Civility and manners,  Communication,  Featured,  Gratitude

Are thank-you notes old-fashioned?

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

In one of her recent advice columns, Amy Dickinson (“Dear Amy”) said the largest percentage of her mail comes from baffled readers who are hurt or angry because they didn’t receive thank-you notes for their gifts. At the same time, many other readers who leave comments on her columns don’t believe it’s necessary to write thank-you notes now. One young bride said she didn’t have time to write thank-you notes for her wedding gifts because her life was “too busy.” (Never mind that she’d found the time to mail out invitations and register for gifts before the wedding. Or that she’d found a spare moment to unwrap all the gifts she’d received.)

Most etiquette experts agree that a handwritten note of appreciation is the right thing to do when you’ve received a gift, a special favor, or when you’ve enjoyed someone’s hospitality.

Likewise, in professional situations, including job interviews, sending a thank you note sets you apart from other clients and competitors. For a modern, updated spin on thank-you notes, check out this article on Emily Post Etiquette online.

A text or an email expressing gratitude is better than nothing, experts say. Yet there’s something special about finding a real note in your mailbox. It reconnects you to the sender and elevates the relationship. I’m inclined to save a note like that — and I remember the sender long after I gave the gift or hosted the party. ~Cindy La Ferle

P.S. That’s my granny in today’s photo. She wrote lots of thank-you notes.

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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