Thank You/I’m Sorry


I stil have colleagues. Former colleagues. Current co-workers. Other HR professionals. Bloggers. Writers. Speakers. Members of my community. People who used to work for me. People who provide services to my company.

Life is work. Relationships must be managed. And I recently sent a birthday gift to a colleague that I’ve known for six years. Just a professional gift. Small. Meaningless. We exchange souvenirs, postcards, books, etc., and the birthday gift was meant to show appreciation for his friendship and advice.

Total value: $14.

He sent an email and wrote, “Thank you for the gift. You are weird. I guess it’s the thought that counts.”

Uhm, yeah, okay. Well. Great. I’m not sure that’s a thank you… so I won’t be sending gifts in the future.


Then I had another colleague apologize to me for something he said — but the apology was wrapped around a series of explanations. And while I totally appreciate the difficult circumstances in his life, I don’t care about the extraneous stuff because it doesn’t hurt my feelings any less. I only need the apology to forgive you. Not the back story.


Here’s what you need to know, people.

  • Thank you is a complete sentence.
  • I’m sorry is a complete sentence.

Then you shut up.


It’s not easy to remember those two truths in the heat of the moment. I’m taking this opportunity to atone for my own failures in this area.

Thank you.

I’m sorry.

I mean it on both accounts.

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