DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was raised to send thank-you letters as a matter of politeness. As I became an adult, I realized that it feels good to thank people with letters or cards out of sincere gratitude.
I was invited to join my boyfriend on a very generous group vacation where our accommodations were paid for entirely by his close friends (a couple). The vacation lasted a week, and while I enjoyed myself and appreciated the company of the group greatly, I also felt out of place at times, and a bit of an inconvenience to the hosts and other guests, who were all very close friends.
I did, however, wish to thank the hosts, and expressed to my boyfriend the idea of purchasing a card and a small souvenir from the local region to mail to their home later. He sort of scoffed at me and, generally, seems to think it’s odd and unnecessary that I go so far out of my way to send thank-you cards.
I am feeling self-conscious about what to do. I feel the hosts were fairly indifferent that I was there in the first place, and my boyfriend seems to think formal thanks unnecessary.
I bought the card and a small souvenir anyway (although I also fear it’s not their taste), and decided I would think about whether or not to send it later -- but now it’s “later,” and I still don’t know what I should do. Do you have any thoughts?
GENTLE READER: That if you want to feel forever out of place with these people, just be the odd add-on who takes advantage of a connection to accept generous hospitality, and then vanishes in silence until the next such opportunity arises.
That your boyfriend believes that gratitude is unimportant is a bad sign. Perhaps he feels that the group is on such close terms with the hosts that they can take their generosity for granted. Miss Manners assures you that this will not wear well. There always comes a time when the most affable host begins to brood about being taken advantage of.