Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The thank you note: a guide for grateful teens

I’ll start this post with the most pressing question: why? Then I’ll cover how, and somewhere in between I’ll address who, what, where, and when.

Why do I haffta write a thank you note?

How and why to write a thank you noteFirst of all, the big why: why do you haffta write a thank you note?

The reason is that you need to express gratitude to the person who has done something for you (this is the “who”).

This means someone who gave you a gift or money for your birthday or graduation. Or it could mean the person you interviewed with for the job or school. There are some people that are okay with your thanks in person or via text or SnapChat. Those aren’t the people we’re talking about here.

So, to the relatives who have sent you a check, for example, you haffta write a thank you note.

I don’t even know how to write a thank you note!

It’s easy. If you don’t have any cards handy and can’t fathom the idea of going to Rite-Aid to buy one, you can take a simple piece of computer paper and a #10 envelope and write a heartfelt note. However, if your mom has a stack of cards especially for occasions like this, use them (the “what”). Your recipient will appreciate it.

Here is the basic format. It can be three simple sentences wrapped up in the greeting, close, and signature.

1) Greeting: Dear <name>,

2) Thank you so much for the ____________________ <fill in what you’re grateful for>.

3) Talk about how you plan to use it: “I’m saving for a car and this money will really come in handy.” “I’ll bring it to college where it will be just what I need in my dorm room.” Even if it’s something you aren’t that excited about, thank them: “I’ll read it during summer vacation.”

4) I appreciate your generosity.

4) Optional: Nice things to say are: “I hope you are well.” “I hope to see you soon.” “Take care.”

5) Closing: Sincerely, Love, Thanks again, etc.

6) Your name

Put the card in the envelope with the front facing the back of the envelope and the fold of the card going in first. My mom taught me to do it that way and that is just always how I’ve done it. Some people say it doesn’t matter, but Heloise, an etiquette guru, suggests doing the same thing. (In case you didn’t believe me.)

The reason is, so when the recipient opens the card the see the front first, and if there is anything included inside the card (such as your graduation photo), it won’t be left behind in the envelope.

Where do I send the thank you note?

If your thank you recipient sent you a check, their return address is right there on it! Copy it onto the envelope exactly as it’s written on the check, except do not put their phone number, driver’s license #, or email address, if any of those happen to be included on their check. If the recipient didn’t give you a check, you can either ask your parents for the address or Google it.

Put this information in the middle of the front of the envelope, even though it is on the top left corner of the check itself. (Yes, I know this can be confusing, and if you messed up the envelope, just use a new one if a) your return address sticker doesn't cover the error or b) you don't have return address stickers and Wite-out would look funny on a colored envelope.) Your return address goes in the top left, and the postage stamp goes on the top right. You probably didn’t learn this in school because I know my kids didn’t. (So, again, don't feel bad if you messed up.)

When should I send the thank you note?

It’s a good idea to send the note as soon as possible. (You should definitely send it before you cash the check, though I know how tempting it is to use mobile banking the moment you’ve received it.)

If you have been slacking about writing the thank you note, just get it done. It is never too late to write a thank you note.

Sure, there are a lot of arguments against sending paper cards in the digital era and maybe your peers are fine with you texting and Snapchatting your thanks. But I am guessing that your peers are not the ones cutting checks and giving you gifts or interviewing you for a job or school.

For those people, write the note. People like to be appreciated, and people who have given you a gift or done something for you, deserve to be.

You’re welcome.

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