I haven't consulted Emily Post recently, but I'm becoming more and more confused with the "Thank You" ritual. I'm not talking about the obvious times when we say 'please' and 'thank you' in a restaurant or in other public places. I'm talking about the required thank you after a dinner party or receiving a gift. I am especially confused when modern communication methods are employed for delivering said words of politeness.
I remember a dinner party we attend awhile back. The next day I sent a thank you email to our hosts. They responded with "thank you for coming..." They then ended their email with a comment that seemed to require me to respond back. And so it went back and forth until I think we all felt a bit awkward and none of us knew exactly how to end the back and forth. I have also encountered this dilemma with a popular social networking website.
Perhaps I am wrong but I feel that if I email or call back to say thank you, I shouldn't have to send a note. I don't really understand this snail mail ritual for today's times. But I still receive them, then I feel that I have to say thank you for the thank you note. And so it goes again!
Maybe some of you have experienced similar awkwardness and confusion. Prior to home computers, our society had more cut and dry rules. They may have seemed starchy and contrived, but at least we knew what our lines were supposed to be. This all reminds me of the Looney Tunes cartoon chipmunks called Chip and Dale. They seemed to be saying please and thank you ad nausium. Back and forth they went. It was cute and funny but when applied to real life, it can be annoying.
Please have your say and let me know what you think about this one.