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How to Write a Thank You Note

Penning a handwritten note to someone who’s given you a gift or interviewed you for a job may seem obsolete in an age when quick texts count as conversations, and when e-cards casually summon you to weddings. Yet this tradition remains a timeless act of appreciation. It’s also a mindfulness opportunity — a moment in which you allow yourself the space to fully reflect on your relationships and good fortune.

Here’s how to make the most of your thank-you opportunity: 

  • Use quality paper. Beautiful stationery tells the recipient that you care and also brings more pleasure to your writing experience.
  • Write legibly. Take your time and use a good, smudge-free pen. If you’re not sure about what you want to say, draft the note on some scrap paper before writing the final version.
  • Set the right mood. Select a salutation that matches the intimacy and formality of your relationship — from “My beloved Jane” to “Dear Mr. Smith.”
  • Be specific. Reference the gift or act of kindness you received, and express how it touched or affected you. (Note: If the gift was money, avoid referring to the specific amount.)
  • Be authentic. Express real appreciation in personal terms, and strive to use the same tone you would use if you were speaking to the recipient in person.
  • Close with affection. “Sincerely” is a classic option, but you can use a warmer or more casual variation for more personal relationships.

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