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Am I Wrong to Expect a Thank You?

Dear Nancy,

Hope you can help me unpack my feelings about a recent mentoring experience that left me shaking my head with simmering frustration.

I received a call from a colleague who asked me for a favor - would I speak with a young woman (family friend) who recently lost her job. I exchanged emails with this woman, set up the call, and had a nice conversation. I think I was able to help her see some broader ideas for potential growth that would open up more avenues for her to explore.

We spoke on Tuesday afternoon, I even reached out to her with an additional referral on Wednesday, heard back from the originator of this event thanking me again on Wednesday, and.... crickets from the young woman. Nothing Wednesday. Nothing Thursday.

I was raised and taught, both in life and especially in business, to be thankful and responsive in a timely manner. Am I a dinosaur for expecting a timely thank you from this young lady? I don’t want to be a curmudgeon, but three days after doing a favor seems too long and very disrespectful. Is it just me?

-- Frustrated Boomer, New York City

Dear Frustrated Boomer,

You are no dinosaur! This is such a hot-button, rant-worthy topic for people of all generations, I know many—myself included--are simmering right along with you. To quote American philosopher and psychologist, William James, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Valuing kindness, common decency, and professionalism does not make us Jurassic throwbacks. On the contrary, it means we are responsive, empathetic human beings who understand the importance of acknowledgment and good communication in life, as well as business. These are timeless qualities that, while neither gender, generation nor industry-specific, lie at the very core of hospitality.

Although your colleague, who originally asked you for the favor, happily thanked you the next day, I do think three days is a long time to not receive some form of acknowledgment from the person you helped. If that makes us both curmudgeons, then bring it on!

Given the wealth of communication channels available today, and the fact that our cell phones are virtually another appendage, I am continually frustrated by the fact that a timely response has become the exception and not the rule.

At a time when people and businesses are looking for ways to differentiate themselves, try being responsive and respectful if you want to stand out and make a positive impression.

Hope this helps!


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