We’ve forgotten some of the gentler social niceties in our quick, digital world. Before there was Facebook, we actually told people Happy Birthday to their faces, or we sent them a card.

Similarly, with friends who invite us for dinner, it used to be that such an invitation called for a hand-written thank you note. That was the appropriate appreciation for such kindness.

Of all the things that have been rendered to the past by our obsession for instant communication and instant gratification, the one that I miss the most is the hand-written thank you note.

I believe we should still send hand-written notes of appreciation. Here are my reasons:

Stationary

First of all, who doesn’t love pretty stationary? A box of notecards with a design that speaks to me, sitting on my desk or in a drawer compels me to share my thoughts with those I love.

Penmanship

I fear penmanship is a dying art. I learned to write script in the first grade, with careful loops and just the right slant. I like slowing down enough to make my writing look both beautiful and legible. Penmanship adds a unique and creative accent to your notes. And writing by hand accesses a different part of the brain, and therefore a different part of your creative self.

Thoughtfulness

Hand-writing a thank you note requires thoughtfulness. You need to ponder how you want to say “thank you.” Part of writing a thank you note is telling your hostess what a good job she did, and how much you enjoy her company. It’s an opportunity to express grateful praise. What a nice thing to be on the receiving end of a note like that!

Stand Out in A Sea of Emails

Many years ago in the single days of my youthful adulthood, I used to write thank you notes if I went on a job interview. A “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me,” sort of thing. That little touch, got me noticed more than once.

The Feel-Good Factor

It feels good to do something nice for someone else. Sending a note that will be found among the bills and the advertisements in the mailbox brings a smile to the face of the recipient and feels awfully good inside of myself.

Preserving Tradition

My mother taught me to write thank you notes to the little girls who invited me to their birthday parties, to the family that sent Christmas gifts, to the teacher who had worked with me during the year. I have continued to write thank you notes well into my adulthood. They are a cherished part of a kindness practice. And I will always adore any opportunity to use my nice stationary.

What about you? Do you hand write thank you notes or do you email people to say thank you? What about sending ecards? Im curious about your preferences and your reasons. Please share in the comments.

Stephanie RaffelockStephanie Raffelock is a novelist and a blogger. In her Sixty and Me column, she’s going to explore how you make the art of writing work for you. Her debut novel is represented by Dystel Goderich Literary Management in New York. You can find Stephanie at StephanieRaffelock.com or Tweet her @Sraffelock.

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