Thanks, but No Thanks?
March 23, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Should one on the receiving end of altruism try to reciprocate later, or remain silent and grateful? Is it creepy to seek out those who in chosen anonymity extended help to say thanks?
posted by emhutchinson to Human Relations (9 answers total)
Could you provide more information about the situation? The wording of the question and the context are not super-clear. For starters, do I understand you correctly that there are people who actively chose to be anonymous when they were helping?
posted by rollbiz at 8:07 PM on March 23, 2011

If they tried to be anonymous, the best thing to do is (once you're truly established and out of the situation) to pay it forward.
posted by Lady Li at 8:09 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

My rule of thumb is: if you can thank (i.e. it wasn't anonymous), then thank, with a kind note and perhaps a baked good or small, token gift. And pay it forward. The best way of thanking someone for doing you a kindness is to do one of your own.
posted by phunniemee at 8:10 PM on March 23, 2011

Find something altruistic to do; mention in the benefactors' presence that you were motivated to do this good thing by the good turn done you, and that you will continue to try to help others, always, because you have been inspired by the good example of others.

If I heard that a good turn of mine were rewarded this way, I would be so moved I might cry.
posted by amtho at 8:34 PM on March 23, 2011

I think if someone chose to help anonymously, seeking them out is a little disrespectful. Not creepy, necessarily, but clearly disregarding the helper's wishes. A weird way to express gratitude, I think. If there is an intermediary of some sort (and usually, with anonymous help, there is), you could send a thank you note of the kind described through the intermediary.

People who help anonymously pretty specifically do not want to be thanked in person, to my mind.
posted by bardophile at 11:07 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This might help.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 2:59 AM on March 24, 2011

Did the anonymous donor help through some sort of program or agency? (For example, organ donors or something). Perhaps you could contact the agency and express your gratitude and ask if they are able to pass on your thanks. If not, a donation to their organization would be much appreciated and good karma.

More details about your situation would be helpful.
posted by amicamentis at 5:30 AM on March 24, 2011

Show to others the sort of love that's been shown to you. I have been the recipient of extraordinary generosity in my life, almost always from people who have refused my attempts to repay them.

I have found that showing this love to other people is rewarding beyond words.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:56 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

In general if charity was anonymous, that was a choice made by the giver, and something that should be respected.

I anonymously donate a ton of toys and stuff every christmas to a few organisations that distribute them throughout the city here - I would NOT be happy (in this particular situation) if any of those individual families on the receiving end found out my name, where I live, work, etc. I saw through photos and taling with the event organizers how happy the kids were, and that's all the thanks I need - truly.
posted by TravellingDen at 7:13 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older The problem is, I googled Google in Google Chrome....   |   Preserving a valuable book? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.