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“Unnecessary” Thank You Emails?

Accept Gratitude with Grace

I’ve posted on the topic of thank you curmudgeons previously. Today I received a site visitor email about this topic that had a slightly different twist, so I thought I would share it with you.

I don’t understand why some would complain about “thank you” emails. Apparently there are those that feel they are a waste of time or annoying and shouldn’t be sent.

Grateful for Email Gratitude

I’ve been on the receiving end of many thank you emails, and not once was I annoyed. They always make me smile. So, why the angst for some?

Here is a portion of an email received by a thank you protester, in this case for a slightly different reason than what you would think:

It drives me crazy when people junk up my inbox with a reply that only says, “Thanks”.

Hmmm… “Junk up” their inbox with too many “Thanks”? Correlating junk email with an expression of gratitude never crossed my mind. How about you? Regardless of the topic or sentiment, apparently a one-word email requiring their time (in seconds) to view is an annoyance.

I can’t imagine ever becoming annoyed by emails that thank me. Since so few do so, why not look at thank you emails as a friendly gesture?

When I mentioned this to a co-worker and asked her to stop it, she said that it is proper etiquette to always respond with a “Thank You” to let the sender know that the message was received. Is that true?

If you’ve read what I write on this topic, you know I encourage responding to every email in a prompt manner. But I also state that discretion comes into play. As in, if you know the other side would want to know you have read their email, then by all means reply with a “Thank You.” However, I don’t believe that is necessary for every email received.

In this case the recipient feels it is not about showing sincere gratitude, but a coworker acknowledging their emails. My first thought is that of all the things I see in the hundreds of emails I go through every day, this is what drives you crazy? Why not just hit the Delete button and go on to the next email?

Since you’ve already approached this coworker to try and regain your sanity, you could kindly let them know that not every email requires a response. There is no need to send a “Thanks” to confirm receipt. Send a “Thanks” when you are sincerely grateful.

Accept Gratitude When Offered

Unless there is something that specifically needs to be confirmed or responded to because you asked, no response is mandatory. However, if others have asked you a question or for some information and you obliged, they were thanking you, and there is nothing wrong in doing so.

There are some folks that are natural “thankers.” And I’m okay with that.

I think that if I wanted to know if you read my message, I would turn the tracking option on to send me a confirmation when the message was read.

That is not the correct approach either. Keep in mind on the rare occasion that RR/Return Receipt is applied, it only acknowledges the email was received/opened — not read.

What is the appropriate response?

Be open to gratitude.

A quick thank you will never go out of style… Even if done for reasons one disagrees with, it is still a nice gesture from someone making an extra effort.

If we all get to the point where being thanked is viewed as annoying, everyone should be concerned. Very concerned.

Have an email situation you want me to write about? Let me know here.

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