is it reasonable to expect to be thanked when I go out of my way for a coworker?

A reader writes:

I’m just wondering how reasonable it is to expect politeness in the workplace. I’m feeling frustrated with a coworker who never thanks me for doing favors outside of my usual job function for him, but I have no idea if that’s a reasonable way for me to feel.

For example: recently he asked me to pull together some info for a meeting he was going to two days later. I spent a couple hours putting it together and emailed it to him. I feel like a typical person would reply back “thanks,” at the very least to acknowledge that they received it. But he never replied to my email or mentioned it to me at all.

This coworker is senior to me, but he isn’t directly above me. I don’t usually work with him. He has a habit of doing things like this (not just to me, to everyone) and I find it rude. I don’t need to be thanked for doing my job. So if he was my boss or the things I was doing for him were part of my normal job function, I probably wouldn’t care as much (though I still think it’s good practice to send over a quick “thanks!” even in those cases). But whenever I do things like this it’s essentially me doing him a favor — taking time out of my regular work to make his job easier. Is it normal work behavior to not thank someone for doing you a favor outside of their usual work duties if their manager asked them to?

And either way, should I mention anything about it or just get over it? I was thinking about just saying something like, “Hey, did you ever get that email I sent you? I didn’t see a reply to it and wanted to make sure it looked okay.”

Yeah, it’s rude for him not to acknowledge that you’re going out of your way to help him.

Of course, it’s possible that he doesn’t know you’re doing that — people aren’t always crystal clear on exactly what is and isn’t in someone else’s job description, and it’s possible that he assumes that because you’re doing what he asks, it’s part of your job. He should thank you regardless, simply because that’s polite, but he might not realize that you’re going out of your way to help him.

You could attempt to nudge him into realizing it, by saying things like “I don’t typically pull together this kind of info for the sales staff, but I can do it for you this time” or “Normally the sales staff does this themselves, but if you’re in a crunch, I can see if I can get it done for you later today.”

Another way of nudging him into realizing that he needs to acknowledge you is exactly what you suggested: saying something like “Hey, did you get that email I sent you? I didn’t hear back from you and didn’t know if it was what you needed or not.” Do that enough times, and you might push him into the habit of acknowledging your work before you follow up about it.

There’s also the option of saying no to some of his requests. If his requests would really be favors from you, then you’re not obligated to grant them if he has a track record of being rude to you. But only do that if you can genuinely defend a no by pointing to higher priorities that you need to deal with. Otherwise it could backfire on you and make you look unhelpful and/or petty to your boss or others.

And you mentioned that sometimes your manager is asking you to do this stuff for him. In those cases, the work isn’t so much of a favor for him; it’s an assignment from your manager.

In general, though, some people are just like this — they’re very transactional about work and miss the entire social context of dealing with humans and the fact that being pleasant in your interactions with people makes everything feel a lot nicer. This word view also misses the fact that even in the context of “just doing their jobs,” most people have some leeway on how quickly they respond or with what degree of attention to detail or in how far they go out of their way to help someone — and that being kind makes people more interested in prioritizing your requests and generally being helpful.

{ 262 comments… read them below }

    1. TeacherNerd*

      I’m not sure I’m understanding why these simple things are underrated, both in and outside the workplace. A basic level of kindness is not underrated, and I would count “please” and “thank you” as a basic human thing that people do to acknowledge effort – yes, even if it’s “part of the job.” I agree with Allison’s statement that there are those who “miss the entire social context of dealing with humans and the fact that being pleasant in your interactions with people makes everything feel a lot nicer.” “Thanks” takes seconds to say or do, and it acknowledges receipt.

      1. Sketchee*

        They are underrated because we can appreciate magic words more than we do. The pleasantries make life better. Rate these words higher and most everyone can use them more

        1. TeacherNerd*

          OH WAIT I CAN’T READ. For some reason, I read that as “overrated.” DOH!

          Sorry, sorry, sorry!

      2. Penny Lane*

        ” A basic level of kindness is not underrated, and I would count “please” and “thank you” as a basic human thing that people do to acknowledge effort – yes, even if it’s “part of the job.” I agree with Allison’s statement that there are those who “miss the entire social context of dealing with humans and the fact that being pleasant in your interactions with people makes everything feel a lot nicer.” “Thanks” takes seconds to say or do, and it acknowledges receipt.”

        I agree completely with the above, but I’d also note that “Good morning, how are you?” “Fine, thanks, and you?” or similar routines are also part of general social lubrication, and when they get brought up here, everyone analyzes them to death and concludes that it’s not fair to expect people who are just absolutely exhausted by this kind of interaction to have to engage in it. I don’t really see the difference between the two, to be honest. Some level of politeness and social engagement (even if it’s faux) is necessary.

        1. Observer*

          Actually, the general consensus seems to generally be that people SHOULD find a way to reply pleasantly because they are not intended to dig into people’s lives but to essentially say “I acknowledge you, fellow human” (the phrase that comes up the most often I think) and that’s a good thing to do.

      3. This Daydreamer*

        Well, I think that they’re underrated ways to make people know that they’re appreciated. But I guess I’m the only one who thinks that. ;)

    2. mcwriter*

      It’s so true. In my agency, there’s no please, thank you, or even acknowledgement that work has been completed. It can be demoralizing to spend days working on something and get no acknowledgement – especially if you’re doing a favor for someone and shuffling their stuff ahead of other requests. I don’t need praise or emails, but a quick “Hey, thanks for finishing that” or “I sent that off to the client” as you walk by my desk would be great.

    3. Wintermute*

      Credit and thanks are the two things it costs nothing to give, and you get everything by giving. Being gracious pays off.

    4. zora*

      The main reason I love working for my boss, even though I am underpaid and not that personally interested in what I do, is because she ALWAYS says thank you!!! The tiniest things that I am doing for her, even though they are my job, she takes the 0.5 seconds to write back “thanks!” And every once in a while in person she says, “Thank you for everything, I really appreciate it!”

      It takes her a grand total of Almost Zero Time, and she’s the big boss, so she doesn’t have to thank anyone, but it makes everyone a lot more pleasant and work harder because we get a tiny bit of appreciation for doing our jobs. I wish more bosses would realize this.

    5. finderskeepers*

      Talk is cheap. Rather than magic words, the OP should expect the co-worker to do the same when the roles are reversed.

  1. The Person from the Resume*

    I get it, but my inbox is insanely full and I prefer not to get “thanks” messages in general. Sometimes it’s appropriate to send it and I do, but still …

    1. Jaguar*

      I always send “Thanks,” but a lot of the people I work with also send “thanks” emails and OMG. If they send it right after I send mine, hey, great, I’m still sort-of in that mode and appreciate the thanks. If they send it when they see the e-mail five hours later, it’s an e-mail that takes me out of what I’m doing and it’s only frustrating, albeit mildly so. I much prefer a statute of limitations on this: if it’s been more than half an hour, no “thanks” e-mails, please.

      1. Sketchee*

        I usually put content in my thank you note. “Thank you for your help in organizing the conten. I’ll begin designing pages and check in with questions. You can expect a new proof this afternoon.”

        1. Jaguar*

          Yeah, I get those too. Honestly, my feeling on those is, “that’s three sentences that could be could be cut down to ‘thanks.'”

            1. Lil Fidget*

              I almost always just sign off with “thanks – Lil Fidget.” It’s not my email signature, I just try to always remember to write it in. It’s better than nothing.

              1. Jay*

                Our workplace specifically asks people not to send ‘thanks’ emails for work within their job function due to email clog. If someone does something outside their scope I usually thank them in person.

    2. Magenta Sky*

      When you’re sending stuff back and forth by email, well, email isn’t 100% reliable, so it’s good to acknowledge receipt. (If you don’t, I’ll check to see if you got it.) A simple “Thank you” is as good a way of doing so as anything else you could say.

      Courtesy costs nothing, making the cost/benefit ratio infinite.

      1. Lord Gouldian Finch*

        Yeah I’d send a quick “thanks” for being sent data just to confirm I’ve received and seen the data, so the sender knows I’ve got it.

        1. K.*

          Yep. I default to “Got it, thanks!” If I have any further questions or thoughts about timing, etc., I ask them; if not, I just leave it at that.

      2. Elsajeni*

        Yes — you received it, I didn’t forget the attachment or leave it password-protected and forget to tell you the password, the file didn’t get inexplicably mangled or corrupted somehow, and what I sent answers the question you had or meets your needs. The quick “thanks!” email is useful AND courteous.

    3. Antilles*

      Depending on what it is, you very well might be wasting more time by NOT replying. In a lot of cases, you’re better off sending a quick “Got it, thanks” email, because otherwise, I’m absolutely going to follow up with a phone call to make sure you got it, do you have any concerns, etc, etc – and end up consuming more of your time than if you’d just done the 15-second courtesy email in the first place.

    4. Namast'ay in Bed*

      This is one of the reasons I like having outlook sort my email into conversations, it keeps things neat and the quick “thanks!” email doesn’t just sit by itself out of the blue.

    5. Mbarr*

      I’m on the “don’t spam my inbox with thanks emails” bandwagon. It drives me bonkers to get a new email notification popup, only to find it’s a “thanks” email.

      I’d prefer to thank the person face to face or send a quick IM with my thanks if it’s a bigger thing.

      1. Max from St. Mary's*

        I guess I don’t understand how someone sending a “thanks!” e-mail can possibly take up more than 5 seconds of your time. You see it, click on it, spend a nanosecond reading it, then delete.

        It really is one of those soft skills that’s important in a workplace, or at least every workplace I’ve been in over a few decades.

        Now people who hit reply all…I’ll go bonkers with you on that!

        1. Koko*

          Something I struggle with a lot is getting easily distracted. I’m being treated for ADHD but it’s still something I have to work at or set up systems to avoid.

          I can’t really overstate how dangerous that little desktop notification is that pops to the front for a few moments with a preview of the sender name, subject line, first line of the email, and then fades away. I was forever getting distracted by them because I’d need to answer one or I wanted to file it to keep my inbox clean or just seeing it pop up broke my train of thought. I did start to nurse an irrational loathing of people who sent emails I viewed as “unnecessary.” Let me tell you about the hatred I stoked in my heart for people who replied All-Staff to a post announcing someone’s promotion or other good fortune, to chime in that they personally want to congratulate the person in front of all 700 of us.

          My solution was to disable the damn pop-up notification.I found a hacky way to set it up so that if emails are flagged High Priority I still get the pop-up, but all other emails I won’t see until I flip to my inbox. Occasionally I wish I had caught and been able to chime in on an email chain earlier, but mostly I’m in a job where I don’t need to be sure I see every email right away as long as I check my inbox every couple of hours at minimum and I see the High Priority ones right away. Now I spend less time resenting my colleagues for their frivolous email ways.

          1. Koko*

            (I do still have two colleagues I resent because they mark every email High Priority and it almost never is.)

            1. Observer*

              Now THAT is really annoying!

              Either the can’t be bothered to learn how to use their software properly or are just a bit too full of themselves.

            2. Decima Dewey*

              I have a subordinate who marks lots of emails high priority and appends a notice asking me to “Please consider this email personal.” Fine, I won’t forward your request for Friday off to All Outlook Users.

              1. Close Bracket*

                And I’ve had a boss who shared personal details about my requests for time off with others. If it bothers you that much, you could ask yourself what you could do differently to engender your subordinate’s trust so they don’t feel that they need to remind you to keep personal stuff personal. Or you could talk to them directly. Or you could let it go.

          2. Observer*

            What drives me crazy about this kind of thing – and it not You Koko that I’m talking about bu the generic you and this is just a good place to hang it – is that it places the onus of managing your issues on others who have no way to know what those issues may or may not be.

            Your solution is EXACTLY the kind of thing I recommend. If you those pop ups are distracting, tunr them off. Oh, and by the way, the ability to turn those things off is why a lot of people prefer to send a Thank you in email – email is not INTENDED to have the immediacy of IM or a call. So you can just ignore email till you finish what you are doing and THEN look at this stuff and see who actually saw you emails, etc.

            1. Anna*

              Agreed. Since I can never know who does and doesn’t want a thanks email and really it’s not my job to track everyone’s preferences, and there’s potentially more damage done by not sending a thanks email, I’m going to err on the side of being a decent human and thank people for their effort/email/what have you.

            2. Not a Morning Person*

              Thank you for this description! I was trying to think of a way to describe that expectation for others to “manage your issues” as being unrealistic,particularly when the actions are well established as a social norm or at least done without malice.

          3. BeenThere*

            I’m a software engineer so I require long periods of concentration any context switching is very costly, usually an hour of time. As a result I have a fairly complex set of mail rules that I update every two weeks including the only emails that I get notifications for are from my leadership chain. I time box everything else that isn’t a coding block :)

        2. NW Mossy*

          For me, my distaste of the “thanks” email stems from the fact that I can get an unmanageable number of them every day with as many people as I routinely email, and that so often there’s no further information about exactly what I’m being thanked for. The two combined make for a situation where it’s basically white noise in my world, rather than a more meaningful expression of “hey, I see what you did there and it really helped me out.”

          It’s very much a personal preference, but I’d rather get a more specific thanks occasionally than a generic muscle-memory acknowledgement with great frequency. It does a better job for me of hitting that mark of “you are seen and appreciated,” which is the ultimate intent of deploying thanks at work.

          1. rldk*

            Do your emails not automatically thread? That seems to be the default in most email services, which would be why I’d assume people don’t go into more detail – they assume you can see the email they’re replying to

            1. NW Mossy*

              Ah, I should clarify. It’s not that I don’t know what email thread generated the thanks, but rather that it’s not clear what the thanks is for in a broader sense. Is it just meant as a confirmation of receipt, or is there some other aspect of my response that they appreciate (timeliness, accuracy, insight, etc.) that is triggering the thanks? Without more content, I have no idea, so it becomes less meaningful as a demonstration of appreciation.

              1. David*

                It’s sounds like you’re putting more thought into it than most people would. (Not to say that you’re wrong to do so!) That may be part of why many other people don’t share your distaste for “thanks” emails.

              2. Not a Morning Person*

                I would make the assumption that it is merely a confirmation of receipt vs. an actual appreciation and let it go. Although I do appreciate people sending me the information I needed or requested. So thanks is still appropriate for that!

          2. Oilpress*

            I agree with you. And when my staff does something exceptional, I go thank them in person instead of adding to the inbox noise.

            1. Helena*

              Worth considering: with e-mail appreciation, I have documentation of good stuff I did for evaluation season. With verbal appreciation, I don’t.

              1. BeenThere*

                For some of my colleagues when they’ve gotten me out of a tough spot I’ve cc’d their manager on the thanks with that what they did and how it helped me out. There are lots of teacher/helper types in my organization that are terrible at tooting their own horn and I’d hate to lose them. These are the people I enjoy working with the most and in my experience are the first to leave when the culture shows the shift towards the who you know not what you know people.

    6. LizB*

      I also prefer not to get “thanks” messages, so I don’t often send them — if I’m going to be sending another email in the thread anyway, I’ll include a thanks in there with the rest of my message, but otherwise I just make a mental note to thank the other person verbally the next time I speak to them.

      1. Samata*

        I work with someone who always has to send the last email – “thanks”…”sure thing”…”:)”….”ok”….

        It’s gotten so cringeworthy to me that I have stopped sending “thanks” for things I 1) need from the person regularly but they need reminding of or 2) its something that I can thank them for in person. I know some people say it’s only a few seconds, but when I’m filtering through a lot of back and forth correspondence anyways, it’s just unnecessary clutter. And if you are asking me for something that is part of my job to produce I don’t need a thank you – I am providing you with what I am supposed to.

    7. [insert witty user name here]*

      This is a little in response to all the messages in this thread. I’m somewhere in between. I’ll send a thanks if it’s truly something that’s a favor to me or something that is a little more involved. I’ll just leave it if it’s something that’s truly transactional and 100% their job – especially if we work together a lot and have a lot of back and forth emails otherwise. So I definitely think it’s not an “always” or “never” thing; I believe it’s context and situation dependent.

      Also – I RARELY ever send a thanks as a reply-all!!

      1. Koko*

        I think I’m similar. There are a couple people on our analytics team who send me an updated version of the same report once a week. I only reply to those emails when I have questions about that week’s numbers. But if I ask those same people to complete an ad hoc report for me I definitely always reply back to say thank you and confirm receipt. Somehow it just feels excessive to thank someone for the same report every week that is part of their routine duties.

      2. Teapot librarian*

        I have a colleague who sends thanks as a reply-all, and I was SO PROUD OF MYSELF–I had a conversation with her about it and asked her to please not. I love this colleague because she has just the right personality to make it easy to practice having difficult/uncomfortable conversations.

      3. Steph*

        Depends on what they have sent through if it is a daily routine to send me an update in of work I never write back thanks – ever. But if they are sending something else outside of normal duties I will acknowledge.

    8. LBK*

      To me, “thanks” emails aren’t actual expressions of gratitude, but rather a shorthand for “I’m confirming that I received this and it’s what I expected/needed, so you can consider my request fulfilled.” Where a lot of the requests I get can result in back and forth, “thanks” tells me that I don’t need to anticipate getting a follow up. It helps me manage my workload and gauge my capacity because I know which tasks are wrapped and which ones I might need to devote additional time to.

      If this kind of thing isn’t applicable to your work then I can see how it might be annoying. But I also just can’t empathize with the idea that it’s so impossibly ruinous to your inbox – it can’t possibly take you more than 5 seconds total per day to delete them all. I’m also an inbox zero freak, though, so I think I have trouble relating to overflowing inboxes in general.

      1. Anna*

        I just realized I say “thanks” for confirmations, but if I really do appreciate the thing that was done, I’ll say a complete “thank you” or “thank you so much for doing that.”

        1. LBK*

          Same – I’m much more explicit when I’m genuinely appreciative of the effort someone put in on something.

      2. Alienor*

        I also send “thanks” emails as confirmations if I’m emailing with someone who falls into one of these two categories:

        1. I don’t know them well (or at all), and it feels weird to interact with them out of the blue and then disappear and leave the interaction hanging
        2. I do know them well, and I know they’re the sort of person who will get anxious if I don’t reply to the thing they sent

        In general, the more closely I work with someone, the less likely I am to send a “thanks,” just because we’d be sending them to each other 20x a day. I will thank them properly when we finish a big project, though.

      3. Birch*

        Yes, this! It’s just acknowledgement. Otherwise how do you know if the email was seen or the thing was done, if the results aren’t immediate?

    9. Samiratou*

      This thread is kind of blowing my mind a bit. I always send thanks if people do things for me or send me things I ask for. It may be that my particular position means I pretty much have nobody whose job it is to support me or do things for me, so since I’m always begging for resources I try to make sure people know it’s appreciated. And, also, that I received it and I’m not likely to be bugging them any further on it.

    10. Raven_144*

      I’m also of the “why are you spamming me with these unnecessary emails” camp, especially since I strive for a zero-inbox. One of those emails means I need to figure out if I’m deleting it or saving it, and frankly when I’m overloaded with crisis emails, having to read those pushes me over the edge.

      However, the culture at my job has shifted a bit in the past 3-4 years, and I’m still not quite sure what prompted it. In the past, everyone used email transactionally, and “thanks” emails were sent when someone really went out of their way, went above and beyond, etc. Normally those emails also included a bit more than just thanks, so that made sense. However, I’ve noticed a trend over the past 6 months or so where people will send “thanks” emails. Possibly it’s because I’m in a new role, but it could also be just a company shift. I tend to see this in a split-fashion. If someone’s doing me a favor, going out of their way, going above and beyond, etc – I definitely send a response back. If it’s not someone I interact with regularly, I send a response back. But, if this is a standard email exchange of information with someone I regularly work with, I don’t respond. I speak to them almost daily and if either of us had a problem/question we’d just ask.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Eh. I deal with hundreds of emails and keep to inbox zero and I don’t mind thank you emails at all.

        1. miss_chevious*

          When I have the authority to do so, I direct the people who work with me to skip the “thanks” email. I’m inundated with email all the time and “thanks” with nothing else in it is just one more email I have to look at. Sometimes, there’s no way to communicate the “no thanks” message without coming off as a total curmudgeon (and I certainly don’t respond to “thanks” emails with my opinion), but man I wish people would cut it out.

      2. LBK*

        One of those emails means I need to figure out if I’m deleting it or saving it, and frankly when I’m overloaded with crisis emails, having to read those pushes me over the edge.

        Honestly, this feels a little bit like misplaced anger. Seems the real issue is an overwhelming workload, not emails that take virtually no effort to delete – acting as though it’s a laborious process to figure out if an email that literally just says “thanks!” should be saved or deleted feels like hyperbole. If you didn’t have 1000 other emails full of stuff you actually have to expend effort to wade through, would those bother you? If not, it seems like those 1000 other emails are the real issue, not the ones that require basically nothing of you.

      3. BeenThere*

        Thanks emails go in the “Yay” folder under the performance review folder. It comes in handy when writing your performance review every year.

    11. chi type*

      At first I thought it was stupid but I like the newish outlook “like” feature for this. You can give an acknowledgement and a thumbs up without sending a new email.

      1. Birch*

        I use the “like” feature in chat services for this purpose too. It’s the difference between “read” and “taken action.”

    12. The OG Anonsie*

      This is how I feel, so I generally don’t send them to people that I see in person a lot. Unless it was something time sensitive where acknowledging I got it when I did is important, anyway.

      If it’s someone I don’t ever see (they’re in a remote site, we don’t speak often or have many meetings otherwise) I will because they don’t have a lot of other easy opportunities to check in with me if they want to make sure things were ok.

    13. Jennifer Thneed*

      I want the acknowledgement that they actually got my email, because they do still get lost or delayed sometimes. “Thanks” works for that fine.

  2. Hills to Die on*

    I love being thanked. I enjoy getting thanks and praise a lot more than I should. But I do appreciate people in kind and I think I do a good job of telling them so. It just makes life so much nicer.

    1. Curious Cat*

      Agreed! It makes me feel some sort of special happiness when I know my work has either been done well or is generally appreciated. Although I also secretly love validation so that might have something to do with it…

    2. KR*

      +1 It makes me so happy when people send me thanks so I try to be really thankful when people do nice things for me at work or even if they’re doing their job, are responsive and nice to deal with.

    3. Specialk9*

      Yeah, I need thanks, and I need normal social interaction that shows I’m a human and not a faceless cog. Someone who can’t be bothered to say thanks, on favors that aren’t in my actual duties? Mmm, nope, I’ll talk with my manager for coverage and get out of them.

  3. Curious Cat*

    I used to have someone like this, although it was more frustrating for me because I wasn’t sure if he was actually receiving my emails or not, so I wanted more confirmation than politeness, but still. After doing something similar that Allison suggested of being like “Hey not sure if you got my email…” he started writing back simply “Tx.”

    Well. At least it’s something.

      1. Magenta Sky*

        It’s a bad habit caused by excessive texting, especially among people who have had cell phones long enough to remember flip phones, and texting on them (where it might take four or five keystrokes to get the character you want).

        But a bad habit, nonetheless.

        1. Observer*

          Yeah, well.

          If you are old enough to remember texting on flip phones, you are also old enough to know that how you text and how you write emails are not the same. Just as emails are generally less formal that paper letters and memos (anyone remember those?), email has always been more formal than texting.

          1. Magenta Sky*

            You know that, and I know that, but not everyone else does.

            (And Apple, damn their black hearts, has gone out of their way to confuse the issue by adding email features, like distribution lists, to texting. I’ve been >< this close to changing my phone number and not telling certain friends the new one because they use that feature and are too dim to remember I don't need or want to see the 8,490,480 back and forth of where they're going to dinner before the movie one of them invited a bunch of people to.)

      2. Ten*

        Me too. I used to work with colleagues is an overseas office and they were terrible about text-speak in emails. I once got an email from someone there forwarding a client’s question and the whole of their message was “Pls cfm. B rgds.” It made me much angrier than was reasonable.

        1. Curious Cat*

          OK well that’s just unnecessary! I feel like I would spend more time figuring out if my ‘shortened’ versions of the words made sense the way I shortened them than it would be if I just simply typed out the full words like a normal human. Argh!

    1. SarcasticFringehead*

      Precisely – I don’t necessarily need to be thanked for everything I do (I mean, I appreciate it, but I don’t need it), but it’s a nice short way to say “I’ve received your email and no further action is required on your part.”

  4. Fedodoodle*

    This is really timely! I had a request today (by email, ironically) asking that we stop sending ‘contentless emails – “thanks” “I’m on my way” “Happy Holidays” etc’ because they got too many emails.
    It does actually make sense, although like the writer, I feel rude not saying thank you…

    1. Antilles*

      “Thanks” is not a contentless email. It’s indicating to me that you received my previous email with the data/report/etc, thus saving both of us time over the alternative scenario where you don’t reply and I call your phone to make sure my email went through.

        1. Calpurrnia*

          This made me laugh a little, because I work in aviation and get emails like “roger” and “wilco” frequently enough that it’s definitely *not* equivalent to a “thanks!” email. The first two communicate the “received and acknowledged” intent that a lot of commenters are ascribing to “thanks”, while an actual “thanks” email shows legitimate appreciation (for a favor, for quality, for timeliness, etc).

          It’s not exactly the same, but similar – in common (verbal) speech, replying to someone’s comment with “what?” is ambiguous and could mean either “I’m confused/shocked by your message” or “sorry, I didn’t hear that”. Air traffic controllers pretty much universally use “say again?” for the latter, which is vastly superior in my book.

          Between “roger”, “wilco”, and “say again”, I guess there’s a potential someone new to the industry could interpret this as rude… but in my mind, unclear communication that requires follow-up to clarify is ruder.

          1. zora*

            ha, I kind of want to use “wilco” now!!! But I know my boss won’t know what it means.

            I end up sending her a lot of “Will do” or “Working on it” because she likes the confirmation that I got her request. But Wilco sounds so much cooler! haha

      1. Colette*

        Do you have a lot of issues with email not going through?

        I lean towards no thank you messages (unless someone has truly gone out of their way), but I also assume the email has gone through unless I have reason to believe it hasn’t.

        1. TheMonkey*

          Not who you were asking, but here, often times ‘did you get my email’ means ‘did you read my email before it slid down your inbox, thus making you have to scroll to find it which will not happen and then you will assume that I did not send said email’

          but that could just be my particular place of work. :)

          1. bonkerballs*

            Yeah, I very rarely have trouble with emails not going THROUGH. I do have trouble with coworkers with overwhelmed inboxes where my email gets missed.

          2. Akcipitrokulo*

            Yes :) “did you read it?” is a bit rude. “Did you get it” means exactly the same :) but it isn’t adversarial.

            And a quick “thanks” email would have rendered both options redundant!

        2. LBK*

          Do I have a lot of issues with the actual technological transmission of emails from my inbox to the recipient’s inbox? No.

          Do I have a lot of issues with people requesting things from me, then losing my response in the swampy recesses of their inbog, causing them to angrily come back to me a week later asking why I didn’t reply, only for me to slap them with a curt “see below”? Yes.

          1. NW Mossy*

            There was a tweet going around recently that said something to the effect of “‘Per my last email’ is office-speak for ‘Dude, can you read?!'”

            1. LBK*

              Ha – that’s actually the quote I was fishing for (“per my last email”) because of that tweet but I couldn’t think of it.

          2. Lissa*

            Not gonna lie, I think 80% of the time when people say “I never got your email, must have been a glitch!” the glitch was not on their computer.

            (and yes I know there is still that 20% of the time when an email gets dropped, but….)

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              Right? It’s a perfect way to explain some people’s email inbox (including mine, I’m afraid).

        3. Teapot librarian*

          Do I have a lot of issues with the actual technological transmission of emails from my inbox to the recipient’s inbox? No.

          Do I have a lot of issues with an employee not responding to questions or assignments sent by email and then saying they didn’t get the email when I ask in person why they haven’t responded? Yes.

          (Yes, fposte, it is THAT guy.)

          1. Oilpress*

            But what does that have to do with thanks emails? Those are a different kind of message with a different purpose than expressing gratitude.

            1. Akcipitrokulo*

              Thanks emails are not just expressing thanks – they are acknowledging receipt in a polite way. Which is really useful!

        4. grace*

          Also not who you were asking, but we often ask for confirmation or receipt because we send large documents via email — and because people can miss their emails ;) That ‘top of box’ mentality is strong even not in DC!

          Saying thanks takes little time and less brainpower; it’s a nice way of acknowledgement, confirmation, appreciation, etc. … all at once. So I definitely agree that it’s not content-less!

        5. Antilles*

          I’ll definitely echo everybody else – it’s not about the technical issues, it’s about it me making sure they actually saw and opened the email. Even though a quick “Thanks” doesn’t necessarily mean they took the time to *comprehend* it, that at least means they noticed it and will (presumably) read it in more detail later as appropriate.

          1. Antilles*

            No exaggeration: In the, like, fifteen minutes since writing that last comment, I actually dealt with the exact issue in play here.
            This morning, I sent a client a proposal this morning to meet his “by 6:00 pm” deadline. Despite getting a “your email was delivered successfully” Outlook receipt, he didn’t respond, so I was getting nervous. I called him to make sure he got it and check if there were any questions or comments. His exact words were “I hadn’t seen it so I was thinking you might not be interested…but oh yeah, here it is in my inbox, perfect”. Given that they’re making the decision first thing in the morning, that single phone call to verify he read the email (rather than just assuming it was fine) was very possibly worth about $20,000 of Teapot Design Work to my company.
            I can assure you that this is by no means an isolated event – I run into some variation of this “where is it? in your inbox! whoops, missed that” at least once a month, if not more.

            1. zora*

              UGGHHHH!!!! That is such bad behavior, considering they are asking for responses on a deadline. So, it would be more fair if they sat down and went through to make sure they had seen every submission. But no, they leave the burden on the people responding. That is such a pet peeve of mine.

          2. Decima Dewey*

            A higher up has the habit of thanking people for their email, then asking a question that was answered in the very first sentence of the email she supposedly just read.

    2. GetYaGritHeeere*

      As long as everyone agrees, I think it is fine. My former boss & I agreed that the thanks would be implied and we could leave that part out without being considered rude. In our case though, it was because we were in pretty constant communication which consisted mostly of questions/requests so it felt excessive to say thanks for the tenth time that morning. We spoke enough that there was no question if she saw my message or vice versa, so YMMV depending on the relationship and/or roles involved.

  5. Pebbles*

    OP, does your manager know that you are doing these favors for your coworker? I ask because you say that the coworker is higher up, but you don’t report to him or work with him, and these favors aren’t typically part of your job. On top of that you are taking time away from your regular work to do these favors. Just because someone asks you to do something, even if they are higher up the food chain, you don’t necessarily have to do it. Ask your manager about it. You may be able to push back on these requests and then coworker can do the job himself (or find someone else to push it onto).

    1. [insert witty user name here]*

      I was thinking this too.

      Also – Alison said in her response that “you mentioned that sometimes your manager is asking you to do this stuff for him.” I don’t see that in the letter? Did I miss something?

      1. [insert witty user name here]*

        Also meant to say that if the manager DOES task this stuff to OP, I agree with Alison’s advice there. But I think the OP was just saying they wouldn’t really expect thanks (every time) if the manager was tasking them with stuff and/or wouldn’t really think of it as a favor if it was coming from the manager.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s this part: ” Is it normal work behavior to not thank someone for doing you a favor outside of their usual work duties if their manager asked them to?”

        1. Pebbles*

          Maybe I’m weirdly parsing this sentence, but does this say that the OP’s manager asked the OP to work on these tasks, or that the coworker’s manager asked the coworker to talk to the OP? If it’s the latter, then the OP’s manager (assuming they have a different manager) should be brought into the loop here.

          1. Anna*

            I think it’s the first. The OP’s manager asked the OP to help Rudy McRudeface on something, even though it was outside the OP’s job duties.

            You know what would really chap my hide? If Rudy thanked the manager for the help, but didn’t thank the OP.

      3. Pebbles*

        I didn’t see that in the OP’s letter either. Closest I found was “So if he was my boss or the things I was doing for him were part of my normal job function…” It was a hypothetical view from the OP I think. And yeah, agree with the advice if his manager does say “you need to do these tasks”, but then hopefully in that case there’s some guidance as to how it needs to be prioritized with the OP’s normal work duties.

        In my work, I used to get multiple coworkers asking for this or that “it should only take 5 minutes” because it was seen as the faster way to get it done. Well no, it often took more than 5 minutes, and when a bunch of people circumvent the actual communication path these requests were supposed to go through, the requests that I was supposed to be working on took longer than they should have from getting sidetracked by these “quickie” requests. Once I talked to my manager we started working on how to say no and redirecting these coworkers to the proper channels.

  6. CutUp*

    I make it a point to always say please and thank you (to everyone!), but I also find that people aren’t necessarily as helpful as they think they are.

    1. LouiseM*

      Very true. I once had a coworker spend hours on a task “for me” after I had asked her an innocent question in passing. I had no idea she would do this until she emailed me that she already had–and truthfully, I would have don it better myself. It was very awkward for me. I thanked her because I wanted to be polite, but I actually wished she hadn’t done it to begin with.

  7. Magenta Sky*

    I used to have a coworker who was off to the side from me on the chain of command. She would ask me to help out with certain repetitive computer tasks, because I can do them in about 1/20th the time most people take. And I generally didn’t mind, because I usually have the time to spare. Not much in the way of courtesies, but that was OK, because we were both like that.

    But one day, a particularly onerous task needed to be done, and I was busy with my own job and didn’t have time. She complained to my boss, who told here “He doesn’t work for you, he works for me.” After that, she always very politely asked me if I had time to help on stuff, and always thanked me afterwards. It was kinda funny, though I made a point of not letting her know that.

    1. Green Goose*

      I think this is another wrinkle that the OP should consider. First, the OP should figure out if the higher up thinks that the OP is doing their regular work, and not favors. Then the OP should make it clear its a favor, because I had a similar situation as Magenta.
      Let’s say Teapot invoices normally took a week to be completed, and I started filing them faster as a favor to some colleagues. Well, when I was busier and could not accommodate a last minute request they complained about me. Instead of viewing it as a favor, they had started to expect the favor to be part of the job. I’ve been a lot less eager to do favors, and when I so I provide an explanation of why I can do extra work in the current situation but to not expect it in the future.

  8. DCompliance*

    I do like the situation of asking him if he was satisfied with what you sent. I have seen that work.

  9. LouiseM*

    OP, I understand this situation is frustrating, but I would be really ticked off if a colleague emailed me asking if I’d gotten their email to guilt me into replying. Of course I got your email. Email is not like the postal system 100 years ago, if you send me something I will receive it literally seconds later. It may be rude of your coworker not to thank you, but taking a passive aggressive approach would be even ruder. Be the bigger person and take comfort in the fact that you’re doing good work.

    1. Not a Blossom*

      Except that e-mails do occasionally get hung up or get sent to spam or drop attachments. I get dozens of e-mails from a certain vendor e-mail address every day, and every once in a while, one of those will get directed to spam. Heck, occasionally even internal e-mails get hung up, especially if they have large attachments.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        I lose emails that come in the middle of a flurry of other emails. Sometimes I don’t scroll back and realize one of them wasn’t part of that long CC thread that was flying all afternoon. It doesn’t hurt to follow up.

      2. SarahTheEntwife*

        Or you meant to send it to Joan Smythe in Accounting, but mistyped the email and it went to Joan Smythers in Development, who’s on vacation for a week and so you won’t even get a confused reply from her to clue you in on what happened.

        – Probably Not The Sarah You Were Looking For

        1. LouiseM*

          None of these personal anecdotes change my thoughts here. If I emailed someone because I needed something and they didn’t respond, I might indeed wonder if they had somehow missed it and reach out again. But in this case, the OP doesn’t need anything from her coworker, she just wants thanks, and the overwhelming odds are that he did get her email and just didn’t respond. Just because it is theoretically possible that he didn’t get her email doesn’t mean she should take a passive aggressive approach to get some thanks.

          1. Lil Fidget*

            I agree that this is being indirect, and ideally there shouldn’t be a pretext in the email. It’s just tough because what OP wants is common courtesy, and there’s no way to prompt some (especially someone senior) to remember basic manners that toddlers should know – After all, it’s also passive aggressive to avoid this coworker’s tasks by pretending to be too busy, or do a lousy job because they get treated poorly by this individual … but that’s where it’s headed, right?

            I’m just not sure what alternatives there are for OP to get the recognition that she’s gone out of her way to assist this person. Sometimes the indirect method is the best way.

          2. Samata*

            Especially considering that if he did not get it he would have presumably asked her for it a 2nd time if he really needed it.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Fair, I guess, there could be a culture shift where the receiver of the email is the one responsible for following up on it if they didn’t hear anything. In general though I think it tends to fall on the more junior person to assure that the task is completed.

          3. Observer*


            I am continually amazed at the indignation of people who complain about the adult version of “But he hit me back!”

            If someone is being rude, they are not in a good position to complain that someone responded in a less than optimal fashion.

      3. K.*

        My old company was messing with the spam filters and since I don’t check my spam box often, I didn’t know until a vendor called that there was an issue with the deliverable I’d sent. I sent it, he confirmed receipt, and then a few days later he emailed again. The spam filters had been adjusted in the interim.

        Or you typed the first letter of their name and it auto-filled “Charles” and not “Carl,” and Charles deleted it because he didn’t know what it was. Or the word “Hell” was in the email and the server flagged it as obscene. Lots of things can go wrong with email.

      1. yasmara*

        Except I sent two important emails to my husband this week about our kid’s school trip out of town and both of them got filtered to spam. And I didn’t realize it until my husband asked why he hadn’t gotten the info yet (assuming I hadn’t sent it, when in fact I’d sent it twice). I didn’t realize it because he is one of those “don’t say thanks via email people,” so it was pretty typical for my email to go into a black hole of no response.

        1. Bea*

          This reminds me of the time I forwarded my itinerary to my partner and he didn’t respond but that’s normal. Until I get to town and text about doing something that evening and he was snapped into “omg you’re in town, where are you?! I’m on my way.” mode. It was filtered into a box he never reads. Classic. I always double check now.

    2. DCompliance*

      I don’t agree that it is more rude to ask if he got the email. Someone goes out of their way to do something for you and you don’t ever respond…I think that is more rude then asking if someone is getting your email.

    3. WeevilWobble*

      It happens to me all the time that I will get so many emails in a day that one or two fall through the cracks.

      And no way is that more rude than not responding or saying thank you.

    4. Akcipitrokulo*

      I’m not sure the alternative… asking if you’ve got the email is the politer version of “why are you failing to respond?” which would put back up. Asking if you’ve received one it when there has been no acknowledgement is a perfectly reasonable thing to do – a polite “thanks” email bypasses all of it!

  10. Madeleine Matilda*

    I was in a leadership program recently where this topic came up after we had done all sorts of assessments (e.g., Myers Briggs, FIRO-B, Strength Finders, 360 review). What I learned is that there are some people who see what Alison called the social context of dealing with humans as, for lack of a better word, fluff. They want to get to the point without all the societal niceties and actually see the niceties as taking up valuable time they could spend on other things. There were people in my program who talked about why this was their perspective and as a group we discussed finding a middle ground between no social niceties and an overabundance. I have a suspicion that the manager in the letter is someone who operates from the mindset where “please” and “thank you” are just social fluff rather than seeing them as a way of working collegially with others. As I am a please and thank you person, it was really eye opening to realize for others they aren’t being deliberately rude when they don’t use these words, they just have a different way of working and interacting.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      We have someone like this in my office, and this is very much his attitude. I try not to take it too personally, but as Alison said, it’s short-sighted not to realize that a little social grease keeps things running a lot smoother in your life. It’s not actually wasted time in a lot of cases.

    2. Mike C.*

      People who act so transactionally are just being jerks. No one likes to be treated as a trained dog and I certainly do everything I can to slow down/pass over/deprioritize a request from folks who don’t treat my time with respect.

      You treat me like a human being and you get my best efforts. That doesn’t mean I need emails or cards, but it does mean that you should acknowledge the effort being made. Folks who take the route of “why should I thank people for doing their job” are the worst.

      1. Colette*

        And I find it a little condescending to be thanked for doing things that are clearly my job. Of course I did them, that’s what I do – why are you thanking me like you didn’t think I would do them?

        Different people have different approaches, and not saying thank you does not mean you are not treating someone as a person.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I dunno, if someone just barks orders – “I need you to do X and Y for me by this afternoon,” and doesn’t respond at all to my doing it, they are being kind of a jerk. Yes it’s my job, but I’m still a person. You don’t go around yelling “hey, peon” all day to the people junior to you. You don’t remind them every day that their salary comes from your largesse if its a boss. Not because it’s untrue, but just because it makes people feel crappy and people who feel crappy aren’t going to give you a good effort, and because the world would be a worse place if we all acted like that.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              I guess we both have our own biases on the question. It seems to me that OP is doing something outside her usual scope, as a favor, and the person didn’t even acknowledge that in any way – so they’re not meeting the test of basic treating people well. While you’re saying you hate routine “thanks” emails in response to common task. There’s probably an option where both are true. If this person had thanked OP even once in person, I’m guessing she wouldn’t have written in.

        2. Breda*

          I find it a little strange that you find “thanks” to be an expression of surprise that a thing was done. Like, I always thank the check-out person at the grocery store. It doesn’t mean I think it was a favor for them to do their job, or that I didn’t expect them to ring me up; it’s just the polite way of ending the transaction. I don’t see how this is any different.

          1. Lil Fidget*

            True. I’d always say “thanks” to a bartender, and it’s not an expression of astonishment that s/he handed me the beer.

            1. Colette*

              I think there’s a difference between an in-person conversation (where ‘thanks’ is part of the conversation) and email, which is more removed from the actual thing that prompted the thanks.

          2. bonkerballs*

            I think that’s what Madeleine Matilda is trying to say – that there is a fundamental difference in the way people view those words and interactions. To some people the thank you is polite and something they can’t fathom not saying. To others, not taking up your time or cluttering your inbox is polite and they can’t fathom wasting your time with niceties. You’re not going to get the other group to change their minds, but if you can understand that they view it differently that goes a long way in making things pleasant for everyone.

        3. Observer*

          I get that. But we’re not really talking about making a big deal about routine stuff. In fact the OP says so very clearly. What they want is some acknowledgement – JUST ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – for actually taking time out of their actual normal job to do an extra item (even though apparently nothing is being taken off their plate.)

          The weekly report that takes 5 minutes to run? Nothing needed. The quarterly report that takes 2 days and some incantations. “Thanks for getting it in on time” is appropriate. That 5 hour project you dropped on my lap pretty much out of the blue? That definitely needs a thank you.

          1. Colette*

            Sure, thanks for things that are not routine or part of your job is appropriate. I agree with that. But Mike’s specific comment that I was replying to was “Folks who take the route of “why should I thank people for doing their job” are the worst.”

            1. Anna*

              Because I can still appreciate what you do, even if it’s your job? I’m not paying you to do it, so I don’t have any other way to show appreciation for the things you do that mean I don’t have to.

              Again, I’m going to thank a person. If that person wants to be mad about it, that’s on them.

              1. miss_chevious*

                But it’s not “showing appreciation” — it’s a rote nicety that means nothing. I show my actual appreciation in the way I treat you day to day and pay you and reward you for hard work, not with “thanks” emails.

                I’m also not “mad” if you send the thanks email. I think it’s a waste of both your time and mine, and if you worked for me I’d ask you to stop, but otherwise ::shrugs::

                I object to the idea that somehow not sending the “thanks” email is the equivalent of storming around the office barking orders at people all day.

            2. Akcipitrokulo*

              Yep. When we do a release, it’s part of our job – and grandboss always says thanks the next day. It makes us feel appreciated.

        4. Penny Lane*

          Every time a waiter or waitress sets something in front of me, I say thanks, even if it’s just 2 seconds and then I turn back to my conversation. The lady in the grocery store rings me up – I say thanks, even though it was her job to ring up my groceries and take my money.

          1. Espeon*

            Yes! It shocks me how many people just ignore a waiter/ress when they’re attending the table, I always take that half-a-second break from my conversation to thank them. Same with anyone doing me a service, from a cashier to someone holding the door for me. It’s polite, costs me nothing and helps to improve their day by being one less douchebag to deal with, why wouldn’t I?

        5. only acting normal*

          I find it’s all in the delivery. Sometimes people say a quick thanks (for doing my job) and I appreciate it as a brief recognition of the value of my time and work. Others give an over-egged ‘Thank you!!!’ in an amazed tone of voice that conveys total astonishment that I delivered a regular piece of work on time. The former is just social lubricant, the latter comes across as terrifically condescending, and I can do without it… thanks. ;)
          I also appreciate a ‘thank you’ if I’ve done something (even a small something) that’s really not my job, or if I’ve put in extra time and effort for something urgent, or something above and beyond. That’s actual politeness (vs social lubricant / condescension).

      2. Marillenbaum*

        Bingo. Interacting with colleagues is part of the work, which means taking two seconds to say or type “Thank you” is a good use of time. We don’t have to be friends, but a level of collegiality means that the next time you need a favor from me, I’m more likely to actually help you.

    3. Madeleine Matilda*

      I agree that these people often come across as jerks, but what I discovered in my leadership course from talking with them is that most of them aren’t jerks, they just have a different way of being in the workplace/world. To them all the social niceties drive them crazy because they want to get to the point and move on to the next thing they need to do. They don’t want to chat about what you did over the weekend or have to send thank you emails, they just want to focus on their work. It was eye opening for people with this mind set when those of us who prefer a bit of social nicety explained how we perceived their lack of such things. They really had no idea that it made them seem cold or like jerks.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Yeah but what they’re saying is, they just want to use their subordinates like tools without having to acknowledge that they have feelings, and that people don’t like to be treated like mindless tools. You don’t thank a hammer, or ask about its week in the toolbox, or apologize when you break it and toss it out. They wish they worked with robots.

        1. Madeleine Matilda*

          Not all of the people in my course were managers so this isn’t simply about how some people treat subordinates like tools. One person in my course talked about how much her boss frustrated her because her boss liked to spend time chatting about non-work topics before getting to the work related topics. By the end of our course, she had a different understanding about why this was her boss’ approach and I had a new understanding about people I work with who don’t always observe the social niceties. My point is that we shouldn’t assume that someone is being a jerk just because they don’t always thank someone. For some people it just never occurs to them to express thanks even when they do appreciate the work.

          1. Observer*

            Well, most people don’t like being treated like tools, inanimate object or robots by ANYONE, not just their superiors. It’s more annoying with a boss, because of the power imbalance. But still annoying, and frankly, rude.

          2. Emily Spinach*

            I wonder if some of this ties into how much you like your colleagues. I had a coworker who liked to chat, and I would get so annoyed and think, “JUST TELL ME TODAY’S PRIORITIES GAH!” But as became clear to me during the time we worked together, I actually just disliked her (and that job), so I wanted to do my actual tasks and leave faster. That might not be true in all or even most cases, but likely some.

          3. Seeker*

            I totally get what you’re saying. There are many people who don’t see these “fluff” conversations as necessary. They are not dysfunctional. They are not jerks. They just see human interactions differently. If the person OP is dealing with is just a selfish jerk, it should show up in other ways ,but it’s also very possible that he himself doesn’t need or want those types of exchanges himself and is treating OP the same way. That doesn’t make him a jerk any more than OP wanting acknowledgement make her needy. It just means they see things differently.

            That doesn’t mean the OP can’t ask for what she needs. “Did you get what you needed with the report I sent?” or “Hey, there – I just wanted to check-in and make sure that what I sent you was fine and that nothing further was needed on this.”

          4. Rachel*

            Not thanking people for doing things to help you is rude. Especially when you requested the help. Most of us learned that in preschool. Furthermore, it’s not intelligent – you’re burning bridges. That person is going to be much less likely to help you again after that.

            (Not trying to be snarky with you. Just illustrating that there’s a difference between just not being social/wanting to talk to people, and not using basic manners.)

        2. LQ*

          I think it’s more utilitarian than that. You are at work to do a job, to them (ahem, me frequently) that does sort of mean yeah you’re just a tool. Not a mindless one certainly! But yeah. I’m here to do a job. I’m not here to have someone soothe me or be my friend or make sure that all things are sunshine and lollipops.

          I think that if you want to get great performance out of people, for most of them you have to soothe and be sunshine and hello fellow human I acknowledge you and your humanness, thank you for acknowledging mine. But when I’ve had the pleasure of working with other people like me on projects it’s so SO SO much faster! Gloriously so! I don’t have to ask how their weekend went or come up with a catchy pleasant anecdote about mine. We can just start in the middle and finish and move on.

          And the best part is then I get to go home sooner and do entirely _ME_ things faster. Which is also glorious.

          I think it’s overall fairly short sighted to not realize that the vast majority of the world doesn’t work like that and so you have to pull on the itchy sweater (or like me just always wear a crisp polite button down, which I can do easily) of social niceties.

        3. miss_chevious*

          No, actually, we don’t want to work with robots. We just don’t want to spend half the day nattering away about your kids or your dog or your weekend. What is the work question and once we’ve handled that, then I care about your feelings and your family. But not before.

      2. Penny Lane*

        “To them all the social niceties drive them crazy because they want to get to the point and move on to the next thing they need to do. They don’t want to chat about what you did over the weekend or have to send thank you emails, they just want to focus on their work. It was eye opening for people with this mind set when those of us who prefer a bit of social nicety explained how we perceived their lack of such things. They really had no idea that it made them seem cold or like jerks.”

        Yes. And a lot of them are dysfunctional in some way. Look, I hate a half-hour about what you did this weekend as much as the next person, but you have to have *some* social interaction / chit-chat with people you work with, and sometimes that involves a minute of smiling and pretending to care that they cleaned their garage or their sister from Akron came to visit.

        1. bonkerballs*

          And a lot of them aren’t dysfunctional at all. Some people are task oriented. Some people are people oriented. Neither way is better than the other.

          1. Observer*

            It’s generally more than that. I know plenty of task oriented, and it’s not a revelation to them that people want some sort of acknowledgement of their work. Most of them even understand and recognize that there is a PERSON doing that task, and thus that PERSON should be acknowledged, even though the primary driver of the interaction is the task.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Also to clarify, there are a lot of people out there who are great at what they do in part because they are jerks. I get it. They cut to the bottom line and they don’t let feelings intrude. No problem. But then you have to own that … you’re kind of a jerk! And accept that many people are going to dislike and avoid you – because you’re a jerk. I don’t get the people who violate clear, long established social conventions (like a quick “thanks” for a favor) but then pretend not to understand the ramifications of acting this way. Unless there’s an actual mental illness involved, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t face consequences of antisocial behavior.

              1. bleeep*

                I think this is where the conversation about please & thank you and the conversation about “hi, how are you?” diverge, no? I’m admittedly pretty cold and task-oriented; I smile and nod at people but I rarely go out of my way to say “Good Morning” to anyone except the people who sit directly near me. But I would ALWAYS say thank you to someone who went out of their way to do extra work for my benefit. Not saying thank you is very different than not being into small talk, in my opinion.

        2. Akcipitrokulo*

          Yeah, not dysfunctional. Just seeing things differently. And when people share “this is what I see” it can be cleared up really quickly – “I didn’t realise you get frustrated, so will try to reduce small talk when the topic is work” and “I didn’t realise you saw this as dismissive, so will try to put in a smoothing comment or thank you”.

          Neither is inherently dysfunctional!

        3. ket*

          There are some real cultural difference that can play into this, too, though. Think of “Norwegian bachelor farmers.” Someone in the family into which I married talks non-stop for as long as interaction is sustained. Once after this person managed a 40-minute conversation with someone in my family who is losing the ability to speak, they commented, “It was hard to keep up the conversation, but I managed it!” and I realized they think it is the polite thing to do to never let the conversation flag, while in my family it’s the polite thing to do to have periods of silence and not talk about things you don’t think the other conversers will be interested in. We were brought up with a real emphasis on thinking about whether what we are going to say needs to be said. It has been a challenge to reconcile that with the aesthetics of conversation in the United States.

    4. Akcipitrokulo*

      Yes :) I find it’s helpful to put it into context in that manner – that there is a positive ROI on a small nicety that is part of the job – and that can get it accepted as a reasonable operating requirement.

      I tend towards the purely functional in a lot of ways – but knowing the effect it has on an email *makes manners functional* !

      So if I’m not aware of the preferences of the recipient, I make it appropriately user-friendly – some of my colleagues I won’t even write anything in the body of an email but put note in the subject line (eg “can you send me X?). But I *know* they will be fine with that.

    5. Rachel*

      But this individual has no issue interacting with humans, as long as he’s getting something out of it – getting the coworker to do the task for him. I don’t think social orientation is the issue here. I think the guy is just lazy and unappreciative.

  11. MK*

    I mean, I thank the waiter who brings my order, and that’s pretty much his whole job. I can understand not sending thank you emails every single time, but some acknowledgement is expected.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Amen. My boss thanks me when I send him stuff that I’m required to send him, and while I’m not getting all mushy over it, it’s nice to get that quick little 1-second acknowledgement.

  12. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    I get thanked on almost everything I do. Which at first was odd because, well, that’s my job. But eventually I realized that it’s just a way of confirming they got my email.

    Except for the guy who just replies and doesn’t type anything. It’s just his signature. I don’t know why, but that drives me batty.

    1. Curious Cat*

      The email w/ just a signature would drive me crazy too. Like, did you actually mean to just send a blank email? Were you going to type something and just forgot? Is there invisible ink for a secret message in your email??

    2. SoCalHR*

      That is definitely odd… apparently typing “thanks” or “received” is too much for him. I’ve never encountered someone like that but agree that it would be annoying to me too.

      1. yasmara*

        I have never heard of sending a blank email to indicated they have received your message. I would be super tempted to send a response back to every single blank email asking, “Did you mean to send some content in this email?”

        1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

          I easily get 10+ emails from him to reply to each day. Which, in turn, generates 10+ blank emails. With all the other stuff I have to reply to, it’s honestly not worth the (admittedly minimal) time it would take.

          1. Observer*

            It’s nice to fantasize, though, no? I think I would (in fantasy land) respond with “What was your question?” IRL, I’d do as you do.

          2. Mike C.*

            I would be so tempted to set up a script looking for that exact email with an automated response, but everyone has their own definition of “fun”.

  13. Matilda Jefferies*

    I was just griping about this exact thing the other day! In this case, I’m not doing a favour for anybody – it’s part of my job – but I have one person in particular who regularly creates extra work for me, and never acknowledges that it’s extra work. She’ll send me a set of ten documents for posting on the intranet (regular work), then over the next three days she will send corrected versions of six of the documents, one…by one…by one (still regular work, just more of it!)

    Posting things on the intranet is part of my job, but honestly. And I’m not expecting showers of praise, but I do feel like the least she could do is say “sorry, I know you’ve already posted this one,” or similar. And she gets snippy with me if I ask her to batch the corrections the way she did the original set, so I’ve just given up. Alison’s last paragraph is very true, though – it’s remarkable how I manage to get other people’s postings done almost immediately, and hers for some reason always take much longer for me to process!

  14. Erin*

    Are you an admin by any chance? Higher ups in the company can often ask admins to do various tasks for them without realizing that A) it may not actually be your job to do that and B) you have other people asking you to do things and other things on your plate, and they have no conception of what your workload looks like.

    It might be worth having a quick conversation with your boss about your completing assignments for this dude. Although I would leave the politeness/rudeness factor out of it.

    Something like, “Hey, I just wanted to check in with you about something – sometimes you have me do certain things for John, but yesterday he asked me to do X which took over two hours of my time, and he’s been asking similar things of me lately. I just wanted to make sure, do you want me to continue to complete these sort of tasks for him, or only do so if I don’t have higher priorites on my plate that day?”

    If the answer is yes keep doing them then I’d view that as part of the job, which makes the lack of a thank you slightly (just slightly) less annoying. If he does more or less give you permission to say no then you can fall back on “I’m sorry, Rich wants me focusing on Y tasks right now so I’m not going to be able to do that this time.”

    (I realize my comment doesn’t really touch upon the bigger picture of politeness in the office, but hopefully this is somewhat helpful.)

    1. letter writer*

      Good q! I’m not an admin though. I work in communications. The info I was being asked to pull together was related to work I’m doing but for a meeting I wasn’t going to/that I had nothing to do with. So it made sense for me to do the work I was being asked to do & I didn’t have a problem with doing it, just with the lack of acknowledgment once he received it. (And it probably wouldn’t be an issue except that he’s like this with everyone, including one woman who is also not an admin but fills in for a lot of admin duties.)

      1. Erin*

        Ohh gotcha. I suppose it makes it less personal if he’s like that with everyone, heh. In any case, good luck! Roll your eyes internally when you need to. :)

  15. Seal*

    My experience has always been that the best way to judge a person’s or organization’s character is by how the people at the top treat those below them. People remember who says please and thank you, and especially who doesn’t say please and thank you.

    1. Marillenbaum*

      As Sirius Black taught us, the measure of a man is not in how he treats his equals, but those he believes to be his inferiors.

  16. Antilles*

    To me, the brief ‘thanks’ acknowledgement falls under the same category as other social chitchat – saying “how’s it going” when you pass in the hallway, asking about the wife and kids, chatting about local weather/sports, etc. Yes, it absolutely wastes a few seconds that you could spend working…but over the long term, it makes you more likable, which really does matter.

    1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      For me, if someone is doing me a favor and it is in addition to/outside of their tasks for the day, “thanks” is elevated beyond a social nicety and into the “you helped me out and I appreciate it”

  17. MLB*

    Personally I HATE the emails where someone only replies “Thanks”. I don’t like unnecessary emails clogging up my inbox. If someone went out of their way to do something for me I would thank them in person (if possible) and send an email if they were remote, but some people send a “Thanks” ALL THE TIME. When I send something I assume the other person got it, because if they didn’t they will certainly let me know. I don’t take email personally. Of course this sounds like it may be a bigger issue of him taking you for granted, not just an acknowledgement of thanks.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      As others have said, it may not be unnecessary – it closes the loop that you did receive what they sent and it presumably meets your needs.

    2. Kitty*

      This is a fair point. I’d prefer to get a “thanks” all the time than not at all, but it would certainly bother me more if I’m already feeling like a colleague takes my work for granted.

  18. Data analyst*

    I would occasionally get requests for help (via our project manager) from someone in the marketing department, which I didn’t usually work with and was in a different state. I had enough discretion in my job that I could choose whether to spend a day working on this type of one-off request. I was happy to help out, and it was a pleasant change from my usual work. Except she never said thanks or followed up in any way. It was like dropping the work into a deep dark pit. After two or three of these episodes the project manager and I agreed that he would decline any future requests from her. “Sorry, we won’t be able to squeeze that in among our other priorities.”

    1. Max from St. Mary's*

      Yup, it’s called consequences. People can choose not to engage in what may seem a useless ritual to them, but they also need to accept how that choice impacts how willing someone else is to assist in something beyond the basic job requirement.

  19. Ms. Ann Thropy*

    You can’t make anyone appreciate you by doing more for them. Start being too busy for his requests.

  20. Master Bean Counter*

    I’ve been know to sing Maui’s song, “You’re Welcome” to the toddlers that visit my house when they start getting ungrateful…might work on coworkers as well.
    That said I know I’m not the greatest at thanking people all of the time. But I do make the effort to show my employees appreciation often. Usually in the form of free food. So it’s a balance.
    My boss on the other hand went a whole six months or better with out showing me any appreciation. He stepped up his game when the new CEO figured out just how awesome I could be.

  21. MommyMD*

    Thank you is nice but if your manager instructed you to do a task for this person or any other, that becomes part of your normal workload. I would not make an issue of this and go on with my day. If this person is assigning you tasks without your manager’s knowledge, that’s a different thing.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Yeah, but I still think a “thank you” is appropriate – and it’s free, it takes zero time, it might make a more positive relationship with someone you need something from. As others have said, I would always thank a waiter for bringing my food even if it’s their job. It’s a tiny pleasantry.

    2. Snowman*

      After I read the title of this, my initial reaction was that you should never expect a “thank you.”

      After I actually read the whole post, it sounds like OP might not even be obligated to do the work, in which case they probably shouldn’t do the work (assuming they’re busy with other stuff). I feel the point still remains, however. I’m a social worker and if I expected a “thank you” for every nice thing I did, or every time I went out of my way for a client or coworker, I’d be a pretty downtrodden person. It’s not that you’re expecting the worst from people by not expecting them to thank you…but you’re at work, to work, and to complete all expected work-related tasks.

      It’s like my Army friend tells me, “Don’t thank me, Uncle Sam thanks me on the 1st and the 15th.”

  22. JB (not in Houston)*

    “This word view also misses the fact that even in the context of “just doing their jobs,” most people have some leeway on how quickly they respond or with what degree of attention to detail or in how far they go out of their way to help someone — and that being kind makes people more interested in prioritizing your requests and generally being helpful.”

    This is so important, and a lot of people miss it. And people sometimes forget how some people could make your life easier by volunteering information or to do a task for you, but if you’ve been rude to them or taken them for granted, they won’t bother. If you’re rude to your coworkers or don’t seem to appreciate them, you will never know the many ways other people could make your work easier but choose not to.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Yes. People who show me common courtesy, I may proactively reach out to assist or advise on something they might not even have thought to ask me about. People who are transactional, I do what they requested and nothing else. They set the rules of the game, I’m just playing by them. Of course the latter category never realizes “what might have been” so I guess they don’t really learn anything.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Very true, but because I’m petty I take some satisfaction out of knowing that their work lives are more difficult than they otherwise need to be.

    2. Birch*

      yes, this! The “social lubricant” signals that we’re on the same side, we have the same values and interests in this situation. It means you can expect help rather than the other person unexpectedly flipping out on you. I don’t think it’s true at all that you can expect a purely transactional relationship to work–we’ve seen here often enough that people have wildly different expectations and reactions to things. Pleasantries just reassure people that you’re behaving in an expected way and we’re all still on the same page. But that’s really important when you’re trying to live in society and work together!

  23. Aardvark*

    That is super frustrating–it sucks to deal with that!
    I’ve got one black hole coworker for whom team I sometimes do daylong/multi-day projects and after it’s delivered…crickets until they need something else. I’ve decided they’re in my life to as a reminder that I shouldn’t continually seek external approval. Categorizing them as a therapy exercise rather than a normal social interaction helps a lot.

  24. AKchic*

    Since this person isn’t even confirming receipt of the emails, I would probably start adding language into the body of the email to ask for confirmation of receipt of the email.

    “I’ve had a few complaints about my emails going to spam folders or otherwise getting lost in the ether. Could you please confirm receipt so I know that you received this? Thanks!”

    Or, be passive-aggressive and request a delivery receipt and a read receipt via your outlook.

    1. Owler*

      I’m not sure why you would need to make up a claim that you’ve gotten complaints about missing emails.

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      I’d agree with Owler about not making excuses, but yeah, that’s a good idea! Add “please let me know if this is what you need/have received/have any questions” as a prompt can help.

      Or just sent an email after a reasonable time “can you confirm receipt of…?”

  25. seejay*

    Coworkers that say please and thank you to me tended to get higher priority in my queue for favours. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be far more nicer and pleasanter to you and more likely to go out of my way to do things that are beyond the scope of my job.

    The account manager who was also apologetic and polite when his client was being a butthead and tossing more work at us? We’d happily bend over backwards and do the extra work and smile while doing it because he was nice and friendly while piling it on us. The account manager that was surely and snappy and rude and wanted us to do his share of the work when he was overloaded? Nope, we weren’t doing him any favours, he could figure out how to manage the extra work on his own, we weren’t going to go out of our way to take on anything extra while he was being a jerk. And even when he was eventually written up by his manager after months of being a total asshat to a lot of people and he started being nice to everyone, he’d burned a lot of capital and it took a lot of time to gain favour back before we started bumping his requests up the priority queue over others. People remember.

    So yes, being nice in the workplace is a form of currency. Spend it wisely.

  26. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    We were told not to send “thanks” emails because of storage issues related to audit rules.
    It was awkward at first, but I always put please and thank you in the message, so it’s covered and doesn’t sound like I don’t know I’m asking for a favor.

  27. Lady Blerd*

    I don’t need a big to acknowledge my work, in fact I feel embarassed by it, but I also like the occasional thank you or pat on the back, especially when I do a solid for someone outside of my organization.

    In fact, even though I am not the most expressive when it comes to verbally saying so to others, I did just that yesterday. The clerk who works at our medical clinic and takes care of the booking of medical appointments went on sick leave for a few months and the quality of service severely dropped while she was gone. When I finally had a chance, I told her how much she did good work and how she was missed. Her demeanor completely changed and it was clear to me that I made her day. A little kindness does go a long way.

  28. Squeegee Beckenheim*

    My feeling is that there’s always going to be people who, when you see their names pop up in your inbox, you think “this mofo again”. And while I’ll eventually handle that mofo’s request, I’m not going to prioritize it if I don’t have to, and I’m not going to go above and beyond.

    My goal in life is to make sure that I’m “that mofo” for as few people as possible, and being polite and grateful is an important component of that.

  29. Lou*

    I get how frustrating this is. I’ve been doing a little extra work in a different department and I recently stopped because nobody even replied to my emails or said thank you. They’d post the article I sent happily, but didn’t even bother to recognise the fact that I’d fitted it around my regular role.

    I don’t get why courtesy isn’t a thing for people. If you’ve got time to use the work someone does for you, you’ve got 20 seconds to send an email acknowledging it.

    1. Lou*

      Also as a side note, it’s interesting to see how different people are responding to this discussion. For example, my mum was shocked when hearing that you don’t hear acknowledgements for most job applications so I think the idea of people not saying thank you in this context would have the same reaction! But then people who haven’t worked in roles where they depend on emails so heavily would understandably not necessarily see it as rude.

  30. Earthwalker*

    Some people get the idea somehow that they’re a coworker’s boss and can offload work onto them. I don’t know how it happens but I’ve met such people and seen letters about them here. An unthanked favor could be a sign this is someone who might need to be disabused of the idea that he/she has a right to give you orders.

  31. Argh!*

    Even people on “the spectrum” usually know this rule, but in his case he may just be oblivious. Or he’s got a sense of entitlement.

    You can say “You’re welcome” at the end of it whether you’re thanked or not. If he’s not a total cretin, he’ll get the hint.

  32. whistle*

    I have the same frustrations as you, OP, but I also understand the comments above about “thanks” emails clogging up the inbox and disrupting workflow.

    For me, it’s almost more important that the coworker asking a favor acknowledge that it is favor when they do the asking than it is for them to thank me after the fact.

    Example: I received an email the other day from a coworker who regularly asks for favors without adding social niceties that directed me to do X and Y. X is part of my job; Y is not. I replied that I would do X and asked if there was a reason that Y was not being taken care of by the people who normally do it. Honestly, I think if the email had said something like “Please do X and is there any way you could do Y while you’re at it? We’re swamped!” I would have done X and Y without hesitation. (I also would have done X and Y if the email had come from someone who is not a habitual asker of favors without niceties.) Please just give me some indication that you are aware that I have my own workload and my time is valuable too!

  33. The Luidaeg*

    I feel like printing this out, highlighting the entire last paragraph of Alison’s answer, and leaving it on a co-worker’s desk. I work with someone who is very much like this, and who doesn’t seem to remember the basics of saying “Thank you” or “Please.” I know this is just how this person is, but some days, it gets to me (and other people I work with feel the same way). So, Alison, that last paragraph was a good reminder for me that some people are
    “very transactional about work and miss the entire social context of dealing with humans and the fact that being pleasant in your interactions with people makes everything feel a lot nicer.” That’s so well put!

    1. Time Out*

      Makes everything feel a lot nicer – for who, exactly? Not for me, since I now have to be fake and artificially friendly and do all this emotional labour to make sure your little fee-fees are taken care of, before I can get my actual work done! That’s stressful and frustrating and not nice in the least.

      So you get your needs prioritised, and I get to do more work. Lovely!

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        Or find a middle ground – don’t expect a minute of small talk, but I will say thanks when you do something?

      2. Megan*

        Wow, this comes across really rudely. Was that your intention?

        You don’t need to be fake and artificially friendly, unless you hate your coworkers I guess – then you should probably try to hide that fact, but being pleasant and saying please and thank you takes almost no additional time.

      3. miss_chevious*

        Exactly. I am here to work. I smile and say please and reward work that’s well done and my direct reports love me. But if I don’t send a “thanks” for every email, somehow I’m a tyrant who thinks of people like cogs and robots? Maybe just send your email and trust that if I need something else of have additional questions or didn’t receive it, I’ll let you know.

        1. The Luidaeg*

          I was quoting from Alison’s response about making things a little nicer, and agreeing. I don’t want or ask people to be “fake and artificially friendly and do all this emotional labour to make sure your little fee-fees are taken care of, before I can get my actual work done!” What I do ask is for basic politeness. Saying “thank you” is simple and enough. I don’t need an answer to every email, or a pat on the head to get my own work done, either. However, I feel it’s courteous, when a colleague goes out of their way to do something that helps me out, to acknowledge their work, and say thank you.

        2. Rachel*

          No – you don’t owe your direct reports a thanks. That’s what their paychecks are for. But asking your peers to do work for you requires a thanks. It seems like several people have gotten these two things mixed up.

          1. Kitty*

            I think a thank you is perfectly reasonable when you provide work for anyone – if only as acknowledgement that you received the work. My boss thanks me when I deliver work to her, because she is a well-brought-up human being.


  34. This Daydreamer*

    Thank you for posting this. It reminded me to thank a coworker who left everyone Valentine cards. They had really cute pins – I got a little robot.

  35. Laura*

    When I worked at IRS, I had an assignment that relied on forms being sent from another area. Someone asked me why our area got so much better results than the others around the country. I said “Probably because I call them up every now and then and thank them and give them some feedback on how much their work helps me and the people who get it after me.” For some reason, this person had never thought of that…that simple act of thanking the clerks a few times a year got me incredible results with minimal effort on my part. It’s amazing what a little courtesy will do. I strongly recommend it–both up the chain and down.

  36. Data analyst*

    Best practice: when a coworker really goes above and beyond in helping me out I send an email thanking them, _and_ make sure to copy their manager.

  37. Espeon*

    OP this is indeed frustrating. I agree with Alison – see if he’s just being oblivious for some reason, and if not/he doesn’t take the hint then become unavailable from now on.

    It seems someone didn’t learn about ‘Magic Words’ – and you ain’t his momma to teach him!

  38. Rachael*

    OP, you are not off base to want some kind of acknowledgement. Sometimes when people say “it’s what you get paid to do” I just counter with the fact that outlook is not actually true. For instance: When I go to McDonalds I say thank you when I get my food. I say please when ordering. This is part of their job, but it is just good manners to acknowledge someone when interacting, right? Even if your coworker doesn’t send a “thanks” email he should tell you personally once in a while. Another example: When working in a member services department for a bank we always thanked eachother when we finished a task and gave it to another. It’s just polite and makes the atmosphere more pleasant. AND it makes people want to do things for you next time you need someone.

  39. YellowWLS*

    I had a male colleague who was senior to me (female) but in no way was my supervisor ask me for this kind of administrative help all the time. At first I thought it was just because he was new and genuinely needed guidance, but when it continued I realized that I needed to draw a boundary and that I had perpetuated the issue with helping him thus far. I used basically that same script, something along the lines of, “Usually this is handled by Employee X, but I have time to pull this together by 5pm if you can wait.” I also directed him back to his MALE assistant several times (yep, he had his own assistant) when I was genuinely swamped with my own work for my own bosses, and I’m pleased to say the requests have all stopped.

  40. Anon for this!*

    Hi OP1! I just wanted to know that there’s lots of us around in the same boat. I have learned so much from running sex parties – both technical and event management skills as well as vastly improved my soft skills. But other than vaguely alude to “volunteering” experience there’s not much I can do about putting these on a CV!

  41. Leah*

    Is it possible this *is* part of your job and you’re just assuming it’s not? I’m in a role where I support management on a lot of strategic priorities and so, while I don’t directly oversee the hundreds of employees in our department, my requests generally have to be fulfilled (often for legal or legislative reasons, or just because they are a request from upper management). I fully expect people that don’t have capacity to let me know so we can work with their manager to get the work done, but otherwise, even if this specific task hasn’t been given to them by their manager, and isn’t written in their job description explicitly, they still have to do it, and would look like a complete jerk to say no or imply they are doing me a huge favour (as I would then have to send the request to their manager, who would then have them do it).

    Sometimes they ARE doing me a huge favour when it’s a short timeline or otherwise and I show my appreciation accordingly, but other times it’s a legislative requirement and their manager has asked me to liaise with them directly (I’ve had staff argue with me about the merits/validity of a process that is literally a legal requirement of the organization that they just don’t encounter often so this makes me crazy).

    That said, I’ve always said the success of my role is based on relationships, and I buy myself goodwill wherever I can (including doing ‘favours’ when I can and thanking them profusely for big/urgent requests), but I can’t stand the “thanks” e-mails when that’s the entire text of the e-mail – they are meaningless e-mail clutter and I don’t feel add to the relationship at all.

    tl;dr be aware that, if you are the subject matter expert, this may be a part of your job even if the requests don’t come from your manager, and acting put out about the work could reflect badly on you, especially if they are being polite in their requests and just not thanking you as much as you’d like. If you aren’t sure if this is work you should be doing, talk to you manager to determine how to handle these types of requests.

    1. Kitty*

      Even if it’s a part of the job, I think a “thank you” is not out of order. I mean jeez

  42. Kitty*

    I’m dealing with this at work right now. A couple people in particular ask for items that are within my scope of work, so obviously that’s fine…but now acknowledgement after the fact! It’s a pet peeve of mine and definitely colours my opinion of them as colleagues.

    I also sent an email that I had bought pastries for our kitchen and received no thank you in reply. Once is fine, but this is a pattern and I’m peeved. I’m gonna send a noodge “Did you get my message” email.

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