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Manners Monday :: Thank You

5 September 2011 No Comment

When it comes to manners, the art of saying “Thank You” is the Grand Pooh-Bah. It doesn’t get any more essential than this. Showing gratitude for gestures of service or gifts is fundamental to how we nurture relationships. And, while there are appropriate ways to say thank you, more important to how it is done is that it IS done.

But we’re not here to settle, we want to do it well.

The two rules of saying, “Thank You” is that you be sincere and be specific. Don’t say anything that isn’t true, and make sure it is from the heart. And, name what you are giving thanks for (gift, dinner, service), and then comment on it. (How will you use it? What was your favorite part of the meal? Recall a particularly delightful part of the conversation.)

But to make a thank you truly special, think about how you can use your message to nurture your relationships. Did the gift idea come from you friendship history? (“You know me so well.”) Did you meet someone new at a dinner party? (“Thank you for sharing your friends with me/us.”) Regardless of what you’re giving thanks for, is what you appreciate the most the friendship? Say it.

Now, for the vehicle for thank you’s. We live in an age where we use electronic communication – email, Facebook, texting – to do everything, and there are times when it is appropriate to use these means for your thank you. The key to knowing what vehicle to use to say thank you is based on how the invitation was offered. There is a hierarchy of formality:

1. Handwritten / printed invitation.
2. Face to face or personal phone call.
3. Electronically (and within electronic communication, email trumps texting or Facebook messages).

Your thank you should be equal or greater in hierarchy to how you received the invitation. Handwritten dinner invitation? An email is not sufficient. A text to say “meet me for drinks”? An email to say, “I enjoyed seeing you last night. Thank you for thinking of me – it was good to catch up.” is fine.

If you’re showing gratitude for a tangible gift or a notable act of service, this calls for a handwritten note.

And, a note to parents. It is never too early to start your kids in the habit of writing thank you notes. There is nothing more precious than the notes I’ve received from my young nephews in their practiced printing on lines drawn by their parents. Often there is a picture on the opposite side of the note. Just melts my heart.

What types of things warrant a thank you? If you’re even wondering, then it probably does. Besides, practicing a heart of gratitude never hurts.

So, are you an expert at the art of thank you? Or, are you like me and will use this post a reminder to get on the stick with your good behavior?

Regardless, thank you for reading today. I appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to stop by Lit&Leisure. And, thank you in advance for the love note or question you posted below because it will help me get to know you better. See you again real soon! 🙂

Introduction to Manners Monday


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