Thank-You Notes: Should you ask for one?

by epi on August 6, 2011

Q: I sent an expensive baby gift to a friend months ago, and I haven’t heard from her.  Do I call her on it?

A: It’s perfectly fine to call her and ask about it.  A graceful exit- “I know you’re busy; please don’t write me a note.  I’m just glad you’ve received the gift and are using it!”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen August 6, 2011 at 6:33 am

This is a tricky one, I think. I gave my sister-in-law a baby carrier for her baby shower, though I wasn’t able to attend. I didn’t receive a thank you note, but did hear from my mother (who delivered the gift) how pleased she was with it. My family hails from Mexico, and as far as I know, we do not usually send thank you notes (though I may be wrong, and please correct me if I am). To be honest, I used to think thank you notes were a thing of the far, far past or something exclusive to old biddies until I became interested in formal etiquette. That’s why I subscribed to this site, I’m fairly new to the traditional American etiquette scene despite having lived here my entire life. Perhaps there’s something cultural at play?

Also, now that I think about it, I would be interested in reading a book about a foreigner educating themselves on American culture/etiquette. Anyone have suggestions?

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Just Laura August 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Thank you notes have little to do with formal etiquette. In many cases, they are just common sense. My friends and family live all over the continent, and when I send them a package, I wait for the ‘thank you’ to make certain it arrived safely. Once my grandmother mailed me a check, and when she didn’t receive the thank you, she grew concerned and called. It turns out that it was actually lost in the mail (didn’t know that even happened anymore) and reached me a full two months later. Knowing this, she was watching her bank to make certain no one else managed to cash it in the interim.
Unfortunately I don’t have a suggestion for a book, but I assure you that the Thank You note is alive and well.

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Diver Down August 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

My 17 year-old son received an invitation from a rather close female schoolmate for a sweet sixteen party. The invitation states, “Dress to impress – and please wear black”. I am unsure whether this implies a formal (tux required?) or semi-formal setting for this function which will be held at a very nice hotel. To add to this confusion, my son’s friend has a twin sister with whom he is not nearly as familiar. The printed invitation indicates this party is being given for both sisters and my son is unsure if a gift will be required for both or just the one he believes sent him the invitation. Any advice will be appreciated.

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Alicia August 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

Well honestly this is not a real dress code this is something they are making up. I would think for teenagers this would not mean renting tux but black pants and a black shirt. I would in his case either give token to the sister he is not close to and a good gift to the sister he is close to or give the sister he is close to a birthday gift not at the party and give both cards at the party.

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