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HOW TO WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

Now that the digital dominates our lives, the gesture of writing a note of thanks is a new staple in the modern etiquette tool kit. This being tha case, thank you note etiquette is experiencing a revival.

Thank You Note Etiquette

Today's digital age has ironically sparked a hand-written note revolution. Our way of communicating has changed, and with it our way of talking and our need to communicate feelings and appreciation on varying levels for different situations. Thank you note etiquette, although stemming from something very traditional, is a modern social norm with new rules. Rest easy, they aren't complicated. If anything, it's much easier today. We're here to walk you through it and provide words to make your genuine gratitude and personality shine right onto the paper. 

OPENING LINE

Today whether you start with the traditional 'Dear Joe,' or more formally, 'Dear Mr. Collins,' has everything to do with your relationship. Not all relationships are the same, so not all salutations are either. Fell free to begin a note to a very familiar friend much less formally. As a general rule, notes sent for post-interview and to more mature (in age) social or professional connections are written more formally.

Opening line examples:

I was completely stunned by your thoughtfullness.
It made my day. Thank you so much for the...

You absolutely made my day, and I cannot thank you enough.

What a lovely and thoughtful gift. Thank you for knowing me so well.

I'm humbled and so grateful for...

Adjectives to describe your feelings:

humbled   |   grateful   |   thrilled   |   touched   |   appreciative   |   blessed 

Adjectives to describe the gift:

beautiful   |   distinctive   |   amazing   |   wonderful   |   thoughtful   |   treasured   |   meaningful   |   fantastic   |   fabulous   |   touching   |   heart-warming   |   creative

NOTE SPECIFICS

The key here is to be specific. One sentence is great. Take a second of you like. This is your chance to return the favor of making the recipient feel good. The best way to do that is to be authentic and specific. Use your own words, just they way you would speak if you were there in person. 

Examples you can tailor to your situation:

I loved catching up with you and your treat of grabbing the bill was so generous. 

The earrings will be perfect for interview next week—and beyond. Nothing like a little bling to bring the confidence up a notch.

You always pick exactly what I love. The blooms are still on my desk and the macarons—well those lasted about 6 minutes. 

 

WRAP IT UP

Feel free to restate your gratitude in the last line, but use different words. If you didn't already let them know how they made you feel, try closing with this. After all, study after study reveals that

Consider these to inspire you:

Your thoughtfulness is a reminder to slow down and be thankful for the amazing people around me. You are truly a blessing. I am grateful for our friendship.

I cannot thank you enough for the gift. I love them!

Now that I've gobbled up a dozen cookies, you're meeting me for yoga, right?! Love it & thank you!!

CLOSE WITH . . .

Technically, this is called the valediction. It can be x's and o's (maybe not to the boss—or clients), or it can be something more personal or specific to you. Whatever you decide, follow it with a comma and underneath, your first and last name. In very familiar cases, just your first or a nickname is fine. Here are a few options:

Best regards,   |   Sincerely,   |   xoxo,   |   All my best,   |   Warmly,   |   With love,   |   Love,

There are, of course, plenty more options, but above are widely accepted and familiar.
For something more romantic, 'yours,' is a fun touch after a creative adverb...'shamelessly yours,'

THE INK

Use a fountain pen or gel pen for a nice, smooth ink flow. Nobody expects your penmanship to be perfect, so do not let your handwriting discourage the act. The fact that you are taking the time to write your gives your note meaning and it's own personality. Avoid using pencil because it smears, fades and looks tawdry.

WHERE TO WRITE

Yes - we're talking actual etiquette, so it's fitting to be thorough and tell you—where to write: it's a thing. There are 2 etiquette rules. First, respect the margins. This means leave a bit of room around the perimeter of the card. Don't fill every millimeter of your card edge-to-edge. Second, keep front. It's a traditional fact that you are not to write on the back of your card. That said, this rule is broken often, and for good reason. If you're saying nice things, who are we to stop you? Use good judgement and own it. You wrote a note. We'll say, "Great job!"

ADDRESS, STAMP, and SEND!

Resist the temptation to print your contact's address on the envelope. Instead, write it out by hand. Again, professionals and social relationships that are slightly more formal, follow traditional title guidelines. For examples, see below:

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe

Dr. and Mrs. John Doe

Mr. and Dr. John Doe

If a casual addressing fits your needs best, and you are addressing a couple, her name is first: 

Jen and Davis Byers

and if they are not married but live at the same address, her is on top or first:

Jen Keller and Davis Byers

One more envelope tip—refrain from labels and mass-produced stickers. Save those for the bills.

e-THANKS

Sometimes an immediate acknowledgement is needed. We don't fault you for that one bit. We are an immediate-gratification society. When you feel the need to be immediately grateful, go right ahead and send a text or email. It is not necessary, and it is not at all rude to exclude this step. What is important, however, is that the text or email acknowledgement, even though it likely includes some form of "thanks!" is not the replacement of a hand-written note in certain situations.

That said, you don't need to send a note for every little thing. Here's a table for e-thanks only and definitely a note. To keep it easy.

**HAND WRITE**

you have received a gift

you have been treated to
a meal

you have been the
guest of honor

you were given a
recommendation or referral

you had an interview

you received sympathy flowers or an especially thoughtful
letter or gesture

someone did an exceptional job that went well above expectations

**TEXT or EMAIL**

a friend unexpectedly picked
up the tab

you've received a small
gesture of kindness

you've been given a
compliment or praise that
was especially nice or
out of someone's way

Someone did a very good job that went beyond their requirements

**NOTHING REQUIRED**

you received a
thank you note,
sympathy card, or
holiday greeting

you've received a small
gesture of kindness

a job was done
well & correctly