Social Question

raum's avatar

What are your thoughts about handwritten thank you notes?

Asked by raum (9746points) 1 month ago from iPhone

There was a lively discussion on another page about the importance of handwritten thank you cards.

Responses varied from them being absolutely necessary to them being a waste of time and paper.

What do you guys think?

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Extra credit if you want to include which generation you’re in.

2013–2021 Generation Alpha
1997–2012 Generation Z
1981–1986 Millennials
1965–1980 Generation X
1946–1964 Boomers
1928–1945 Silent Generation

You’re supposed to be 13+ to be on Fluther. But I included Generation Alpha just in case you wanted to also talk about younger family members. :)

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35 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Boomer, raised by very lah-di-dah methods. We were supposed to do that for everything, and I did, but I resented the idea that a heartfelt spoken “thank you”, with a bit of a discussion about why it was so appreciated, wasn’t enough. Now I write them only if I won’t be seeing or speaking with the giver.

My daughter is a millennial, and feels that a mandatory written card is impersonal and somewhat rude, and would much rather talk to the person. When my mother (90 years old at that time, she’s 97, now) roundly scolded my daughter, and told her that there would be no more gifts then, my daughter said that that was good, she didn’t want stuff from her grandmother, she wanted conversations and time spent.

My mother was totally kerflummoxed.

cookieman's avatar

Gen-X

I love handwritten notes and cards and wish I’d receive them and yet I never make the time to send them and so I am a MONSTER hypocrite.

anniereborn's avatar

I love them and still think the are important in some circumstances. I’m Gen X

LuckyGuy's avatar

Boomer. I just received a thank you note from someone who attended my party. It was hand written on wildflower seed imprengated paper. Very classy and cool!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just checked and the card came from Nature’s Garden .
I’ve never seen anything like it.

Zaku's avatar

Polite but unnecessary. Those generation labels are silly. I identify as about 1000 years old.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Boomer (1956)

A written note is absolutely necessary for gifts and special favors. If someone gives me a present or does an unusually kind deed, that person will receive a hand-written thank-you letter. The note doesn’t need to be more than a few sentences, but it’s essential to put pen to paper, add a stamp, and visit a mailbox.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Gen x. I rarely send thank you notes or birthday cards. I do say thank you on Fluther.

JLeslie's avatar

Gen X — I don’t care how I am thanked by someone, but I do think people should acknowledge receiving a gift in some manner.

I send a thank you card sometimes, it depends who sent me the gift. If it’s someone I barely know or the friend of one of my parents I would definitely send a card. If it’s a close friend of mine I would call and thank them and have a conversation also.

Sometimes I send a thank gift, not just a card. Like if I stayed at someone’s house I might do that. Either arrive with a gift or send one afterwards.

Weddings and showers would usually be reason to send a formal written thank you.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m somewhere between Millennial and Gen Z, last time I checked. Thank you notes aren’t something in my culture, so I can’t comment on that. However, I still make cards on special occasion for my friend. The last time I made a card it was a happy birthday card that you have to pull out to read the message. I think cards are a much better way to show your appreciation to someone close to you, because messages on messaging apps are too distant, too overused, and too low-effort.

Here is an example of a card I made.

seawulf575's avatar

A hand written note shows the person is sincere in their thanks. Whatever they are thanking you for meant enough that they took the time to write the note and to send it. Boomer here.

JLeslie's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m just curious if you are one of the few Republicans who stands up for our United States Postal Service to be able to mail those thank you cards, or are you in with most Republicans that you are wanting to get rid of it? Just a simple yes or no is fine, I don’t want to derail too much, but I’m just wondering if your generation is willing to toss out the traditional etiquette of sending a thank you card if the USPS was actually disolved.

seawulf575's avatar

@JLeslie Let’s start with the false assumption that I’m a Republican. I’m an Independent. But as for the USPS, I view them the same as shopping malls. Yes, you can get your product by ordering it on line but you lose something human in the process. Same with the USPS. I do believe that they need to really dig in and, like any business, operate at something that is not a loss. But that doesn’t mean I want to do away with them.

canidmajor's avatar

@seawulf575, a handwritten note is only meaningful if it is not looked on as a chore, an unwelcome obligation, or an avoidance.

jca2's avatar

I’m Gen X (born at the beginning of the Gen X period) and I was brought up that hand written thank you cards were necessary, yet I hardly ever did them. My mom was lax about making me do them. I still think a hand written card or note shows extra appreciation, and I love receiving them. I will occasionally send them, if someone does something extra special and it’s someone I’m not in touch with on email or social media.

Someone threw me a party the other day and I bought her a thank you card, and my intentions are to send cards to the people who attended the party. Sometimes I intend to do that, and then weeks go by and my plans fall by the wayside.

My aunt, who is 70, sends my daughter checks for her birthday and told me that without receiving a thank you note, the checks will stop. Now I make sure I sit my daughter down and she puts a few sentences on a card and I mail them out. I don’t want my aunt to think we’re ingrates.

canidmajor's avatar

@jca2 Would your aunt not accept a heartfelt “thank you” on the phone?

jca2's avatar

@canidmajor: I didn’t ask.

canidmajor's avatar

@jca2 I am just curious, as your aunt is only a few years older than I am, and a lot of my peers really only want to write a note as a sincere appreciation of something, but not because we are “supposed to”.

I asked my mother once, after one of her “ignorant cretin” diatribes, if she then viewed a gift as currency for buying a written expression of gratitude. Personally, I am always pleased to receive a sincere “thank you” in whatever form it is given. It is charming to get a handwritten note, but certainly not worth more points.

seawulf575's avatar

@canidmajor I used to feel that way about handwritten notes…that they were an obligation or a drudge. But in this day and age where you can send an e-card with little to no thought or effort, for someone to take the time to actually do a handwritten note shows caring in my view.

JLeslie's avatar

For me, the thank you is half knowing the gift was received and the other half appreciation. I want to know they have it and it wasn’t lost in the mail. A phone call or text is more expedient. When I send a check I can see they cashed it, but my nephew twice now (in 5 year) has not cashed the checks I’ve sent him. This last time he did thank us though. I didn’t bother this time to check to see if he lost the check.

tedibear's avatar

I like receiving them, and still send them when I am unable to thank the sender in person or on the phone. If someone has done something especially nice, and I have verbally thanked them, I will also write them a thank you note.

Baby boomer.

janbb's avatar

I don’t think they’re required any more but I am delighted when I get them!

Zaku's avatar

I think that a society which requires written thank-you notes, gives its gifts with strings attached. Strings that smell bad.

Forever_Free's avatar

I think it matter what Generation you are sending it to just as much as what generation you are in.

Yes to:
1946–1964 Boomers
1928–1945 Silent Generation

Maybe to:
1965–1980 Generation X

Don’t bother:
2013–2021 Generation Alpha
1997–2012 Generation Z
1981–1986 Millennials

jca2's avatar

If someone thanks me in person (when the gift is received) or on email or social media via pm, that’s good enough. If they send me a note, it’s great and appreciated but I don’t expect it or look for it.

canidmajor's avatar

This reminds me of the discussions around gift bags vs wrapping.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor I don’t remember that discussion, but I do love a wrapped box, even though I use gift bags quite often. It is a greener solution to use gift bags, because you can reuse a gift bag. Now that you bring it up, sending a thank you note is creating more trash, even if it is paper and recyclable. I love a hand written letter, or even typed, and I have some saved, but that is different than a thank you note in my mind.

canidmajor's avatar

@JLeslie I meant discussions in general, but I do seem to remember one from here, long ago, and someone saying that a gift bag represented thoughtlessness, or something like that. I think that the attitudes about that also generally reflect generational attitudes.

JLeslie's avatar

@canidmajor Wow, so amazing seeing so many old names on that thread that we no longer get to interact with either because they left fluther or are no longer with us mortal beings. I miss so many of them.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, it was 10.5 years ago, it’s nice to see some still here!

Inspired_2write's avatar

hand written note of thank you to the person who took the time and effort to give you a gift its the least we could do to acknowledge their thoughtful gift to brighten our day.
Boomer here.
I often wonder about younger generations who think that attaching a “like” is the same as
receiving thoughtful meaningful gesture of thanks.( its more personal rather than generic).

canidmajor's avatar

@Inspired_2write You go from one extreme to the other.
I find it to be much more personal when someone takes the time to call and thank me and maybe talk about it a bit. “Taking the time to write a note” may be charming, but smacks to me of rote, and avoidance. I would rather talk to people.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Nomore_lockout's avatar

Thank you is thank you. I see no difference in the method of delivery, hand written, email. phone call, whatever. It’s just the polite and civil thing to do. Boomer here.

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