Etiquette Tip: How Late is Too Late?

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thank-you-note

“I am about six months late in writing a thank you note.  Is that too late?  Should I just forget it?”

That was an excellent question from a college student in one of my etiquette dining tutorials a few weeks ago. Many etiquette books say we have a year to write thank you notes.  I say, “Write that note and write it as soon as possible.”  Is it embarrassingly late?  Write it anyway.  Sometimes it will be a pleasant surprise to the person who has long given up on you.

We all have those thank yous we should have written.  Make today your day.  While it’s in your head, get out a note card or stationery and fire it off.  If you don’t have fold over note cards, get some.  Any corner drug store sells them. Art museum shops have really good ones. If you are a manager or aspire to be one, you should have a box of note cards at your desk.

What do you write thank you notes for?  Gifts received, dinner at someone’s home, any meal or entertainment paid for by someone else, help on a project, an act of kindness, a job well done, mentoring, a class well taught, recommendations written, a client referral, an informational interview, or just to say how much you appreciate someone.

“Can’t I just text or email it and be done with it?” ask the digitally immersed.  You could, but the written note lingers longer and means more.  It’s not too late.  Write that note.

Thanks to the Culture and Manners Institute for the tips!

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