Social Etiquette: The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Notes
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Social Etiquette: The Lost Art of Writing Thank You Notes

Writing thank you notes is a personal and appreciative method of acknowledging and appreciating a special gift or action from a group or individual.

Writing a brief but appreciative thank you note is the proper etiquette to follow when you recieve a gift or someone does something extra special for you. Unfortunately, this habit has been, for the most part,  forgotten or pushed aside by many recipients in recent years and some individuals don't bother thanking their benefactors unless it is in a brief email or text. Taking the time to write a brief but personal message of gratitude and dropping it in the mail goes far in thanking someone who has been generous or thoughtful.   

Reviving this custom will make individuals feel appreciated and more apt to repeat their kindness to others. It also sets an example to children or employees on how important it is not to take other people and their kindness for granted. 

Thank you notes could and should be composed for the following occasions:

Upon Receiving Gifts

Whether it be an acquaintance or family member, it is always appropriate to write and send a special note of thanks whenever a gift is received. Don't take the generosity of grandparents, aunts, uncles or other relatives for granted - always send a thank you card when they give a gift or money for occasions such birthdays, graduations or first communions. It shows you appreciate the thought and care that they demonstrated. Gifts from others such as friends or business acquaintances should receive the same attention. The notes demonstrate both professionalism and gratitude.   

For a Thoughtful Gesture or Beneficial Action

A special note to an individual or group who has gone the extra mile for you or performs a task on your behalf should always receive a thank you note. A stranger who stops and changes your tire for you will be pleasantly surprised at the note you send after asking for his business card. Sending an appreciative message after receiving flowers for your grandmother's funeral is always a difficult task but demonstrates thankfulness  for the thoughtfulness. A brief but positive  letter after an interview will give an applicant more visibility and a better chance at securing a better job because of his attention to detail and follow-up.   

Just Because

A loving note to your child or parent, thanking them for all they are to you, an anonymous thank you note with a small gift to someone who has touched your life in some way or a short note to your minister for conducting a thought-provoking sermon are all examples of how you can show someone how much they mean to you or how much you appreciate their efforts. 

Take the next opportunity that comes your way to  pen a few words of appreciation and gratitude toward the individual or group who did something that touched or benefitted you in some way.  Choose a card or note paper that complements the message. Not only will you make someone's day very special but someday when you least expect it, the same kindness will be returned to you. 

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Comments (6)

I couldn't agree more, Sheryl. Too few people today feel the need to send a thank you note and those that do, send an email thank you. A thank you note that is handwritten and sent by snail mail has so much more meaning because of the time it takes to write it out, put it in an addressed and stamped envelope, and then take the envelope to a mail drop-box or to the post office. It is the time one invests in writing and mailing a handwritten thank you note that gives the act its greatest meaning.

I am with Jerry, a thoughtful article Sheryl.

Thank you Sheryl. Social relationship is very important. Voted up. Thanks also for your affectionate support.

Valuable information and nicely written, too. Yes, Handwritten notes are more personal than e-mails. Thanks for posting....voted

Very good information! Thank you notes are definitely rare now.

Sheryl, how nice it is to recieve a thank you note from someone as an acknowledgement that he or she appreciates a thoughtful gesture or kind act.  In todays high tech world the hand written, posted thank you is on its way out.  I believe that sending an email, text, or fun online post can be just as meaningful and relays the same acknowledgement of recognition (without the added expense).