Monday, March 28, 2011
The Thank You Note
There are a few things in life that I've decided I want to be known for. At the top of the list is thank you notes. I want to be known for writing thank you notes. Not just for the sake of writing them, but for expressing gratitude. And making people feel good. I want to be known for good thank you notes.
I enjoy reading etiquette books and I have since I was a young teen. Something about Miss Manners makes me happy; there's something about a rule for acting appropriately in nearly any situation that I find comforting. But, when it comes to writing thank you notes, I don't worry so much about all the rules and regulations of a strict how-to. I try to make them more personal than that.
I don't know if you've ever received a thank you note that made you feel like perhaps you were a wonderful person, but I've received some like that. That's when you notice there is a big difference between an obligatory thank you note and a heartfelt one. One you read and toss, and the other you want to file away for a day when you're feeling a little low.
The best way I can think to get good at writing thank you notes is practicing. Send one for the casual dessert a friend shared with you. Write one to the person who shared their musical talents or personal thoughts that moved you. After spending an evening with friends playing games, come home and write one (even when it's late!) to the friends who welcomed you into their home. Then pop it in the mail the next day. Have you noticed, a prompt thank you note is impressive? And don't be afraid of a repeat thank you. Just because a relationship has been established and you are frequently extended hospitality doesn't mean you should stop writing notes of appreciation.
Practice, practice, practice. Share your gratitude and let the compliments flow. We all need to feel appreciated and that we matter. And I'd say more often than we are. So let it begin with you.
(An aside: if someone did something really generous for you, even the nicest thank you note might not cut it. Learn to know when a token of you appreciation would be warranted. Like hosting you overnight, letting you borrow something, throwing a party in your honor, helping you land a job, etc. That's when Miss Manners comes in handy.)
Posted by Deidra at 10:13 AM