Advice for the Modern Gentleman, Vol. 1
WRITING A THANK YOU NOTE
Being a gentleman means possessing certain qualities: tact, wit, charm, style. Perhaps the most important quality, though, is grace. A gentleman is gracious— the modern gentleman is gracious in a way that breaks through the buzz of atomized social connection that envelops us all. Want to maintain, develop, and deepen a connection? Then for heaven’s sake, send a thank you note. Want to know how and when to send one? Read on.
SOME GROUND RULES
- Do not put it off, because you will forget. The note should arrive within two weeks of attending the event or receiving the gift, so it’s best to start the very next day.
- Write it out, by hand, and send it, by hand. Emails are convenient, but they are also a nuisance— no one ever got a twinge of excitement from a push notification. When you write out and send an actual letter, you’re showing that your gratitude exists outside of the digital sphere, and that your relationship is worth the effort of buying, writing, and sending something tangible they can hold on to. Never underestimate the power of touch.
- As long as we’re talking tactility, go out and buy some quality stationery. You don’t want to be sending novelty Hallmarks for every occasion, and you certainly don’t want to send over some torn out a scrap of notebook paper. Having a ream of high-test stationery not only makes the final product that much more special, it also makes you more likely to get down to writing as soon as possible. That is rule number one, after all.
- If appropriate, stretch out the letter’s contents. Tell the recipient about your life! Fill them in on your friends, your family, your work and your dreams. This isn’t a blanket treatment, of course— you don’t want to fill your boss in on your vacation plans, necessarily— but if it’s someone you’re close with, make the letter more than just a thank you. Make it a piece of yourself.
Now that we’ve covered the “how,” let’s take a look at the “when”. For the modern gentleman, gratitude is a gift best given generously— if you’re ever unsure whether a letter is warranted, it’s best to simply ask yourself if your heart was warmed by another’s actions. If so, it’s best to try and warm their heart in return. Carry on for a list of most-common causes for courtesy:
- Someone gives you a gift. If the gift is from your grandmother, it better be the best damn thank you note you’ve ever written.
- Someone does you a favor.
- Someone goes above and beyond what is asked of them. This applies to friends, obviously, but also colleagues— if someone exceeds your expectations in the office, let them know!
- You’ve just interviewed for a job. Showing gratitude is a great way of ingratiating yourself into the thicket of workplace relations.
- Someone has shown you hospitality, whether that be a dinner invitation or a night in their guest room.
- Someone shows you around their hometown when you’re on vacation.
- Someone has thrown a party in your honor.
You’ve been acquainted with the acumen of etiquette; you’ve tamed the timing of giving thanks. But before you head off into the throes of society, dear reader, we’d like to leave you with one last note of advice, and that is how to end your thank you note. The valediction is central to leaving your reader with a feeling of warmth, and while the fall-backs of Love and Sincerely are reliable workhorses, sometimes your relationship falls somewhere in between familiar and formal. For those occasions, refer to the following list:
- Yours Truly
- Truly Yours
- Kindest Regards
- Warmest Regards
- Best Regards
It appears we’ve gotten our farewells in order, so with that, we leave you.
Until next time!