Dear Jido – February 2022

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There seems to be an etiquette ritual of politely protesting when someone offers to do something nice for you. For example: 

Person 1: Lunch today is my treat. 

Person 2: Oh, that’s not necessary. You don’t need to do that. 

Person 1: But I insist. 

Is this necessary? Or is it proper to just graciously accept and thank the other person without the ritual protesting? 

I ask because someone recently offered to buy my lunch, then accused me of “giving up too quickly” when my response was “Thank you, that’s very nice of you.” 

Signed, 

Just Curious  

Dear Curious, 

I think I understand your dilemma. When your friend offered to treat you to lunch, s/he
really didn’t mean it or was joking (either before or after). Therefore, s/he was hoping you would
say, “No thank you.”  When you “gave up too easily,” s/he was either truly disappointed or was
then making a bad joke. 

In general, when a person offers you a free meal, a gift, a party invitation or the like, they are usually sincere and are happy when you accept it. In fact, a person is not allowed to offer something (1) they have no intention of giving or (2) to someone they KNOW would never accept it.  

The next time someone offers you something, the proper response is simply, “Thank you.” 

Thank you,

Jido