The Lost Art of Thank You Notes

So, in my last post I wrote about saying “Thank You.” As powerful as a sincere verbal thank you can be it’s magnified tenfold when it’s written down. So I want to take my last post a step further and suggest that you do more than merely say thank you, I’d encourage you to at least occasionally write your “Thank You” down, like in a note, with a pen, handwritten. Just like the old days.

 

I know that seems really old fashioned to a whole lot of people reading this and it may seem like a huge waste of time when you can just send a quick email or an even quicker text. But I assure you, it’s anything but a waste of time. 

 

You may think taking the extra five minutes to hand write a card and toss it in the mail (for those of you who have never done this “the mail” is those blue kinda curvy topped boxes you see sitting on street corners here and there) is a waste of time but I’m betting big time that if you received one you wouldn’t think it was a waste of time at all. You would appreciate, maybe greatly appreciate, the extra effort it took the person to send it to you. 

 

There was a time when I frequently suggested to people that they send 7 Thank You cards a week. I used to do that religiously; I’ve somehow gotten away from that and it’s truly a shame. People used to comment to me all the time about how much they appreciated the thoughtfulness. 

 

I still send a fair amount of “Thank You’s,” I just do it by email and I almost never hear a word about thoughtfulness. 

 

So I just went and bought a box of Thank You Notes (it was nice to see they still sell them in stores) and a book of stamps. It’s positively retro! I’m going to start slow and commit to sending one a week, every week. I’ll try to do more but over-committing is a sure way to kill any momentum I might develop.

 

Will you join me in rediscovering this lost art? No one’s handwriting is worse than mine so don’t try using that as an excuse; like those Nike people say… Just do it!


My grandfather used to sell cards in his store, I still remember a sign by the cards he sold. It said “Costs so little yet means so much.” Those words still hold true today; make a difference in someone’s life today, drop them a note and let them know they matter.


12 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Thank You Notes

  1. Karim says:

    Hi, Steve! I love reading your blog and posts.

    I have a question. I would love to help rediscover this art with the world. However, who do you recommend we send these notes to? It seems like it can turn into arbitrary “Thank you” notes. Do you think we should send a letter once a week to someone we love, as a “thinking of you,” perhaps?

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks Karim, I think sending someone a note just to let them know you’re thinking of them is a great idea. The opportunities to send true thank you notes are really everywhere. We can send them to a customer service person who helped us over the phone (they would be shocked, in a good way) we can send them to customers we spoke with on the phone thinking them for the opportunity to speak with them. We can send them to customers after they purchased from us. We can send them to someone who recommended a product to us if the product worked out for us. We can send them to anyone who showed us a bit of kindness or thoughtfulness. We can thank someone for simply giving us a bit of their time to listen to us “vent” about something going on at work or in our life.
      The opportunity to say thanks is truly everywhere if we think about it. I realize that when I start taking kindness or good service for granted that’s also when I tend to stop sending thank you notes. The reality is in today’s world even when someone does a little something for us a sincere Thank You is an appropriate response. And remember, your thank you may be the only one they have received in a very long time.

      • Karim says:

        That is excellent. I completely skipped over the idea that I could send a “Thank You” note to even someone that I am not friends with, like a customer or service representative. Thanks for broadening my horizon, Steve — I just may have to send you a letter! 🙂

  2. Hi, Steve! I love reading your blog and posts.

    I have a question. I would love to help rediscover this art with the world. However, who do you recommend we send these notes to? It seems like it can turn into arbitrary “Thank you” notes. Do you think we should send a letter once a week to someone we love, as a “thinking of you,” perhaps?

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Great post, Steve. My mother sent three thank you notes every day of her adult life. That’s the gold standard for me and I don’t live up to it the way I’d like.

    For Karim. I once asked that my mother that question. She gave me that “mom look” and said, “Wally, there’s always something to thank.” That was over thirty years ago, but I’ve discovered that it’s true. My experience is that you can always identify people to that for specific things. But here’s a suggestion. Don’t start out trying to write three notes a day or seven a week. Start with one a week. I’m willing to be that the results will have you writing more before long.

    • Thanks Wally and I agree, writing one a week, just developing that great habit, will build momentum and you’ll we will soon be writing more. My personal goal is to get to the point where my day won’t be complete unless I’ve found someone to sincerely thank for something…and I know there are plenty of opportunities if we just keep our eyes, and heart, open.

  4. Trevor Freeman says:

    Eh, one thing big to say… ‘thank you’. And yes, I will start again on sending ‘thank you cards’ and saying ‘thank you’ instead of thanks!!

    Trevor Freeman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s