Is it possible to go overboard in expressing gratitude?

Is it possible to go overboard in expressing gratitude?

It’s all about etiquette. Has etiquette gone from our modern society? 
Is it possible to go overboard in expressing gratitude? 

How do we know where to draw the line? 

“The power of manners is incessant—an element as unconcealable as fire. The nobility cannot in any country be disguised, and no more in a republic or a democracy than in a kingdom. There are certain manners which are learned in good society, of that force that, if a person have them, he or she must be considered, and is everywhere welcome, though without beauty, or wealth, or genius.” From Emerson’s Essays.
If someone is too effusive, we get suspicious and question their motives. If we say to ourselves “What’s going on here?”, then their gratitude is extreme.
If we are the one being too generous, we look insecure and suspect: is there a hidden agenda?

Drawing the line is relative. A verbal or written thanks is sufficient for most situations. A small gift of chocolates or flowers is okay.

If someone takes you on a 2 week cruise, your thanks needs to be appropriate: a phone thank you won’t be enough. An invitation to dinner, theatre tickets or both, wouldn’t be out of line.

It would also be appropriate to take a gift with you on the trip: binoculars, travel books etc.

For a dinner invitation, flowers or chocolates are appropriate.

If the gift is too expensive, the host feels uncomfortable.

Are there cultural differences?
In North America:
Fairly informal but other counties can be much more formal. In general, keep it appropriate. Something Canadian is always appreciated.

Japan: Do not open gifts in front of the giver.
Use light coloured paper to wrap.
Present gift with both hands.
Acknowledge immediately and in writing.

Mexico: Yellow flowers signify death.
Don’t give knives: it means the severing of friendship.
China: Don’t give a clock. It is a reminder that time is passing.
Refuse a gift 3 times, and then accept reluctantly.
Avoid white paper.

In business, a gift is given to the organisation not to the individual.

Western Europe: White lilies or chrysanthemums signify death.
Muslim: Nothing made of pigskin
Italy: Wine is an insult.
The hidden message is that the host may not have enough. 
Gifts are accepted in different ways:

North America :Open gifts at once, flowers are displayed.

Other cultures, it is rude for the host to leave guests and arrange flowers.

In France:The host will not open your bottle of wine. It is assumed that the host has gone to a lot of trouble arranging the meal and appropriate wines.
The word gratuity comes from gratitude.

How has our attitude and practice to gratuities changed?
We eat out a lot more than our parents ever did. We are a restaurant culture and are more discerning about tipping.

We tip for good service, not just a blanket 15%

Is Holding a Door Open a Gesture of The Past?
No – absolutely not!
As you go through a door, look behind you and notice if another is following you through the doorway. It’s always nice to hold the door open for another if they are near. If the individual is far away, no need to hold the door open. Those that are far away will feel compelled to sprint towards your kindness. This may not be convenient for them.

If two people approach a door at the same time, allow the older individual or the person with higher authority go first. Especially when going for an interview or a tour, let the guide/greeter go first. They may need to show you which direction to proceed.

Chaps, as always, let the gals go first through the doorway. Be a gentleman and hold the door open for the ladies.

Ladies, these are modern times. If you arrive at the door first, open it! Don’t wait around for a knight in shining armour. You could even hold the door for him until he arrives! 

When holding a door open, move to the side. Do not stand in the doorway, making it difficult for the person to get through.

Parents, please teach your children to hold the door for others. This is a way of teaching our youth to always being on the lookout to help others. Older children should always hold the doors for adults out of respect.

When a person says, “Thank you” for opening a door for them, make sure you use those magic words and reply with a smile and “You’re welcome.”

And when someone holds the door for you? That’s right – cue the smile and thank you

It’s the everyday courtesies that can make all the difference in the world.


To provide a service based on integrity, knowledge, experience, and wisdom and to create harmony in the household and camaraderie in the workplace by helping others incorporate courteous life skills into everyday living. Teach the fundamentals of etiquette and social skills.

My objective is to increase awareness of the value of social and business etiquette and international protocol, and to offer services that teach and enable the application of these tools by adults and children.


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