Pen to Pad – This is a non-negotiable. When someone is thoughtful enough to present you with a gift, an old-fashioned handwritten thank you note is required. Not a text message. Never a social media shoutout. A stamped note via snail mail is still considered the most sincere form of gratitude. In the case of graduations, weddings and babies, stationery should always be on hand, so that you can quickly thank the giver.
Type Away – Though not as warm, an email expressing thanks is appropriate following an invitation using the same method. Evite, Paperless Post, and others have opened up the door to an inexpensive and casual way of spreading the word about upcoming events. If your dinner party invitation comes via email, and your relationship with the host is such, an emailed thank you may be appropriate.
Rule of Thumbs – On occasions such as being invited by a close friend to lunch, a quick text message of gratitude afterwards is sufficient. There’s a debate when it comes to dating, but my advice is that a quick thank you text, once you’re home, is appropriate here. Surely, you will have thanked them in person, but this gesture keeps the lines of communication open.
Please note: A late thank you is always better than none at all. Also, handwritten thank you notes through the post will always make the biggest impact on their recipient. The best way to ensure your note is sent promptly is to have all the tools needed (stationery, stamps, etc.) at the ready. In any case, it’s important to know your audience and cater to their expected level of gratitude. After all, the basic rule of etiquette is to make certain the other person feels comfortable!
This post is also featured at The Southern Coterie where I offer a monthly post on modern manners as a member of The C-Team.