Confession: "I am an over-thanker."

Naomi Cotterill

It has come to my attention that I am a chronic over-thanker (not to be confused with an over-thinker, of which I am one as well, I’m just really down with the ‘over’s’ it seems).

I’m generally a friendly person. I give good chat. Years of honing my ability to yabber on has meant that there isn’t a barista, deli owner or, bizarrely, a librarian (I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in libraries) who I can’t strike up some sort of conversation with.

I reckon motherhood also helped hone this skill. Never has one sought conversation so much as straight after birth. I truly believe that the driving force that got me out of my Bonds breastfeeding singlet and maternity PJ pants was the desire to engage with another adult human for 10 or so minutes while I ordered my latte. Yes, the caffeine was akin to downing an ice-cold bottle of water after you’ve been forced to chase a wayward dog through the front yards of three consecutive houses, but it was the chat that kept me going back for more.

Which leads me to this habit I seem to have gotten into of over-thanking. I’m not talking about genuine “thank you”s, say, the type that might be offered when a kind stranger somehow manages to secure the leash of aforementioned runaway dog and remains upright long enough to relinquish it into your custody, without judgment of your dog ownership skills.

I’m not even talking about the standard, expected “thank you” that you might deliver after being handed a salad/your fly-buys card/the remote control when ‘Duck Dynasty’ comes on and you feel the violent need to change the channel. I’m talking about the thank you that seems to have been plucked from thin air when there is no actual need for it to be uttered.

I realized that I was employing this technique during a pathology appointment the other morning. After thanking the phlebotomist (great title) for accepting my referral and thanking the man in the waiting room for agreeing to let me go first, I then proceeded to continue the thanks all the way through the blood drawing session. Thanks were heaped on for showing me to the seat, for fastening the tourniquet around my upper arm and in final, undeniable proof of my issue, when the actual needle was inserted into my arm and attached to the plastic tubing used to collect the sample.

Maybe you don’t need to make one of these for your phlebotomist.

It wasn’t an especially gentle insertion, nor was the phlebotomist especially effusive. She didn’t even comment on how good my veins were and I had made special reference to them earlier in the session (along with good chat, I also give good vein, it’s genetic though so I can’t claim too much credit).

I’m now wondering what it is exactly that possesses me to be so enthusiastic with my thanking?

A desire to be liked and appreciated by complete strangers? A desperate need to fill conversational blanks with words of appreciation?

An inability to find common ground with random phlembotomists’, apart from vein talk? My husband doesn’t appear to possess the same kind of verbal thanking diarrhoea, so maybe it’s a girl thing?

Whatever it is, I’m really not sure how to stop. It seems I’ve been meandering down the path for so long now that I’m incapable of stepping back.

And really, it could be a whole lot worse. Being overly friendly isn’t the end of the world, though I do wonder if it kind of dilutes my ‘real’ thanks somewhat.

There is however, one thing that seems to throw a spanner in my effusive works; blatant rudeness, like the café owner who served me this morning and managed to glare at me witheringly when I dared to ask if he took card then proceeded to not only mix up the size of my order but the actual drink contained within.

I only thanked him once.

Naomi is a former mag gal turned freelance writer and blogger. Mum to one toddler, one staffy and two cats, you can usually find her blogging, baking or attempting to hide Peppa Pig DVD’s. You can follow her on Twitter @NaomiCotterillFacebook  or check out her blog