Thank you notes

This question was inspired by this a.m.'s Dear Abby. (For some reason I feel I MUST note that it was pointed out to me by Ms. D - and that I NEVER volitionally read either her or her evil twin sibling’s columns.)

In response to this letter, “Abby” agrees with the letter writer that “maybe” is an inadequate RSVP. I wholeheartedly agree. But the part I’m not sure of is the need for a thank you note afterwards.

If you accept an invitation to my home, participate pleasantly in the occasion, and express your sincere appreciation for and enjoyment of the events as you leave, I see no need for a subsequent follow-up. I guess it is NICE when I later hear, via e-mail or a phone call, that someone really had a good time. But in no way do I sit around waiting for such confirmation. And I certainly don’t expect to receive a nice card in the mail attesting to the already expressed appreciation.

Similarly, I don’t feel thank you cards are necessary when you open a present in the giver’s presence, and express your gratitude to their face.

What do you think?

I’m incredibly bad at sending thank you notes for anything (whether I opened them in the presence of the giver or not). On the other hand, I never expect to receive a thank-you note from anyone I give anything to either… so I’d say they’re not necessary at all.

The pleasure is in giving a gift, not in being credited for giving it.

What I never understood was why a thank you phone call was not good enough. I can bang out a thank you note in about three minutes with barely a thought, but a phone call to tell you how much I liked the present, ask about how you’re doing, and so forth? That seems to me to be a lot better, and doesn’t leave you with something to have to recycle afterwards. And yet, I constantly hear about how a note is more “personal”.

I hate thank you notes. Especially for wedding/shower gifts. I figure the person is so busy, they don’t need to take time to write me a thank you note. Not to mention, they aren’t normally very personalized. All people do is just add your name, and the title of the gift you gave them. All the other stuff is exactly the same on EVERYONE else’s thank you note.

I just don’t see what the big deal is. Old women seem to be psychos about the Thank You notes. Just FYI.

I usually don’t send one unless someone fellates me. Then it’s a must.

Legomancer, I agree with you that a phone call is more effort, at least for me. I’m not a big “phone person” and I feel especially awkward calling someone I haven’t spoken to for a year to say thanks for a gift or something. It’s easier to write a note.

Breezy, not liking bad thank-you notes is understandable. If all your thank-you notes that say, “Dear Breezy, thank you for the [blank] it was really nice. Love, Cousin Lame-o,” then that’d be pretty annoying. But a nicely-written thank-you can be very gratifying, especially considering that most people don’t usually bother.

I’m not psycho on the subject–at least I hope not. I don’t expect a thank-you note, but I am always happy to receive one (even a lame one.) And I feel bad not writing one when it’s called for. I dunno, I just feel like it’s a nice thing to do, especially when the other person isn’t expecting it. High payoff for very little investment of time and effort.

I’m also all for encouraging communication by snail-mail, as letter-writing gives me another opportunity to use my fountain pens.

I send thank you notes for gifts and parties. For those that have sent gifts and not delivered them in person it lets them know that I did, indeed, receive the gift. For those that give gifts in person or invite me to a party, it lets them know how much I appreciated the thought. Simple process, everyone wins.

According to my wife, a thank you call or e-mail was sufficient.

I guess if I am talking to someone for another reason, and I remember, I’ll say, “I really had a good time the other night.” Or if I happen to think of it while my e-mail is open, and I have their address in my book. But I sure wouldn’t fel any need to call/e-mail for no other reason than to repeat what I had previously said to their face.

As I see it, face-to-face is generally the most personal/intimate way to express emotions - including gratitude. If you have already used the most intimate medium, why be redundant thru a less personal medium. Seems like quite an elevation of form over function.

Old ladeis are not the only thank-you fanatics – my sister is one! Not only do you need to send her a written thank-you for EVERYTHING, but if She sends ME a thank-you note, I have to send her a “thank you for the thank-you note.” If I don’t she gives me hell.

Anyhow, I agree that if you open the gift in their presence and express thanks verbally, there should be no requirement for a thank-you note. However, Dear Abby would probably disagree with me.

And I always think a thank-you email is acceptable. Again, Dear Abby (and my sister) would disagree.

A thank-you note for a thank-you note? Um, no, wrong. I can’t find a cite just now, but imagine the lunacy of thanking a person for thanking you for thanking … well, you know.

See, this just justifies my not sending thank you notes.

I don’t like sending them. I think they are out-dated and unnesssary.

Now I see that if I do start using them I will then have to respond to thank you notes about my thank you notes! The vicious cycle never ends. I choose not to participate in this whole thank you note conspiracy.

( Could our very own Dear Abby actually be an employee of Hallmark? )

I agree that they are outdated and unnecessary but because of that, I think they’re totally special and appreciated. I’m not a big fan of having to do something because it’s right and proper, but I do think that sending a thank you note is sometimes a totally welcome surprise and a really great way to convey your appreciation.

One place I am a big fan of thank you notes is when seeking employment. They make a good impression.

But, for friends and family? Nah.

I wouldn’t typically send them for parties, but I think the best thing to do when you receive a gift is to send a thank you note. My family doesn’t do this for Christmas or birthdays, but I try to do it for people outside the family who give me gifts, at least. I’ll verbally thank family members since that’s the way they handle the situation.

I send thank you notes to people who would write me a thank you note and thus expect one. I’m also better about writing thank you notes for things people DO than for things they give me.

I just knew I wasn’t going to enjoy reading this thread. sigh

Thank you notes are an absolute necessity. There is nothing old-fashioned or outdated about thoughtfulness and good manners.

I always send thank you notes for gifts I receive, overnight stays at someone’s house, and often for dinner parties. With close, casual friends and family I send my thanks via e-mail or e-greetings.

After our wedding, my husband and I wrote each thank you note individually, personalizing each one. I have given gifts at weddings and never received a note, and it bugged the hell out of me!

I feel the same. It is such a simple courtesy, but seems to have become a waste of time for today’s folks.
I come from a written thank you note family and married into a non-thank-you-note-occasional-phone call family. I just keep sending thank yous, and every now and then actually receive one myself.
Interestingly, after our mother died, my younger brother rebelled against the thank you regime, so own his kids never send thank yous, either by snail mail or phone.
This has hurt my other brother a bit, because he lives far away, and his relationship with his niece and nephew is that he is this uncle who sends gifts for birthdays and Christmas and never knows if the kids have received and/or enjoy the gifts, let alone appreciate the trouble he went to shopping for and sending them.
I dunno, not receiving a thankyou is not worth severing a relationship. But it is the little courtesies that help keep us civilized, and it’s kinda sad to see them go.

Scarlett67, Spooky, & Caprese, Mr2U and I were just married the day before Thanksgiving - the thank you notes went out the day after Thanksgiving. And of course, everyone was also thanked in person when we received the gifts. My 12 year old son also sends thank you notes for gifts received for birthdays, holidays, etc.

Then again, I also still write letters and have personalized stationery. So maybe I’m the one who’s nuts. I agree with Caprese - it’s sad to see the little courtesies fall by the wayside…

I’m for sending hand written thank you notes. For me, they do take more effort than a phone call. I guess what I like about them most is they seem to be unexpected, whereas a phone call can often be an interruption. I love receiving things in the mail even if I am expecting them, and since I don’t expect a thank you note it’s even better when I do receive one. I also enjoy choosing a personalized thank you note, rather than a generic one out of a box. Of course, for weddings it’s not really practical, but for birthdays or similar occasions it’s fun for me to do.