General Etiquette > Life...in general

Lesser Reaction Than I Should Have Given

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CookieChica:
So I have an issue where I know I made an error and now I need to fix it.

When I got to work, I had a present on my chair. I saw it was from my boss. I cannot open presents in front of people outside my immediate  family. I think it's because I had a relative who would mock gifts from people that weren't there. So unless the giver is in front of me expecting it open, I like to open in private in case it's a bad gift and an audience might mock it.  This is weird I realize.

When my boss came by the area where my coworkers and I sit, they all thanked him. I played along, assuming we all got the same thing. A coworker said she loved hers and my boss then said something that made it clear they were all different gifts for each personality. And then he said seeing the perfect gift for me made him make gifts personal this year.

Now that I opened it, it is PERFECT. An awesome gift and I think I hurt his feelings not being ecstatic (although I was gracious, I found out really tragic news the night before and was more reserved than normal).

How do I resolve this? Boss knows about the tragedy so can I just apologize for my reserved behavior and thank profusely? Any advice?

Surianne:
I don't think you have to apologize or explain at all -- he can likely connect the dots if he knows of your tragedy (very sorry to hear that, btw).  Next time you see him, make a point of telling him that the gift is perfect and you love it because of X concrete reason, or will use him for Y specific thing, and I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear it. 

Deetee:
Do not apologise for your former reaction and do not explain why you opened it later.
The former draws more attention to your reaction and the other unhappy incident and the latter is not important. Some people savour gifts or wait for the gift giver to show up. It doesn't matter.

Just thank you boss for the lovely and thoughtful gift and explain why it is so perfect. The tahnk-you should be 100% about the gift and your gratitude and nothing else. [FYI: This is not a universal rule, but for someone you see on a regular basis, that should be only real content]

QueenofAllThings:
I think you're worrying too much.

Write a lovely, effusive thank you note and worry no more.

rose red:
At the end of the work day (or tomorrow), say "I'd like to thank you again for your gift.  It's perfect...(add words that are applicable about the gift)."  Keep it simple, and I agree that you shouldn't apologize.  That might make things awkward.

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