With Mother’s Day coming up, let’s remember something our mothers drilled into us from day one—make sure to say thank you. And write thank you notes too. Some of us can remember being dragged away from cartoons to unwillingly put our name to festive “Thank You!” cards until hand cramps set in. We often think of these cards as the correspondence equivalent of flossing—something you know is good for you that you’ll get around to if you have time. And while we all want to be courteous (and have clean teeth), it’s difficult to get motivated to craft thank you’s. What do you write as a message? How long should they be? Do you even have cards on hand?
That being said—listen to your mother, because thank you cards strengthen your relationships, remind your friends and family of your love and devotion, and bring joy to those who have given you something of themselves. Show your appreciation and don’t mess these up… Your mother is watching.
Here are 6 ways you can epic-ally fail at thank you card writing
I forgot to write them and now it’s too late:
Whoops, the wedding was so exciting and then came the honeymoon and once you put it off long enough it feels too late to send anything at all, doesn’t it?
For one thing, it’s never too late to say thank you—the recipient always appreciates it—as the adage goes: “better late than never.”
How to avoid messing up: When planning an event, set a reminder on your calendar for a “thank you card due date” about a week or so after the party. Don’t procrastinate! And don’t get overwhelmed — if you don’t have a couple of hours to spare on one night, do just a few cards a day until they are finished.
I’ll just send a nice bitmoji
Everyone just corresponds via email and text these days, right?
Not this time. Snail mail is the only way to send a proper thank you card. Hand write in pen is the correct etiquette!
How to avoid messing up: Keep nice thank you cards on hand — just like you would paper towels (and remember stamps too). Another fun idea is to use kitschy postcards as thank you notes – an example would be to collect postcards on vacations and keep them around to send as amusing thank yous.
It can just be a form letter, right?
No one will know it’s impersonal if I write “Thanks! Love you, buh-bye!”
The gesture of the thank you note is important, true, but the message is the follow through.
How to avoid messing up: When opening gifts, keep a piece of paper and pen and write down what gift came from which person. Then craft a specific letter that speaks to what you received and what they mean to you. This article from gifts.com has a number of good ideas on potential messaging.
If I didn’t GET something tangible, I don’t have to write “Thank You”
What am I supposed to thank them for if I don’t have a gift receipt?
There are so many reasons to thank someone special—gratitude for a gift is just one of these. Thank you’s can be for friends and family who were there for you at a life-cycle event, for work colleagues who helped you finish a project, or (especially) for hiring managers who took the time to interview you for a position.
How to avoid messing up: Listen carefully. Make sure you know the names of everyone who was involved, interviewed you, or all the members of your team. And try to be comprehensive. Leaving someone out can be truly embarrassing.
My closest family doesn’t need thank you cards—I told them Thank You in person.
How many times can I say thanks for giving me life, mom… geeze.
The formality of a thank you card may seem a little awkward for close family, but these loved ones will appreciate them the most.
How to avoid messing up: With family you can be less formal and bring out the inside jokes, but plan to make the note heartfelt. And speaking of Mother’s Day—did you send a thank you to your mother yet for… I don’t know… everything?
If I don’t really know them, they don’t really need a Thank You card.
My son’s math teacher helped him after school, but I’ve never really met her. She’ll think it’s weird if I send her a thank you.
Even if you are not intimately connected with someone, they’d still love a thank you.
For example, Teacher Appreciation Day was May 9 and that would have been a great day to give a little thought to your children’s teachers, even if you’ve never met them. They work hard everyday to make sure the future looks bright for your little ones, so send them a small card with something particular to your child’s connection to the class they teach. It’s the least you can do, after you sent Billy to school last week even though he had a runny nose.
With so many ways to flop when it comes to thank yous, the best way to succeed is to be specific to those who you want to thank. And despite any fears to the contrary, it is never weird or awkward to send a thank you if it comes from the heart.
Contributing Writer | Julissa Arangure
Image | Thanks a Latte by seven eight create