Not long ago I sat to write a thank you card to a dear friend. It’s a mental process, really. It begins with the card or letter I receive with a small gift in the mail. My heart is instantly warmed when I see our handwritten address and the return address of the sender, and though I don’t immediately know what’s inside, what I do know is that the message was sent with love and thoughtfulness.

I wait until I’m inside or if it’s a beautiful day, on my porch, when I sit and gently open the envelope. Reading the words of someone who took the time to think of me (or my hubby and me), is special. I don’t take it for granted — the act of sitting down and penning one’s thoughts to a friend and loved one. Immediately, mentally, I craft my thank you response to the sender. I appreciate the effort people make by writing notes, inviting us over for a meal, or inviting us to spend time with them.

The least I can do is take a few moments to express my appreciation.

While the process of writing these cards is mental, it involves a ritual. I’ve been writing thank you cards for as far back as I can remember. Others who sent their thank you notes to our family inadvertently trained me on this art. The smile on my mother’s face when she read the note aloud to us, then pinned it on the refrigerator where it remained for some time affected me.

I wanted to bring others joy and smiles to their faces by doing the same.

My thank you card is sent within a few days to, admittedly, a couple weeks, but is sent nonetheless. When I sit at my writing desk, I might have calming classical music playing in the background, a cup of tea steaming nearby, and my best stationery and non-leaky pen.

I draft a copy of the thank you first. I gather my thoughts, think of all the reasons why I appreciate the person and the gift or invitation, and keep the message encouraging. We all need to be uplifted, and soothing words have a way to stir beautiful emotions within us. Once I’ve written my expressions, I copy them onto the nice stationery and send it off in the post as quickly as possible.

While writing thank you cards is in part a duty, to me, it’s as important as breathing. Not only that, while I know it will bring the recipient pleasure, as the writer, it warms my heart to do something selfless for someone. Writing a thank you might seem trivial to us, but to the recipient, it’s meaningful.


Who should receive thank you cards?

We shouldn’t limit the art of the thank you to friends and family; it can extend to our business acquaintances.

Think of the people who extend themselves for you. Think of your donors, your colleagues, your job interviewers — wouldn’t they appreciate a thank you? What about the media after writing a glowing article about you and your business? Or the podcaster who interviewed you for his or her show? The company you teamed with to deliver a webinar?

Because this art is now rare, sending a thank you in a professional setting will help you stand out. You become memorable to the recipient and your thank you can serve to deepen your relationship.

There are many opportunities for us to express our appreciation through the thank you note. And our thank you is not limited by age, gender, or demographic.

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” — Randy Pausch, writer, The Last Lecture.

Guidance for writing thank you notes

Some hesitate at writing a thank you note or card either because they don’t do it often, or they don’t do it at all. They don’t know where to begin. And this simple act becomes daunting.

But it doesn’t need to be. If this sounds like you, you might enjoy this article: “Why a simple thank you is important for relationships.” For further help, download this free cheat sheet: “Write a thank you” to help you craft your next thank you card for personal or business.

Thank you cards and notes warm the hearts of recipients who extended themselves for us. What seems a simple act to us, thanking people for their kindness and their time can bring pleasure to their otherwise stressful day. The thank you is a way to deepen relationships and help you stand out in your professionalism.

(Photo by Antoni Shkraba for Pexels)

My 2-Day VIP Writing Focus Workshop will help you improve your writing skills. Designed for busy staff — or individuals — who desire to write better and create engagement. Need more focused personal attention? Contact me for one-on-one coaching to improve your writing skills.