We talk a lot about building a habit of writing a thoughtful note on a regular basis, and the classic thank you greeting card is perhaps the easiest way to make sure that habit sticks. Reach for a thank you card every time you’re invited over for a dinner party, get a little help from a co-worker who goes above and beyond, or just want to thank someone for being there for you when you need them. So what do you write in a thank you card? A recent study showed that greeting card writers over-estimate how awkward their words will be and recipients don’t really notice the specific words anyways. They react to the sentiment expressed, not to your specific words. There’s nothing wrong with writing someone a simple note like “I appreciate you” inside a thank you card.
Here are a few simple ways to express gratitude to get you started:
- I appreciate you
- Thanks for being you
- Thanks for the dinner invite. Everything was delicious!
- You made my day
- Thanks for the gift. I think of you every time I see it.
- You’re the best
Here are a few ways to think through what you want to say to express your thanks:
- Be specific: What exactly did the person give you, say to you, or do for you that was so helpful? “I really appreciate the flowers you brought to work for me” is better than “thanks for the gift.”
- Use descriptive, vivid words to add some color to the greeting. A few ideas: thoughtful, gorgeous, delicious, meaningful, fabulous.
- When are you sending your thank you note? It’s always best to write the note while the experience is fresh in your mind, but late is as they say better than never. In the case of a wedding, graduation or other major life event, it’s perfectly normal to send your many thank you notes a few months later. Three months is a good rule of thumb.
- How can you describe your recipient to make them feel valued? Were they a gracious host, a thoughtful friend, a caring sibling? Do you value their talent, creativity, or expertise? Be specific and let them know you appreciate them for their uniqueness. This can really help if you’re writing dozens of notes after one of those big life events. Your thank you notes can start to get really boring and formulaic when you have a pile of them to send, so take a moment to think about each recipient and say something that speaks just to them.
- Are you saying thanks for money? Don’t be bashful: tell them what you’re planning to do with it! Was it a big help? “Thanks for the help with the down payment on our new home. We’re so excited we were able to buy in this neighborhood and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without your help.” Or perhaps a smaller amount like a simple $20 for your birthday: “Thanks for the cash; I had the best time going to a movie with my girlfriend last weekend and I thought of you.” You want them to know that you did something that made you think of them and that you appreciate the gesture.
- How do you want to close the greeting? “Love” is always an easy one, but there are plenty of others you can consider depending on the relationship: warmly, with gratitude, thanks again, see you soon, missing you all work well for a variety of relationships.