Manners Matter: “Thank You” Etiquette

Dear Mary Pat,

What am I supposed to make of friends and family sending their “thank yous” over a text or email instead of by hand? When I take the time to drive to a store, pick out a gift for somebody, wrap it and either deliver it in person or pay to mail it, is it expecting too much that the recipient write out a simple thank you note?



Giving Thanks

Sister Bay, Wis.



Dear Giving Thanks,


In our effort to make things more convenient, we have begun to rely on technology too much. It would obviously be more efficient and easy to send someone an email instead of a written thank you note, but this is a circumstance where efficiency and ease are way down the list and good manners are at the top.

A handwritten note is more personal and takes more care and thought. Anyone can crank out a 10-second text or two-minute email; however, putting pen to paper (invest in quality card stock if you can) is an art. I just received a very clever and well-written thank you note from my cousin today. She has a two-month-old baby. When he first arrived, we sent a bigger gift from my family. After meeting him in person, I sent him a little extra gift just because I couldn’t resist. Even though she is sleep deprived and I really did not expect a thank you, it was such a nice gesture and it made my morning.

There are some occasions when an electronic thank you is acceptable. If your friend picks up the tab for lunch or drinks, a text is appropriate. It is also a commonly accepted practice in the business world to send a thank you for an interview over email. However, anytime a gift is given (wedding, birthday, anniversary, First Communion, graduation, baby shower, etc.) a handwritten thank you is always the way to go.


Good luck,

Mary Pat


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