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Ask Rev Dr August Abbott Your Own Question
Rev Dr August Abbott
Rev Dr August Abbott, Adult Etiquette Pro
Category: Etiquette
Satisfied Customers: 7608
Experience:  40 yrs: Etiquette teacher,Formal event officiate, announcement author, minister
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Give me a few moment please!!! I am an older senior who has

Customer Question

give me a few moment please!!!
JA: The Etiquette Expert will know what to do. Please tell me everything you can so the Etiquette Expert can help you best.
Customer: I am an older senior who has many nieces and Nephews!!!! who have many children of there own!!! I have been very generous to all!!! yet at a funeral or wedding none of them come up to me to say thank you!!! Should I thank the selfish pigs for taking my gifts!!!!
JA: Is there anything else the Etiquette Expert should be aware of?
Customer: no!!!
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Etiquette
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 10 months ago.

Hello, I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.

I can certainly understand how frustrating and disappointing it must be for you to not be acknowledged for your generosity -- and it seems to me that the children have simply never learned proper manners -- something that I am all too unhappy to admit seems to be an increasing phenomenon nowadays. Gratitude and manners are two things that certainly appear to be on the decline. While there's not much we can do to change that (it's ultimately up to the parents, of course), there are a few ways you could handle this situation.

Which way you choose is, of course, entirely up to you, as you have to do what you feel most comfortable with. You could, of course, do as you suggested, thank them for taking your gifts, but I think that's perhaps venting your anger or disappointment in maybe not the most productive and conducive way, and I don't think you'd get the response you're looking for.

I think the most important issue is that you don't feel acknowledged and appreciated, so you could simply point out your disappointment to your nieces and nephews when you see them next (or perhaps make a phone call if this is something that is really causing you grief and distress). You might say, I feel that it's a shame that Johnny (or whomever) hasn't yet said thank you for the birthday (or whatever) gift. I feel disappointed by this because I made a special effort to buy the gift/send the money/purchase a nice card (whatever it is). This politely points out to the parents that a)they aren't teaching manners to their children and b) you feel hurt and taken advantage of. You can't control their reaction, but at least you have gotten it off your chest and put your feelings out there, and you put the ball in their court to respond to you.

The other option you could choose is to ignore it. You know that their behavior is inappropriate and that it's impolite -- but perhaps the parents aren't the type who care, in the end. So you have to decide if making the extra effort to confront them about it is worth it to you.

In the end, I always advise the appropriate action is to do that which will make you feel best in the end. There's no rule book for how to handle situations like this -- if I were in your shoes, I would probably address the parents and let them know that you are disappointed and hurt. Then I would leave it alone, but I would maybe also rethink the extent of my generosity in the future as well.

I wish you all the best.

Expert:  Rev Dr August Abbott replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for asking the most proper behavior with regard to etiquette, which does, as a matter of fact, have a rule book for these issues. Unfortunately, those rules are not going to give you the answer you might want to hear.

According to the strictest rules of etiquette, gifts of any and all kinds are to be given without any expectation of a 'thank you' in any way. That is the hardest thing for most gift givers to do. It's like loaning people money. The rule of etiquette with that regard is to never ask for or even expect it back, unless of course one is making an official, 'on paper' loan.

As gift givers or money loaners we have the choice of not giving gifts or money if the other party does not follow the rules of etiquette set for them.

Yes, the recipients also have an obligation and this is the part you'll like hearing: As a recipient of a gift they are obligated, according to proper etiquette, to extend a formal 'thank you' within a reasonable amount of time (typically within a month) after receiving that gift. I adhere to and teach 'old fashioned' etiquette and insist on issuing a tangible, snail mail thank you card. I raised my own children this way and I teach everyone in my classes ranging from Kindergarten children to high level executives to do the same. Not an email, not a phone call - at least not by themselves. A genuine thank you should be issued no matter what.

That said, these days I groan and accept that email or phone calls seem acceptable for most people; however, from your posting, you're not even getting this.

So the bot***** *****ne with regard to the rules of etiquette is that you cannot bring it up with sarcasm and you cannot ask for a thank you. What you CAN do is stop giving gifts. This is not only perfectly acceptable, but it appears to be in order.

If anyone is so low brow as to ever ask you why you stopped THEN you can calmly say, "I find no point in giving gifts that are not appreciated" and bite your tongue after that, say nothing else and rise above it.

At that point you might find yourself deluged with 'thank you's' and you can decide whether or not to resume the gift giving, but keep one thing in mind most of all: Gift giving is supposed to be from the heart of the giver and done without expectation of acknowledgement in any way. It is supposed to be because the gift giver feels good about enhancing or enriching someone else's life.

If you are not feeling good about giving to these people, then stop. Send a card and a nice note - investing no more than a couple dollars and a few minutes of your time to note whatever occasion it might be.

My colleague has offered more real world 'relationship' advice that has it's own merit. I'm just addressing the rules of etiquette with regard to gifting and thank you's.

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