Thank you notes are a dying art. It’s a pity because they take literally ten minutes of your time, and people are SO IMPRESSED when you give them one. Seriously, the bar is that low, not to mention there’s some really cute stationery out there that can actually make writing thank you notes fun. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these.
Thank you notes are so important that I even suggested the entire day after Christmas be a holiday devoted entirely to writing them, but until that happens, you’re just going to have to do them on your own.
Not sure when thank-you notes are appropriate? (Dear mom, thank you for buying me that fifth shot…) Don’t worry. I’ve put together some tips brought to you buy the very trustworthy etiquette expert, the late Letitia Baldrige, as presented in her book New Manners for New Times. Don’t look up her resume. It’ll just make you feel depressed and inadequate. Just trust me when I say she’s an expert when it comes to being polite.
You should send a thank-you note–even if it’s very short and informal–every time you are:
- given a present
- sent flowers
- asked to lunch or dinner
- invited for a weekend
- asked to a concert, the opera, the theater, even a movie
- the recipient of a favor (i.e. if someone writes you a letter of recommendation, refers a client to you, finds you an apartment, or introduces you to your future husband)
A thank-you note can be as short as three sentences:
Thank you for acting so crazy all the time. You’re making me look sane and beautiful. I enjoy all your tweets.
One final note: a lot of times when people receive a ton of gifts, for a birthday, Christmas, or religious celebration, they send out canned responses to everyone, something along the lines of “Thank you for your nice gift. It was very sweet of you, and I appreciate it.”
If you really did like the gift, elaborate on why you love it. Tell them a funny story about the first time you use it. Express so much enthusiasm that you make them excited to get you another gift sometime. Don’t you want that?
If you feel silly writing thank-you notes, it might help to use stationery that’s a little snarky, so your friends know it really is from you. Seriously though, if you take away one thing from this article, it’s that if you are under the age of 30 and you write a thank-you note to anyone of any age, they will be floored by you. Easy points. Rack ‘em up. You’re welcome.