How To Write A Meaningful Thank You Note

Ever find yourself at a loss for words when you want to write a note of thanks? These tips may prove helpful.

Everyone appreciates a word of thanks for doing a good deed. Whether it's a helping hand, a special gift, or a listening ear, other people's offerings should not go unacknowledged; they deserve special thanks.

Writing puts your gratitude into tangible form and allows the receiver to keep and treasure it for years to come. But if you're at a loss for words in trying to frame an appropriate message, these tips may prove valuable.

1. Choose good quality paper and ink. If it's a handwritten note, select an attractive card with a meaningful drawing that your reader can relate to. For example, if your host took you on a fishing cruise for a few days, send a note card with a sea or fishing scene on the front. While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest card available, go the extra mile and buy a quality piece of stationery; your reader will notice.

For handwritten cards, use bright ink and a solid ball point pen or marker. Pencil writing can fade and give a temporary feel to the message. If you print the thanks on your computer, be sure the ink is dark and replace the toner cartridge is needed.

2. Plan your message first. You may want to draft a few sentences before putting pen to card. On the computer, though, you can experiment, simply deleting text that doesn't work. When handwriting, you can print words if your cursive style is less than neat.

3. Choose strong, positive phrases. Instead of a simple "thanks," consider expressions like the following:



-"Time is precious; thanks for sharing yours."

-"My heart was humbled by your gracious gift."

You may want to include a famous quote that can be touching, thoughtful, or humorous. Go online and search "famous quotes" at a variety of sites, many of which organize by mood or subject.

3. Write more than a sentence or two. Brevity may suggest a limited amount of gratitude. Provide a short paragraph or several sentences to convey warm, personal thoughts. Mention the gift and its use specifically:

-"Your $50 restaurant certificate made the perfect end to a hectic day!"

-"Spending an hour over coffee together was just what I needed to get through that awful day."

4. Add an overall statement or summary of the relationship or the person's special qualities. Your one-time thank-you will be appreciated, but this is a great time to tell the person how special he or she is in general, which all of us need to hear sometimes:

-"I know I can count on you whenever I need a listening ear."

-"You've been a blessing to many in our group."

5. If possible, offer something in return. While this is not always necessary, it makes a nice, occasional touch:

-"I hope you'll let me come and baby-sit for you soon."

-"Let's have lunch, my treat, to show my thanks."

Though we often scribble note cards as an obligation rather than a joy, they can assume greater significance if we take time to plan them first and write them carefully. Use this opportunity as an inexpensive way to show a friend how much the relationship means to you.

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