Top 10 Don'ts
Etiquette and Thank You Notes

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Top 10 Thank You Note Don'ts

Just as important as knowing your thank you note DO's is knowing your thank you note DON'Ts.

You already know these... right?

Just in case, browse this list to make sure you're not committing one of these thank you note etiquette errors.

Top 10 DON'Ts:

1.  Don't include fewer than three sentences in any note.

Here's an example of a bare-bones thank you note with 3 sentences:

"Thank you for the flowers.  They really brighten the room.  It was so thoughtful of you to think of me on my birthday."

Here's an adorable exception: a 2-sentence note that made my husband smile:

2.  Don't use pre-printed or fill-in-the-blank thank you cards.

etiquette and thank you notes

Fill-in-the blank cards are ok for children but definitely not for adults.  That's scarcely better than not sending a note at all.

3.  Don't talk about yourself.

Remember this is about the gift and their thoughtfulness, not your trip to the Bahamas and your kids' latest accomplishments. 

4.  Don't ask your guests to address their own thank you note envelopes.

At bridal or baby showers, sometimes the guests are asked to write their addresses on thank you notes in an effort to give the guest of honor a break from that chore. 

I used to think that was tacky.  However, since these days many guests were invited via email, the host may not have a physical address, so asking for one at the shower seems reasonable.  

5.  Don't write anything negative.

Especially when writing a farewell note to one's company, even as joke, never be negative.  Burnt bridges, you know. 

6.  Don't wait a year.

Mail thank you notes for wedding gifts as soon as possible.  If you don't want to do it now, imagine how much less you'll want to do it 11 months from now.

7.  Don't talk about money.

When thanking someone for money, don't name the amount. Say "Thank you for the generous gift."

Exception: Situations such as charitable donations where the exact amount is needed for business purposes.

8.  Don't print out thank you notes.

Unless your handwriting is absolutely illegible, do not print out thank you notes on your computer. Handwrite them whenever possible. There's something about handwriting that conveys warmth and authenticity.  (Exception: Email is becoming more acceptable for job interviews due to their speed, and email is also ok for more casual thank-yous.)

9.  Don't assume it's too late.

Some people wait so long to send a note, they reach a point where they feel it's too late.  Don't!  It's never too late to say thank you.  Open with something like, "Remember that [blank] you got me 4 months ago?  Well I am still loving it!"

10.  Don't be confuse "professional" with "generic".

When writing your job interview thank you notes, use this chance to make an impression wisely by adding a bit of (professional) personality.

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