Respectfully Yours: Write thank-you note
Special to The Press
I am embarrassed to admit it, but I am terrible about writing thank-you notes. I am inconsistent about this basic rule of etiquette. I mean well, but I always end up putting it off or forgetting. When should you write a thank-you note? Or is this practice outdated?
Thank-you notes show appreciation for a thoughtful act or gift, and are absolutely necessary. Sitting down and writing a thank-you note is a warm, sincere gesture. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a meal or a gift, writing the person a thank-you note is definitely in order.
However, there are many, often overlooked reasons to send thank-you notes: To guests of your wedding, bridal, or baby shower; when you’ve received a handwritten sympathy note for the passing of a loved one; and of course, to the host of your overnight stay.
It’s also great practice to send a handwritten thank-you whenever a friend has done you a special favor. Another overlooked opportunity is to send thank-you notes to potential employers after an interview. This should be an important part of any job-hunting strategy. This habit is fading away in today’s fast-paced society, and sending a thank-you note will make you stand out from other candidates.
Keep each note brief. Three or four sentences is fine. Write something personal and be sure to be specific when you mention the gift or how much the gesture means to you. Don’t worry if your note seems short. The only rule is that it be sincere.
You can also express your thanks through social media or the telephone. But it is inadequate. Nothing beats a handwritten thank-you note.
If months have gone by and you still haven’t gotten around to sending a thank-you note, it is perfectly acceptable to send one late. Be honest and apologize for the delay instead of ignoring the situation. Buy a pack of thank-you cards and postage stamps and keep them on-hand. That way you don’t have to rush out and buy cards or stamps when you need one.
All in all, it’s not a hopeless disaster, so long as you handle it with grace. Written notes are always appreciated, so, when in doubt, write a thank-you note. Gratitude: Never underestimate its power.
Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of Jacquelyn Youst Etiquette Consulting, specializing in protocol training. She works with the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst