Category Archives: writing

the art of thanking

I’m bad at sending thank you notes.

There. I said it. In fact, I’m not just bad, I’m terrible.

It’s not the writing part that’s difficult. It’s not the grateful part that’s difficult.

And it’s not like I’ve forgotten. In fact I think about writing these thank you at least once a week (usually daily for the first and second weeks). I make plans to sit down and write them but something always comes up. Right now is a perfect example. Instead of writing thank you notes, I’m sitting here writing ABOUT writing them. Sheesh.

Maybe it was because I was rarely expected to write thank you notes as a child. We always stated our thanks verbally, in the moment, and that was that. I can only think of one time that a formal thank you was required. I never thought this was poor form on my parents’ raising of me. It’s just how it was.

Maybe it’s because I have an incredibly ridiculous ability to procrastinate with EVERYTHING and the more time goes by, the weirder I feel about sending a thank you note. Is there even proper etiquette surrounding when the words of appreciation should be sent? What if you’ve kept putting it off and now it is a month, two months or more since the gift was received? Surely there is a statute of limitations? A timeframe which, if you cross, the giver no longer expects a card in return?

My husband, Z, tries to be helpful. He reminds, cajoles, suggests, checks on the status of the thank you. And then there is the guilt. OH! the guilt. Guilty for not getting the note written immediately. Every year (ok, some) I vow that this will be the year that I sit down and write (and send) my thank yous the same day that I receive anything thank you card worthy. And here I still am, lamenting over my shortcomings in the prompt department.

Maybe if I just walk around with a pack of thank you cards in the diaper bag (I don’t even bother with a purse these days) I can get things written sooner. Maybe if I draft some Mad Libs style thank you notes and then just fill in the blanks when the time comes. Sigh. I really don’t know what the answer is.

I do know that I feel great when the notes are written (and mailed) because I am truly grateful to anyone who has taken time, energy, thought, expense to do/give/provide something for me. I am sorry if I have ever owed you a thank you card and didn’t get it sent in a timely fashion (or at all). This is the year I’ll do better!

How about you? Do you have any tips/strategies that could help me?

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