The Importance of the Thank You Note

April 18, 2012

Writing Thank You Notes

Want to be considered one of the savviest, most thoughtful people in your circle of friends?  That’s right, you so do.

While I could extol the virtues of thoughtfulness through this blog, or implore you that thank you notes are the life blood of generousity (and you really have no excuse to be lazy), I’m not going to.

Simply put, if you don’t have the courtesy to say “thanks” for a nice dinner out, a kind gift or the lending of a helping hand- you probably won’t learn now from me!  On the other hand, for those of you who love receiving gifts and love the people you get them from (or even if you don’t) and want to keep them coming, read on…

Why do I LOVE the Thank You note?  Simply put:

-It is a simple way to express your gratitude for a gift, that typically gets a big reaction.  I have received thank you notes for my thank you notes- no kidding!

-In this economy, if someone can afford a $50 gift card, or even a $5 gift card for your birthday, you can spend the 44 cents in postage to send a note.

-Notes are a quick, cheap way to ensure that someone’s effort or gift was appreciated.  Sending a note also ensures that they will not regret being nice to you and may do it again sometime.  Seriously? Gratitude is an investment in others and mostly, an investment in yourself and relationships that enrich your life.

-Thank you notes = an excuse to buy adorable stationary!

 

When are thank you notes appropriate?

Any time you receive a gift or meal, stay at someone’s home, rely on their generosity for a business lead or something that’s made you money in some way, or simply to brighten someone’s day for a small gesture of kindness.

 

But what to say?

It’s simple, use your brain for proper grammar, and your heart for proper wording!

Even if the gift may be re-gifted or wasn’t exactly what you wanted, you can still express a genuine sentiment that doesn’t come off as crass or impersonal without even bringing up the gift.  Simply state that you appreciated their thoughtfulness, and that they took the time and energy to give you a gift.  Still can’t think of anything to say? Google some templates!  Here are some resources:

Thank You Note Template from RealSimple.com

Thank You Note Ideas from My-Thank-You-Site.com

 

…OH, and e-mails and text messages  are NOT the same as thank you notes.  Either take the easy road and write an email or make it great with a handwritten note.  Additionally, sending an e-card means more work for the recipient (if it requires sign up or subscriptions to open) and can sometimes make you look lazy!

In the digital age, it can be totally awkward to thank an online-person with paper mail.  I’ve done a few podcasts in the past where I only had phone numbers or email addresses, but even if it feels weird to ask (or spoils the surprise) you can ask a digital friend for a real-life address.

I know I’ve always loved to get thank you notes in the mail, and it really is a kind and rarely employed gesture.

5 comments so far.

5 responses to “The Importance of the Thank You Note”

  1. Andrea says:

    It makes me so sad that mailing thank you notes seems to be dying out. Writing a thank you note only takes a few minutes and leaves such a good impression on the recipient. It can also leave a negative impression if they aren't sent for big things like wedding gifts. After spending $100 or so on a wedding gift, I hate it when the couple doesn't take the time to send a short acknowledgement that they received the gift and that it was appreciated. Thank you for the reminder to keep this bit of etiquette alive!

    • Shannyn@FruBeautiful says:

      I totally agree! For weddings and showers- if a thank you note isn't sent it was if the couple or honoree didn't appreciate the time and expense of travel PLUS the gift. I know weddings are stressful but so is going to one, especially in a recession where every gesture takes a considerable amount of effort and money to produce!

      Honestly, when I've sent a note to say "thanks" even for a small gesture it's reaped even greater rewards. When someone does something kind and a note is sent, it establishes trust and keeps the door open for future collaboration and even more generosity both karmically and in business.

      Once I sent a thank you to a scholarship committee and they remembered me a year later and wanted to offer me additional funding, I was floored since this wasn't typically allowed…who knew that a little thank you note could be so powerful?

  2. It is sad that thank you notes are fading away. I always took the time to write thank you notes for everything from Easter cards (with a $5 bill inside) from my Grandmother to job interviews and gifts or dinner. I've always said that the smallest gestures can have the greatest impact. I love this post Shannyn!

  3. carefulcents says:

    Totally agree! My mom was a big user/believer in thank you notes and she taught me well. I have always sent real thank you cards in the mail for things I was really appreciative of. Emails and texts are definitely not the same thing. Nothing makes my day (or someone else's) like receiving and actual THANK YOU in the mail.

  4. Androw says:

    Good post.

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