THE BLOG
03/18/2013 08:49 pm ET Updated May 18, 2013

Thank-You Notes: Don't Be a Social Disgrace

One of my favorite quotes is from a literary critic named Will Cuppy, who said, "Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential." Thank-you notes show that you are respectful, they make you look good, and they are absolutely necessary! If we simply ask ourselves why anyone should send a thank-you note, we come up with many important reasons. Thank-you notes acknowledge gifts received and express gratitude for lunch or dinner or special favors.

When you think of all the time and effort that go into a giving a gift or serving a meal, there should be no hesitation in writing a note. Furthermore, writing a thank-you note takes only a few minutes, so the excuse of having no time to write one is unacceptable. Forty-eight hours is a good rule of thumb for the window for sending a note, so the occasion for sending one is still fresh in the mind.

Corinne Treadaway, a past president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at the University of the Pacific, knows the importance of saying thanks. She writes a lifestyle blog at www.boardwalksandboulevards.com, and her feelings about thank-you notes are clear."Have you ever heard the expression 'It's all about who you know'? Well, thank-you notes build relationships. Bottom line, if someone takes the time to go out of their way for you, buy, or send you something, they deserve a card to know it was received and appreciated."

Once you get in the habit, writing notes will become second nature, like brushing your hair and flossing your teeth. And you wouldn't dare spend a day without doing both! No one is more addicted to technology than I am, but I wouldn't dream of hitting Send to say thank-you without also sending a note.

We live in a world of short cuts, so it's easy to delete important social graces such as a handwritten note! But when I sort through my mail, the first thing I gravitate to is anything handwritten.

Note-Writing Tips

When writing a thank-you note, always mention something about the gift or event so the giver will feel special, and remember the 3B's: be brief, be organized, and be neat! The golden rule for thank-you notes is that it's never too late to send one, even well past the forty-eight-hour mark. Just be sure and put pen to paper versus fingertip to keyboard.

Business Thank-You Notes

It's important not to confuse social and business stationery. If you are writing to say thanks for a business lunch, a note card with your company logo will suffice. If, however, the lunch or dinner is a social event, use your personal stationery.

Social stationery is the perfect gift for men, as many men would never think of making that purchase on their own. For my husband's fiftieth birthday, I hosted a party for him and gave him personalized stationery (he's a golfer, so I designed a card in Augusta green with a golfer logo), a Mont Blanc pen, and stamps. That way I could ensure he would personally thank all his guests, and I could sleep at night.

When it comes to saying thanks, don't be at a loss for words. Note cards make a lasting impression.

Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, an on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.

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