How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should)

In this era, steeped in technology, it’s hard to sit down and hand-write a thank-you note when sending a text, tweet or email is so much easier.

Those forms of thank-yous might be immediate, but they’re hardly as personal as a penned note in the mail.

I married into a family of Northerners. They don’t write thank-you notes. It doesn’t offend me – I know, as a Southerner living in the Pacific Northwest, I own the cultural abnormalities.

Meanwhile, back in Louisiana, my mother and her own sister exchange thank-you notes practically every day. They write cards to one another for things as simple as a good chat during a power-walk around the neighborhood or bringing a quiche to Sunday brunch.

It’s easy to feel like thank-you notes are wasted on those who don’t write them at all. But, it’s been my experience that showing appreciation is never lost on anyone.

In fact, by sending thank-you notes to the Northerners in my life, I have discovered they may even appreciate them more than Southerners do. They are not used to receiving such things in the mail, thus the gesture shines even more.

A thank-you note is a tangible experience. Think about it: what do you do when you see an envelope that isn’t a bill or a pre-approved credit card? You smile. You enjoy the feel of the unincorporated envelope and the hand-written address. Then, you open it… and smile again.

A quality thank-you note should read like this:

Dear _________ ,

1. An expression of gratitude for the kindness/gift/presence.
2. How useful it is/how much it is loved/how the person’s presence was appreciated.
3.  A mention of the future: When you will be seeing each other again and how lovely it will be.
4. Another brief expression of appreciation, closing salutations and the author’s signed name.

Send enough of these and people will be talking about your good manners and the lengths you go to express your gratefulness. The thank-you note is possibly the easiest way to create a positive, lasting impression on anyone.

Good manners and gratitude know no zip codes. So keep on writing, because nothing makes a person feel appreciated like receiving a hand-written piece of mail, sent just to say “thank you.”

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