I would need some advice about the customs of answering with a "thank you" message to someone who forwarded my mail to a colleague.

To give you more context, I was contacting this person for the first time to ask him some advice. He answered that he could not help me, but copied in a colleague who could help me.

Now my question is: should I say thank you to the first person, or wait for the second to answer? Should I answer the first person, but not including the second person in the mail?

Thanks for your help, I am lost with the business codes (and my desire of avoiding spamming people)

  • 3
    This is somewhat culturally dependent. Some workplaces seem to have a habit of following up every email with a "thanks!" response, in other places that would be considered useless noise. What do your coworkers do?
    – dwizum
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:08

4 Answers 4


Usually, only "Thank you" emails are considered unwanted by some people. If you want to convey your gratitude, while making the communication useful, extend the communication so that the person who is supposed to help you also feel interested in helping you out.

You can respond to the email (which your first colleague forwarded) saying:

Thank you first colleague for your support.

Dear Second Colleague, if you need any further clarification to my request, please let me know your availability so we can discuss more on this.

Which shows your

  1. Gratitude
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Willingness to help someone to help you

I'd say wait for a reasonable amount of time if you're not able to speak to them directly, as they are available only via email. The reasonable time to wait will be dictated by the nature of the question, and time that you can wait for without stretching the deadlines for whatever you're working on.

A lot of employees get many emails within their inboxes, and frankly a short email stating how glad you are to colleague one for referring you to the right person may have the opposite effect than you want it to.

A thank you is also always better in person, and when you're a new employee it is a way to start a conversion.


should I say thank you to the first person

Yes, of course.

A quick "Thanks" can never hurt. And if you copy in the second person, it may motivate them to help a (thankful) person.


No, you should not send a thank-you message. It's annoying enough to spend time forwarding emails that one can't respond to; it'll be even more annoying to see a useless follow-up email.

Source: personal experience.

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