Thank-you Notes: Merely Nice or Required?

Dear Ms. Demeanor:

I was really pleased to get a thank-you note from a friend for a party I just gave. No one has ever sent me one for a party before. Should I take it that this was the most spectacular one ever, or is this something I, too, should have been doing all along?



Dear Tara:

You mention how really pleased you were to receive a thank-you note. It's so easy to give that same feeling to others by writing one. Believe me, this is one investment of your time (five minutes maximum) and a stamp (even if they are getting pricey nowadays) that pays extraordinary dividends. It makes the receiver feel special and, in turn, makes that person think you're pretty special, too, for sending it.

Yes, you should send a thank-you note after you've been a party guest. When someone gives us time and attention, they deserve to be thanked. As I'm sure you know, giving a successful party takes a hefty amount of both. Calling in your thanks by telephone is, I think, selfish. Remember that we call others at our convenience, not theirs, and it's always an interruption. Faxing your thanks is not okay, either, because it's lazy and even the most sophisticated facsimile messages aren't attractive. E-mail is not appropriate because, while immediate, it doesn't convey the sense of deliberateness and care that a hand-written letter does.

I've known so many people who save and re-read others' thank-you notes. They show others and delight in the feel of the paper and the sentiments enclosed. An email is just not the same.

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