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Dear Caroline,

Some friends just threw me a surprise party for my 40th birthday. It was an event of a lifetime. I saw many people I hadn’t seen in ages, and everyone brought a gift.

However, now that it’s over, I find the prospect of sending three dozen “Thank You” notes a little daunting.

Please tell me that this custom is passé. Wouldn’t a text or email suffice?

…Tired before I even get started


Dear Tired,

Sorry if you thought I’d let you off hook.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and pick up your pen. Your friends invested their time and resources in buying you a gift. It’s your turn to invest a little time and thought in their feelings.

In today’s world of texts, tweets and emails, a handwritten expression of gratitude means more than ever before. These old-fashioned notes can be simple. A few short sentences will do.

While we’re on the subject, I’ll add that the best way to show gratitude with a little class is to be thankful in reasonable perpetuity. Here’s what I mean:

Aunt Edith sends you a handbag for Christmas.

You send Aunt Edith a handwritten “thank you” note.

Two months later, when you happen to be on the phone with Aunt Edith, you make a point to say, “By the way, I have gotten so many compliments on that handbag you gave me. I love it!”

At a later time, you make a point to DM Aunt Edith a photo of you enjoying your handbag — quite out of the blue.

Gratitude isn’t an obligation. It’s a lens through which the happiest people see the world. The more gratitude you show, the more blessings you’ll be able to count and the better your life will become.

Speaking of gratitude. Thank you for your letter!


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