Writing Thank-You Notes

The ability to show sincere and genuine love is among the greatest qualities that can be obtained in life. Our greatest joys are inextricably woven into the fabric of other’s lives. No man is an island. Whether we like it or not, we are each connected and the cause and effect physics of our most simple choices can have a profound impact. Like toppling rows of dominoes, or a Rube Goldberg illustration; for better or worse, you make a difference.

The modern world is all about the bottom line, and it becomes all too easy to lose touch with the value of people.  Whether it’s apathy, or fear of appearances that keeps us from expressing our appreciation, the cure is the same:

Get Over Yourself

The Cure

Saying Something Nice

There’s a common axiom used in regards to interpersonal relationship: “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” The trouble with this course of thought is that saying nothing at all has little positive benefit. Some folks would never utter a syllable. I suggest an improvement to this line of reasoning, which is, “find something nice to say.”

Find something nice to say

What to do if you can't say something nice.

Old habits die hard. It’s all too enticing to criticize or tear down. In order to redirect our natural inclinations we must find a diversion of that energy. The stream of our desires cannot be dammed for long. It will eventually overflow. However, the course can be redirected to serve a better purpose. With this concept in mind, let’s examine what I have found to be one of the most profound and easily executed means to express our appreciation.

Write A Note

There’s no special method for this, but here is what I do: I always carry a pen and index cards. This helps to remind me that I should be looking for things to thank people for. If a colleague at work gives a presentation, write them a thank-you note telling them what they did well. If a friend gives you a ride, then write a thank-you note.

What I have noticed is that as I write these notes I find myself experiencing appreciation for people without them really having to do some thankworthy feat. Writing notes of appreciation, which express the qualities I admire in others, helps me to refine an ever-growing list of characteristics I want to build. And perhaps selfishly yet most definitely, it builds relationships and makes others far more willing to help when I need it.

Take the challenge and start writing thank you notes.  I’d love to hear about your experiences and insights so leave them in the comments.

  • http://twitter.com/moosterz Moosterz

    I do this occasionally, but I do it without signing from who it was. I feel just as good.

    If only others would do the same.

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    That's an interesting idea. I've never thought of doing them unsigned. Do you hide them or what?

    Anyhow, thanks for the comment.

  • http://twitter.com/moosterz Moosterz

    I do hide them. I'll put them in a book if they are reading something, or I'll slip it in a jacket pocket, depending upon who I was thanking and what I am thanking for.

    I think that finding a random thank you note through the day makes you feel better.

  • http://www.thelockerblog.com Oliver (lockerhaxor)

    I'm a high school student, and I've seen how communication has gone from in grade school calling your friends, to high school where communication is a text saying “wat r u doin?”. But we still use notes in school (despite not being allowed). It's sort of a universal thing in our school. Someone helps you out in class a note heads there way with “thank you”. It may not be a step up from texting exactly, but at least it's friendly. It would be easier to defend yourself by saying “I don't need your help!”.

    So in a way I do this, just on a large scale with lots of other people. Maybe leaving more personal notes is something I should start doing. Great post! :D

    Thanks,
    Oliver (lockerhaxor)

  • http://www.GroceryLove.com Karina Joy

    Writing a handwritten anything is a lost art form these days, so I fully support your encouragement to write more thank-you notes. I also love the hidden note trick, Moosterz.

    Long live the thank-you note!!!

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    That's fun! I don't know if I could be sneaky enough for that, but that is definitely one way to go.

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    I remember being in high school when SMS Texts first came into being (90's) and my friends and I were the only ones nerdy enough to know about it. This was a great tool.

    Today I still use texts to thank large groups of people. Let's be honest, sometimes it's impossible to thank everyone with a handwritten note. I think the meaning behind the note and the words are far more important than the method of conveyance.

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    Thanks Karina!

  • http://mayank.name MayankDhingra

    I too feel writing notes is almost a thing of the past. Though I don't write thank you notes I do write birthday notes(about 5-10) for my family members and hide them at various places like Moosterz suggested, I paste a couple at the bathroom mirror, refrigerator etc so its the first thing they see early in the morning. It feels great..

    All thanks to my Dad for doing this for me once and that's how I picked it up :)

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    Thanks for the comment Mayank.

    It's amazing how such a simple thing can create such a profound impact.

  • thepete

    I actually had some similar thoughts about thank you notes right after the holidays in 2008. Of course my wife and I still haven't sent of our thank you cards for the holidays, but we will. I did send a thank you email for a recent job interview I had and that seemed to have an effect, so YAY thank you notes!

  • http://youshouldbe.net Gdub

    That's a good point pete-a-roni,

    a job interview is a pretty awesome opportunity and a thank you not would only seem appropriate.

  • thepete

    I seem to remember being taught that a thank you note should be standard practice after a job interview, so, since I really wanted this one, I made sure to do it. Lo and behold, I got an offer! :) I doubt it was JUST because of the thank you email, but I think it might have helped since I was late for the interview :)

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