Friday, April 1, 2011

IS IT EVERY TOO LATE FOR A 'THANK-YOU' :: A Reader Asks

Dear Lily,
     A friend of mine hosted my family this summer at her beautiful summer home just north of the city where we live. Our original plans were for a two week stay but due to conflicting work schedules and a last minute project of hers that couldn’t wait for her return, we could only coordinate one week where both families could be together. Being the good friend that she is, she was kind enough to let us go up to her cottage a week before her family arrived so that we could enjoy the full two weeks at our leisure. Our families had a wonderful time together but recently, I ran into a mutual friend of ours that mentioned my friend who hosted us wasn’t sure we enjoyed ourselves with them and was a little concerned because she hadn’t heard from me since our stay. The rest of the summer has gone by so quickly that I really haven’t had a chance to call her to thank her for everything but at this point, I almost feel like a phone call wouldn’t be enough, especially since I would really like for us to be invited back next summer. Have I missed the boat on this one? Is it just too late? Also, I was wondering if I wanted to do more than an ‘’over the phone’’ thank you, what would be appropriate at this point?

Truly,
Jenny



Dear Jenny,
     I am a firm believer that it is never too late for a genuine thank you, regardless of how much time has passed. You should not let this lapse deter you from what is important which is letting your friend know how much you appreciated her hospitality and enjoyed the time spent with her family.

Keeping that in mind, it is always a good idea to express your gratitude when the sentiment is still fresh, making it easier to draw on notable points from the actual event, which should be touched upon in your note. An appropriate timeline to express your appreciation is generally within two weeks of the event. While some like to jot down a note the day after an event (which is an easy way to keep you from forgetting), many choose to wait a few days allowing them to gather their thoughts. Either is equally acceptable within the confines of etiquette and as you get into your own pattern, you will come to realize which method is best for you.

The choice between a spoken or written thank you is usually a personal one, and I always suggest you do what will make it easier for you to remember your task at hand. Traditionally, a thank you letter or note is considered more appropriate and quite honestly, who doesn’t like receiving something special through the post! A note allows for a little more eloquence and heart-felt appreciation, something that many of us are not overly comfortable expressing vocally.

If you would like to take your ‘thank you’ one step further, why not send a little something extra along with your letter or note. Traditionally, when someone has hosted you for an extended stay in their home in the city or country, it is quite acceptable to send along a gift to accompany your thank you note. A basket of gourmet coffee beans and biscotti for the coffee aficionado, a set of personalized pillow cases for the monogram lover, household stationery for the paper connoisseur or something as simple and easy as photo book of images taken during your stay would be a very thoughtful touch and much appreciated by any host, especially one who is a little unsure of her guests feelings towards the event, like your friend is said to be about your stay with her.




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