift. It has more to do with brains and their ability to only handle certain amounts of stress without cracking. There are some points in my life when I’m feeling gray – often from missing my Dad, sometimes from my failed pregnancies, often just because I’m disappointed in myself for any number of reason – and my brain pushes things like “Write Thank You Card” to the back of my mind so that all of my energy can be focused on getting through the day without a breakdown. And if anyone I send a gift to is having the same day? Then I pray their brain does the same thing mine does. I hope that they put my Thank You Card so far behind the task of “Staying Sane” that they forget it because that is not what’s important.
So…Do your best to remember your Thank You cards. But if someone forgets to send you one? Let them off the hook QUICKLY. And then don’t keep bringing it up to friends/family because then you didn’t really let them off the hook. Don’t save it for parties when people are discussing that one time they didn’t get a Thank You. Don’t save it for when they send YOU a gift and think Well, they didn’t send ME a Thank You Card…. Don’t think of them as less of a person. Because – I’ve been there – and I assure you they are still grateful. But sometimes their brain prioritizes things for them in order to preserve harmony in their life, so if they forget to send you a Thank You Card? It’s for a good reason. And while that still sucks? Don’t that against them (or me) forever, please?