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DEAR HARRIETTE: I stay with a family friend every time I visit my son at college. It is so kind of her to offer to put me up. She is incredibly generous with her home and hospitality. She won’t allow me to give her any money, but I feel like I should give her something. She often compliments me on my outfits. Do you think it would be OK to gift her a few gently used items from my wardrobe? I have a lot of clothes, and we wear a similar size. I think she might appreciate them, especially since she has mentioned my clothing more than once. I just don’t want to offend her. — In Gratitude
DEAR IN GRATITUDE: This sounds like a wonderful idea! When people are generous, it feels good to be able to say thank you in multiple ways. First, of course, make sure you treat her home with respect. Clean up well after yourself so that you don’t leave her with extra work to do once you leave.
Beyond the basics, yes, a gift of clothing is a wonderful idea. Wrap it up nicely to present as a thoughtful gift. Then, let her know that you had been thinking about how to make her smile. You hope this does it!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have received several referrals for jobs recently. I have gone on so many interviews that it’s hard to remember them all. Each time that I went on a referral interview, I made sure to tell the person who referred me. In the end, I was offered two jobs. I have accepted one that came from a referral. Should tell the person who referred me that I got the job? Moreover, do I tell the other people the status of the jobs they referred me to? In one case, I got a job offer but didn’t take it. I did thank the person who told me about it. In two other cases, I did not get the job. How much follow-up is required here? I don’t really want to go into tremendous detail about my job search. It was tough. — Closing the Loop
DEAR CLOSING THE LOOP: Everyone who referred you deserves some kind of follow-up. You can write them brief thank-you notes acknowledging the time and effort they offered to you during your job search. Tell them something about the process. You can say you enjoyed meeting their contact. In the end, while you were offered a job there, you chose another. Or you enjoyed the interview, but it wasn’t the right fit, and you weren’t selected. Or whatever is true, if general. Be sure to let the person know about the job you did take, and thank them for the referral.
What you should know is that a recommendation comes at a price to the recommender. That person’s reputation is on the line when they give the potential employer your name. Be sure to represent that person and yourself well. That includes sharing the outcome with the person who made the referral.