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Thank You Etiquette

Do you say "thank you" the right way?

By
Trent Armstrong,
June 7, 2010

Page 1 of 2

Thank you. It sounds pretty simple, and you might think you're using it correctly. But are you sure you’re saying thank you every time you should be? And are you saying thank you even when you shouldn’t be?

When Should You Send Thank You Notes?

There are many standard reasons to say thank you, including after you receive a gift—whether it’s for your graduation, birthday, baby shower, wedding, etc. It really should go without saying that thanking people for gifts requires sending a handwritten note. And you should get that thank you note out post-haste. Waiting weeks or months is not really appropriate. Holding out for a year, no matter the circumstances, is rude. Of course, the note should be sent even if it's late. Starting thank you notes is usually the hardest part, so just make yourself sit down and write one note. Then write another. If you keep that up, you'll soon find that you're done and your manners will still be in tact.

If you are really delinquent in sending out a thank you note, apologize briefly and humbly. Don't belabor the point, though, as that will cause the recipient to feel like they were a burden to you-- and you do not want that.

When to Say Thank You

Thank others for everything from opening a door for you to cleaning up after you. Neglecting to do so only highlights your selfishness.

Another reason to say thank you is for an act of kindness. If your kid's soccer coach invests his or her time and energy in your little tyke, a thank you is in order. You should certainly thank someone who takes a little work off your plate. Even if your coworker is actually expected to do that job for you, saying thank you shows you respect the working relationship and builds trust between you.

Thank others for everything from opening a door for you to cleaning up after you or buying you a meal. Neglecting to do so shines a spotlight on your selfishness and tells others that you think the rest of the world should be doing those things for you. I assure you they should not be.

Say Thank You for Constructive Criticism

When you receive constructive criticism, say thank you. Not everyone is out to get you, so remember to keep yourself in check as you are getting criticism. Always be willing to accept advice from those who you know are interested in your improvement. Then humbly thank them for the things that help you become a better person.

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