The dangers of saying thank you

I'm big on saying please and thank you. However, Emily Post never warned us about the dangers of good etiquette.

You see it all the time on awards show. Actors and directors win an Oscar or an Emmy and when they give their acceptance speeches, they wrack their brains trying to remember everyone to thank. Hilary Swank became the butt of lots of jokes in 2000 when she forgot the thank her hubby Chad Lowe when she won for "Boys Don't Cry".

Most of us don't have to worry about Golden Globe Awards or Oscars, but plenty of us work on cross-departmental teams at work or with groups of people on special projects. When the work goes well, it's important to thank those who made it happen. But, how do you make sure you don't pull a Hilary Swank?  

First and foremost, keep a running list of everyone you work with. Need someone to compile some important data for you? When they deliver, add them to the list and note what they did. Have to bring in someone to help you with code or design? When they submit their deliverables, add them to your list. In short, when someone gives you the materials, assistance, or guidance you need, add them and make note of their contribution. But, only when they they give you what you need (and not just when you ask).

When your project is complete and it's time to acknowledge the people who made it happen, go back to your list. It's easier to omit people that you listed than it is to try to remember the many people who helped you over the weeks, months, or sometimes years that it took to reach your goal. 

Omitting someone from a thank you email, speech, or other form of acknowledgment is downright embarrassing. It makes you look bad and hurts the feelings of the person (or people) that you forgot. Don't let it happen to you.

Sure, thanking people can be dangerous. However, if you're diligent in noting contributors and contributions as you go, you can make yourself a thank you pro!


  1. You are so right about making a note of people who help you "make it happen", especially those behind the scenes.Appreciation is the thing most people crave/appreciate (more than even a bonus or increase in salary).

  2. It's so easy to forget the folks who may have had smaller roles. But, without those smaller things taken care off, the big picture can't be executed.

    And, yes, I totally agree about the power of thank you, Vanessa. Two incredibly important words that aren't used nearly enough, in my opinion.

  3. Kind of like posting best of lists, huh? Somebody is going to be left off........

    Your approach of thanking them along the way is a very effective and most times socially acceptable. At the right time it can go a long way. 

  4. Hi Bill,

    I've wanted to do some lists, but haven't simply because of that. Would hate for anyone to feel shunned.

    As for the list, it's meant to serve as a compilation for thank yous at the completion of a project. But, thanking people as you go is always a classy touch, too ;-)

  5. This brings to mind a previous WSJ article that revealed some of us exhibit more kindness to strangers than those we know. Etiquette has fallen so far down the premium pole.

  6. Totally agree with you on this! I have seen this happening usually during the Wedding's, when the bride and groom make it a point to thank everyone, but sometimes miss their siblings or even their own parents :)

    Its always good to have a list, then hurt a lot of people :)

  7. You're so right, Kelvin! Sometimes the people you forget to thank are the most obvious. D'oh!

  8. I guess that's an advantage of blogging, when you write an article by yourself, you don't have to thank anyone.

    I am amazed at all the people that the stars need to thank. I felt bad for Meryl Streep on Sunday night when she forgot her glasses as she went on stage.

    Your idea of a list when doing a project is a good one, Amber. That would be the best way to make sure you don't forget anyone.

  9. Hi my favorite tech-savvy blogger! If there's an app for organizing your thank you notes and speeches, I'm sure you'll be blogging about it as soon as it comes out!

  10. Thanks, Amber. Great idea! I'll get right on that. ;-)

  11. Thank you for this whole-hearted observation, Amber.

    It has been said and it bears true for me that saying thank you is more than a matter of good manners; it's good and real spirituality.Said Meister Eckhart of a thank you.."If the only prayer you said in your whole life was "thank you, that would suffice."One of my favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton, wrote:"Thanks are the highest form of thought; and gratitude is happiness double by wonder."And, C.S. Lewis (if I remember what he wrote correctly):"We must give thanks for all fortune: as it is, it is good. And if bad, only because it gives us patience, humility, and hope for the eternal."That said, I don't see enough thanksgiving going on - especially in social media where the opportunity is prolific. We are gifts to each other - whether or not we know or admit to it.We are surrounded by gifts, in fact. Therefore, giving thanks from the heart can never be done too often.Stan FarynaRecently on my blog: Castleville and Social Media Cheats

  12. Love the C.S. Lewis quote, Stan. Gratitude is so important.


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