08/16/2012 02:01 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2012

Ask Michael Cohen: What's the Best Way to Say Thank You?


This past year I dropped 140 pounds. I can't say I did it alone. I had the help of a very strong friend, a sponsor of sorts who I would call at in the middle of the night if I felt like eating a pint of ice cream. She helped me with my diet, forced me to go to the gym, helped me restyle my wardrobe and got my confidence out of the gutter. I have never had anyone care about me so much and I feel like a million dollars. She's like a god to me. I have probably said thank you a million times but I would like to do something special. Diane R., Miami

Mazel tov on your huge achievement -- literally. I suspect your special friend who went on the arduous journey with you is a very selfless person. It's refreshing to hear in today's selfish society that Jillian Michaels types really do exist. As for your thank you, I suspect food and liquor are out as gifts so here is what I would do.

I'd buy her a year gym membership (at the very least, six months) and don't mention a thing about it to her -- a gift is more exciting when it's a surprise. Talk to the gym where she works out (I'm sure they know you) and have the billing charged to your credit card. I'd also put the breaks on your girl crush. Just sayin'.

You can say I'm a cougar and have been dating a 23-year-old guy for a few months now. We have a great relationship that pretty much epitomizes what the cougar thing is all about. I take him to great places to eat, on outrageous weekend trips and fun nights New York City. Then we have crazy marathon sex where I wear him out. I guess Pilates pays off. But here is the problem. He says 'thank you' too much for everything and it's beginning to turn me off, but the sex is amazing. How do I get him to shut up? Louise M., New York City

How do you get him to shut up? Really? By the sound of your email I think you know how to do this. Anyway, I bet there are a lot of envious 50 Shades of Grey lovers that are reading this and thinking they might not mind being you. Heck, I wouldn't mind being you.

Seriously though, no matter the situation, anyone who says thank you for everything can get really tedious, really fast. It's like someone who say's "I'm sorry" too often. It loses its credibility.

In your case, because this relationship doesn't seem too substantial, I would immediately and bluntly let him know his constant thanks are turning you off and affecting your sexual feelings toward him. Let him know that while you appreciate his manners, the annoying thank you for everything makes you feel like a 'sugar mama' and is ruining the relationship. And, if you ever thank him for sex, I'll revoke your cougar card. If there is anyone you should thank, it sounds like your Pilates instructor.

I just met my boyfriend's parents for the first time when we spent a weekend together in Nantucket. They were just as I expected -- really charming and lovely people. I didn't ask my boyfriend how the trip was paid for since he always pays for everything and I just assumed he paid our expenses for the weekend. However, that wasn't the case this trip. He let me know his father paid for the entire lavish weekend. I'm now feeling really embarrassed about not bringing a gift as a token of appreciation, but I didn't know beforehand we were being treated. Elizabeth V., New York

Isn't life hard? You were taken away for a fabulous weekend and someone tricked you! You thought your boyfriend was paying and it was his dad. Geez, I'd be really upset too and dripping in shame.

Okay, now that you're wondering why you wrote this jerk for advice, let me tell you what to do and I really thought about this. My first reaction was to tell your boyfriend he's the jerk for not telling you the entire trip was his parents' treat, but I suspect he's used to his parents picking up the tab so it probably didn't even cross his mind. Thing is, you can't go back in time so pay it forward and make plans for a special Saturday night dinner at a favorite place of theirs. Make it clear that you both wanted to thank them for a special weekend.

Try not to let this happen again and let your boyfriend know that although he may not feel he has to thank his parents for their generosity, you do. His family is not your family, at least not yet. You're still in the impression phase so try to make a good one.

Need advice? Email me at or leave a question below in the comments section.