The Found Art of Thank You

Confero 2A brief token of gratitude.

By Christopher Confero 

You walk to your mailbox (maybe for the first time this week), and you don’t expect anything more than the usual: bills and coupons. But to your surprise, a 4’’ x 5’’ envelope is a sure stand out. When you open it, it reads, “Thank you….” Two simple words that hold as much power as “I love you.” Sure, it’s part of our daily conversations, but when you’re not in the habit of writing this kind of note, it’s surprisingly difficult to pen one on the spot. Here’s my guide to make it easier. Note that it’s not a template.

Step 1: Pick Your Paper

The options are limitless; you can choose to go the custom route or pick up cardstock from Swoozie’s or Paper Source. Of course, what lies inside is more important, but some foiling or patterned lining doesn’t hurt. You want the receiver to know instantaneously that your note is a treat.

Step 2: Draft Your Feelings

Too many times, I’ve sat down to write a thank you note without brainstorming what my intentions were and how I wanted the receiver to feel upon opening the letter. Each time, I end up going through two or three cards before realizing I should have started with the draft. Just because you get a box of 12 cards doesn’t mean you should use them all in one sitting! Wording is significant when writing anything down, but especially with thank you cards. There isn’t that much space to ramble, so you must be poignant and concise, but still endearing and genuine.

Step 3: Address Your Gratitude

Gratitude for what I have in my life, especially my loved ones, is the only road to sustaining happiness. Writing thank you notes is a way to express that appreciation. When addressing the receiver, make sure to personalize it. Of course, address the gift itself and what it meant to you, but you can also emphasize how this person has affected your life in general. Whether they are a friend, a partner, or a client, let them know how they’ve inspired you.

Step 4: Show Your Personality

Don’t be afraid to do this! No one wants to read a generic thank you as if Siri wrote it for you. My go-to rule is to keep my personality intact, so that when the receiver reads it, he or she knows that it’s sincere. Ask yourself, “Would I say this if I were in person?”

Step 5: Mind Your Time

Be honest with yourself, if you don’t write it soon (read: one to two weeks) after you receive a gift or think about it, you most likely won’t ever get around to doing it. This time frame sends the message that your gratitude is fresh on your mind. After all, the purpose of the gesture is to make someone else feel appreciated, and that shouldn’t be swept under the rug for a later time.

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