Gratitude from the overly thankful drips on me like cold sludge from a clogged gutter.
Words from a recent email:
Oh thank you sooo much for doing this!!! My world is a better place because you are in it!!! I am so grateful for everything you do for me!!! I just can’t thank you enough!!!!!!!!!!!
Doesn’t that just make you want to puke? No? Is it just me? Am I just being ungrateful?
This is one of those times where real life interaction doesn’t translate to email interaction. If they said these words to me face to face, in a rush of emotion and perhaps accompanied by a hug, it wouldn’t sound so gross. I wouldn’t be able to recall the exact words later, and my impression of the moment would only be a burst of gratitude. I wouldn’t find my lip curling up in a sneer the way I do when I read the same words in an email.
The email preserves the words of the sentiment forever. And each rereading churns the flowery phrases into a putrid swill of insincerity.
Please do not think that I have a hard time accepting compliments. Yes, there are times when someone is thanking me profusely for something, and I cringe because what I did wasn’t worth the thanks. But when I put a lot of effort into something, I love getting thanked for it, and I appreciate every word of praise. Believe me – I am the type to have my award speech planed out ahead of time when I believe I’ve done something award worthy.
If you think I am being too harsh, look at it this way: If you gush thanks every time a person does anything for you, with the same level of gushiness regardless of the actual quality of the work, how will they learn to improve themselves?
Sometimes a simple thank you is all that is warranted. Or wanted.
I know there are people out there who are naturally gushy. But when those people cover me with gratuitous gratitude, it doesn’t make my spine shrink. It fact, it feels just the opposite. When the gratitude within the plethora of exclamation points is honestly meant, it feels good.
Those people are rare though. Most of the time, the cringe-worthy thanks comes from people who just don’t feel comfortable with a ‘short’ email. They want to fill the screen with line after line of vacuous crap to show their gratitude in a meaningful way. Perhaps they should stick to twitter.
Next time, if the two necessary words feel inadequate, just up the font size. That way, I’ll get the message without losing respect for you.