DEAR MISS MANNERS: Long ago, I was trained that when someone says “thank you,” you say “you’re welcome” (unless, of course, they aren’t). This has always worked well for me in person and on the telephone.
Now, however, the modern means of communication ensure that I almost never actually hear a co-worker’s voice. Still, when someone emails me a thank-you, I respond with a “You’re welcome!”
I have recently noticed (yes, I’m slow, always was) that no one else does this. So now I wonder if modern etiquette means that not only is my response superfluous, but even perhaps annoying. After all, the only thing to do with an email like that is to delete it.
Not that I’ve received any complaints, but should I stop doing this?
GENTLE READER: Far be it from Miss Manners to discourage conventional courtesies, even superfluous ones. But that is what she is about to do.
Written thanks do not require that acknowledgment. A letter of thanks needs no response unless it is accompanied by a present. (Then it still doesn’t require “you’re welcome,” but does require another letter of thanks for the present -- which the recipient needn’t answer, so that is the end of the chain. Whew.)
Anyway, people’s inboxes are choked with emails, so it would be a good idea to drop this well-meant but unnecessary addition.