Call me old fashioned, but I believe thank you notes are a must. I cannot emphasize it enough. Whether or not you were raised to do this, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of sending your thank yous in hand-written form. Whether it’s a gift, an interview, or simply a note to show your gratitude for a lovely evening, there’s something to be said about taking the time to write a kind word or two. And I don’t mean via text.
Let’s face it—we live in a digital world where people communicate in 140-characters or less and are constantly emailing and texting. The stream for communication is non-stop and instant, which is why discovering a hand-written note in your mailbox is such a refreshing surprise. When it comes to sending a hand-written letter of thanks, there are a few things you should know:
Crafting the Perfect Thank You Note
- Use a nice pen. Forget pencil, or a run-of-the-mill ballpoint—instead, use a luxurious fountain pen or felt point pen when sending thanks.
- Pick the right paper. It’s been said that the weight of the paper is reflective of how important something is… Now I’m not telling you to send a stone tablet, but a card or piece of stationery that has some weight to it is a very nice touch. If you’re looking to send thank yous without breaking the bank, remember that you can always make your own using some watercolor paper, glitter, and a nice stamp.
- Writing the letter. If you don’t have a lot to say—increase your font size—you don’t want it to look like you have nothing to say. Also, always reference what you are giving thanks for and how it will be used or appreciated. And if someone sends you money, do not say “Thanks for the cash!” Rather you should tell them what you are going to use the funds for such as a big ticket item like a new computer or a trip.
To Send or Not to Send
- Gift: A gift should always be acknowledged in a hand-written note. The only exception is if a close family member or friend gives you a gift in-person and you thank them on the spot, then a thank you note isn’t necessary—although it is a nice touch!
- Interview: If you’ve read my blog on interview etiquette then you might already know this: Always, always send a thank you note after an interview. Pop it in the mail the second your interview is over. This is an easy way to show you are an on-the-ball candidate with excellent manners.
- Host: If you were invited to a lovely dinner party, it’s best to show your appreciation before you leave by saying thank you or you can bring a small hostess gift to the gathering as well. However, if you are a houseguest, I suggest dropping a note in the mail to say thank you to your host for opening up their home to you.
According to Emily Post, in most cases, it’s best to send a thank you note within two to three months of receipt of the gift…or the sooner the better.
Do you send thank you notes? Also, what other etiquette questions do you have for me? Leave them in the comments below.