Samara O'Shea

Breaking News: Thank You Notes

A shout out to Andrea who sent me the link to the SF Chronicle article about thank you notes: Are thank-you notes passe in the e-mail age? It never ceases to amaze me that every six months or so an article about thank you notes will pop up—begging the question Have they gone away? The answer is always no. I can say this based entirely on the fact that the stationery industry is alive and when. We can worry about letters when people stop buying paper. I have yet to see the drug store that’s done away with its greeting-card section. I think we letter lovers will be okay for a little longer.

The writer of the article, Jen Burke Anderson, laments that she’s written many thank you notes lately and no one has given her a response. My response to that would be that you don’t need to get a thank you if you give a thank you. The original gift was enough. Of course you can e-mail / text Thanks for the note. But it’s not necessary. I’ve also had people thank me years later for letters I’ve written, so just because you don’t get an instant response doesn’t mean you won’t get one eventually. The years-later response is better, too, because it means what you wrote stood out enough for them to remember it all this time. In the article, Lizzie Post (great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post) had a similar reaction. “Don’t write a thank-you to get a response; write one to really thank somebody.” Exactly!

FYI: This is going to be a slow blogging week for me. I’m finishing a book proposal and getting ready to go away for the long weekend. I’m sure I’ll have some insights, but they might be on the short side. . .