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Pumpkin Spice

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Thanking
« on: July 12, 2014, 10:14:40 AM »
BG:  I have a wonderfully generous mommy-friend who has not only gotten special permission to allow us to visit (for free) the private community pool she pays to be a member of but she is also a swim instructor and is helping to teach my kids to swim.  It was all her idea and is unbelievably kind. 

We have gone four times now and I've said thank you at every visit upon leaving and reminded my kids to do the same.  Also, I've said thanks about 10 or more times while we're chatting on the phone.  /BG

Question 1: Am I being excessive?  I have no problem continuing on voicing my gratitude but I don't want to make her uncomfortable.  I guess I say that because I have had people thank me over and over for something and I started to feel weird but I'm a weird person so I just want to be very careful to walk the line and keep things good between us.

Question 2: Is there an appropriate thank you gift for this situation?  Or is a card better?  If so, should I wait until the lessons cease or go ahead now?

 I'm sure these questions seem a bit unnecessary but I am truly socially awkward at all times and I'm working on that so would love input.  I do not want this friendship damaged and not just because she is so giving.  She's a true friend in many other ways too.


 Thank you.

gramma dishes

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 10:20:25 AM »
I don't see any problem with both you and your children thanking her after each lesson.

If you think a thank you gift is in order, I'd make it something that has nothing to do with the swimming.  I'd take her to lunch or something after the lessons are over.

I'd also have the children write her thank you notes.  (If they can't write yet, then they can dictate to you and you can use their words.)  And, of course, write a brief thank you note yourself.  I have a feeling that those would be appreciated more, probably, than any gift you might give her.

Or, is there something you can do that she can't?  Maybe you could reciprocate 'in kind' by doing something special for her that she can't do for herself.

AvidReader

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2014, 10:27:48 AM »
I think a "thank you" at the end of each pool visit appropriate.  I would add something on the order of "I can tell that my kids are improving their swimming skills."  Since she is a swim instructor, she will be glad to know that her work is appreciated.   I would drop the thanks in every phone chat.  At the end of the season, a nice final touch would be for you to take her out to lunch or give her a gift certificate to a sporting goods store that has swimming gear or an online swimming specialty store.

TootsNYC

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 11:02:57 AM »
I think a thank-you after each lesson is fine.

But stop with the general thanking. 10 times is about 4 too many. (Making up numbers, but the general idea...)

Now your job is to make her glad she's helping because the experience is so fun in the middle of doing it.

Be sure your kids are good listeners, etc., and pleasant company. But I bet they are, because if they weren't, she wouldn't be volunteering.

-You- should be taking an affectionate, friendly interest in her kids. Keep them safe and entertained while she's working with yours; step in to ease any burden that her teaching might create for her.

And, if you can find any other sort of activity to do with her kids, esp. one that will create a fun memory or a tiny skill set (are they old enough to help you paint the porch? can you teach them how to patch the tire on their own bicycle?), you should leap to do it.


People do these big generosities because they enjoy you, they love you, they feel invested in you. They have (or want) a strong connection to you.

Your role is to feed those connections, protect them, and do you -own- part to strengthen them.

She is a true friend, you say--it sure sounds like it. So your most appropriate response is to *be* a true friend. If she needs sudden babysitting, step up, even if it's difficult for you. Support her in the same ways she supports you, roughly: Providing emotional support, teaching and caring about her kids, giving up your time, being a safe, friendly place to be silly or frustrated or safely mad at her husband for just a little while.

Be a friend.
   Usually that's all people like your friend want. They treasure it. 


Thank-you gifts bother me; they feel like payment, and payment destroys connections.

Promise

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 11:32:46 AM »
When I offer something to someone, one thank you is plenty per time. Otherwise, I begin to feel weird if they keep thanking me. I offer because I receive pleasure from their enjoyment. I don't want to made to feel that I'm offering charity with excessive thanks. And I don't want them to feel that they are over-obligated. A general thank you after the pool time is just right. At the end of the season, hand-made thank yous from the children is the right touch.

m2kbug

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 11:47:07 AM »
I think thanking her after each lesson is plenty enough.  If you gush thank-you's on each phone call, it starts to be too much.  I would be on the lookout for things I may do for her in return, whether it's a favor or a skill that I could sort of "barter," or just taking her kids with mine to someplace fun, whether she joins us or not.  An example would be taking them with mine to the super fun public pool that we have near us.  Sure, we have our own pool, but this one has slides and a whirlpool, etc., and it's inexpensive.  I think you can tone down your gratitude a little.  Perhaps at the end of swimming season or sometime before, you can treat your friend to a nice lunch.  If you're allowed to have food and drink at the pool area, you could bring a lunch or snacks for the crew.  You see some pool toys on sale, grab extra for hers.  Little things like this are a nice gesture of thanks. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 11:55:06 AM »
Ideally that would already be part of the friendship already.

daen

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 01:18:21 PM »
Ideally that would already be part of the friendship already.

Sure, but in that situation, I'd appreciate my friend's re-stating the offer. If it wasn't something I hadn't taken advantage of recently, it would remind me that she was willing to babysit.

Pumpkin Spice

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2014, 02:04:31 PM »
 :) Thank you for the advice.  I will reiterate that I can babysit and suggest she seriously takes me up on it this time because she never has before.  You see, I have four kids and she has one.  My youngest is still a baby (older, though) so I think she feels like it would be too much on me.  She's never said that but it's my guess.  Also, she worries about her child because he's so impulsive and clumsy (her words).  I don't know that she would let me watch him so I don't want to be pushy about it.  I've never heard of her ever getting a sitter for him, he's always with her.  I wish she would allow me have him for a day though, it would be good for everyone concerned.  The kids would have a blast.

I'm going to have to figure out some way to help her with some aspect of her life.  Restaurants are out because she has a VERY specialized diet due to severe intestinal issues.

I will definitely keep thanking her at each pool visit as will the kids and we will all make her cards.  I'm going to pull back on the phone conversation "thank you's" for now just so it's not over the top.

Zizi-K

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 02:23:51 PM »
I would have suggested a plate of homemade cookies or banana bread, but that's probably out?
You could also just be on the look out for some nice thing that she might like. A beautiful potted plant or bouquet, or some store-bought treats that are marked nut-free/gluten-free/vegan (or whatever you know she can eat), and just say, I was out and thought of you. We've really been enjoying the pool and the lessons, and thought I'd get you a little token of my gratitude!"

Roe

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2014, 03:11:01 PM »
Since a restaurant gift card is out, I'd give her a gift card to her favorite grocery store.

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2014, 09:29:38 PM »
It's possible to express gratitude without actually saying the words "thank you". Things like . . .

 - "The kids love their swimming lessons and look forward to them."
 - "It's so sweet of you to do this for us."
 - "It feels great to know my kids can swim."

I actually prefer this kind of gratitude. It feels more personal.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

hannahmollysmom

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 02:44:35 AM »
I would suggest that come fall, when the pool closes, you send her a plant or bouquet of flowers with a kind thank you card from yourself and your children.

Pumpkin Spice

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Re: Thanking
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 11:49:24 AM »
CrazyDaffodilLady:  Thanks, that's exactly how I've been wording it with the occasional "Thanks so much for doing this for us".

hannahmollysmom:  I really like your suggestion of flowers.  I feel like a dufus for not considering that before now. I'm pretty sure that's the route I'm going to go.  Thank you :)