05/28/2014 08:48 am ET Updated Jan 08, 2016

7 Reasons To Bring Back Thank You Notes

With virtually all communication shifting to email, text and maybe -- just maybe -- phone calls, the thank you note has become a rarity. (Even rarer: Actual letters, but that's another rant for another time.) You might get them from a newly married couple in acknowledgement of your gift, you might not, but we think there are many reasons to bring these back from the brink of extinction.

First, let's examine your excuses for not sending these in the first place.

"I'm too busy." Really? If you have time to Instagram your dinner, make a snarky comment on Twitter or upload yet another photo album to Facebook, you have enough time to write out "Thank you" on a card and pop it in the mail.

"I don't know what to say." Well, here you go. This template works for any situation, just fill in the appropriate blanks. You can customize it even further, of course.

Dear [person who did something nice for you],

Thank you so much for the [specific gift, kind gesture, etc.]. I really appreciate it because of [specific reason].

[Your name here]

You weren't trained to do so in the first place. The brilliant Ann Brenoff makes this point -- if you don't force a kid to write a thank you note, they won't do it. We give children a pass because, hey, they are children. If you're an adult, you don't get to use this excuse.

You're rude. It's purely anecdotal, but I've found that the same people who argue against sending a thank you note are the same people who argue against tipping. They argue against nice gestures toward others with the fervency and flourish of William F. Buckley. Who takes time from their life to argue FOR rudeness?

Now that we've sorted that out, here are 7 reasons to bring you over to the more polite side of life.

  • Stationery is incredibly gorgeous right now.
    Lily & Val
    We seem to be in a new golden age of stationery. Instead of cheesy stock thank you cards, you can now get beautifully-designed cards that are worthy of framing. (Like this set of 6 hand-lettered notes from etsy seller LilyandVal.) Don't want to bother with the mail? Head to Paperless Post. There's even a J.Crew collection.
  • You can help save our postal service.
    H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile
    The post office is running out of money -- fast. While there are many plans to expand what our post offices offer (like banking services), there's an old fashioned way to lend your support: Send mail. Start with a thank you note.
  • It's really nice to get something in the mail that's not a bill or catalog.
    I'd say that 99.9% of mail is from something or someone that wants something from us -- our time, our money, our attention spans. It would be nice to open up the door to something nice for a change.
  • Your note will actually be read.
    So many emails, so little time. When something as rare as a nice letter crosses your desk, it's an event worth paying attention to.
  • You'll save your handwriting skills from eroding further.
    George Marks/Hulton Archive
    If you're not a notebook-carrying type, there is really one instance where you can use your handwriting: Signing a receipt. That could be why most of us have a signature that looks as if we were spontaneously attacked by a cat while we were signing that receipt.
  • Taking time out to thank someone can make you feel happier.
    Vintage Images
    There is a scientific link between gratitude and happiness. The simple act of reflecting on the nice gesture of others can remind you that there are, indeed, good people in the world.
  • Every kind word you write counteracts all the annoyingly rude people out there.
    Hulton Archive/Getty Images
    While others seem driven to destroy civility, it takes a conscious effort to go against the nail clipping, over sharing, tailgating, impatient, can't-look-up-from-their-phones masses.

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