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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): The Art of the Thank-you Note

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Art of the Thank-you Note

Alas, "honest to goodness paper and pen with nice penmanship thank-you notes" are so hard to find these days. With the advent of email, text messaging and everything else electronic, many are finding it hard to stop....and say thank-you like they really mean it. Why should you be concerned with thank-you notes in writing? Here's why.

You send thank-you notes because:

  • It's the right thing to do.
  • It sets you apart from everyone else, in a good way.
  • You make someone's day just a little bit brighter.
  • You actually feel good after doing it, and I'm all for feeling good.
  • You are setting a good example for your children.
  • It shows you are well mannered and sets you apart from others who are not.
  • It lets the gift giver know you received the gift. Don't keep Aunt Edna wondering if the gift ever arrived. She'll also be disinclined to send you or the kids something next year (and yes, my children write their own thank-you notes and know it is expected of them).

When do you send a thank-you note?

  • If someone takes the time to give you a gift, you take the time to thank them in writing
  • When someone makes an extra effort on your behalf (this is CRUCIAL in the business world and will get you noticed, again in a good way)
  • After you've been invited to someone's home for an event or meal
  • If someone has afforded you an opportunity you would otherwise not have been given
  • After a job interview
What does your thank-you note look like?

  • Personalized stationery is nice but not necessary. I use those small thank-you notecards that are blank inside. Sometimes we also make our own. If your handwriting is halfway legible, use it rather than printing something out on your computer. Research shows that handwritten envelopes are opened first. In business situations, those are typically forwarded to the actual addressee, rather than some nameless office staff.
What do I write?

  • Address them in person "Dear Person's Name"; if it is someone older than you or a business note, use Mr. or Mrs.
  • Thank the giver for what was given or done for you.
  • Add another sentence saying something nice about the gift, event, or thing that was done for you.
So really, I've given you plenty of reasons why this is something you MUST do, and as soon as you approach it like that, you will stop making excuses for yourself. As I said, you'll find it actually makes you feel good too. Writing thank-you notes will also make you more successful in life. Yes, it really will. You will now be seen as a caring, thoughtful individual who, yes, has a busy life, but you acknowledge others who also have busy lives along the way. Who do you think your boss will remember, way down the road? You who sent the note or the other guy who did nothing? How will you be remembered by your family and friends? Not as someone selfish and uncultured, but someone everyone else wants to be like...all because of a simple thank-you note.

How do you write your thank-you notes and when? Please share your ideas? There is always room for improvement and insight!

See this article and many others like it at the Make It From Scratch Carnival #38.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Dimes said...

I make a point of not enjoying the gift or not cashing the check until I've mailed the thank you note. I figure it's an easy thing to do.
I'm just curious as to whether or not it is customary to send thank you notes after going to dinners or informal get-togethers or whatever. If you're at a command party, do you need to always send one after the fact? Would a hostess be taken aback to receive one? Military etiquette books seem to demand it, but I'd have to say I really haven't sent much correspondence. If my husband gets thrown out, I guess we'll know why.

October 31, 2007 at 6:19 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

Great idea...that works as a nice reminder. Yes, you would always send a short note if you were over at a senior officer's wife's house...always. That is proper etiquette, although I see many wives (particularly the younger ones) not doing it. I also bring over a bottle of wine, candle, something useful but inexpensive nicely presented or wrapped...I don't like coming empty handed. I do have a group of friends, where we go back and forth to each other's houses every month. That is really the only time I don't send one out. We just email each other and thank each other that way:-))

October 31, 2007 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous HowToMe said...

dimes, me too!

Not being military (but having been raised by the child of an officer), I write thank you notes to a host/hostess that may not have fully appreciated the thank you I expressed at the door. For friends and family that I see regularly, another thank you by phone or email seems to be a nice reminder.

Yes, the thank you for a lovely evening and meal notes have solicited "what a surprise. That was so... traditional of you." lol

Thank you, veteran military wife, for such a wonderful post. Thinking of others should never be a thing of the past.

Kind Regards,
Sara

November 1, 2007 at 2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder! It gives me renewed sense of energy.

November 1, 2007 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

What a great post about the importance of thanking others.

November 6, 2007 at 8:07 PM  

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