Saturday, December 24, 2005

Getting thanked

Marilyn vos Savant answers this question in Parade magazine today:
I overheard a woman say, I did all that work and didn't get a word of thanks!" after she cooked a dinner at church. What do you think of people who expect to be thanked for the things they do and who get upset when they don't get thanked?
-Sue, Sylacauga, Ala

I appreciate their willingness to be helpful at all. The fact that they want to be thanked just shows that they performed their good deeds because they felt a bit obligated to do so, rather than simply out of a desire to help.
I don't think that Marilyn is correct. The volunteer wanted to help, and to know that her help was worthwhile. If no one thanks her, then it casts doubt on whether her help was worthwhile.

She may have a sincere and unselfish desire to help, and yet cease helping when she doesn't get any positive feedback that her help is doing any good.