Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are Thank You Notes and RSVPs a Thing of the Past?

If you're not into etiquette, you can just skip this post. It's going to be a bit of a rant regarding this topic. Don't say I didn't warn you. (And furthermore, if you're a close friend, family member or neighbor this post has nothing to do with you. I love you. You're wonderful.)

I have found in recent years, with the rise of things like e-vites, e-cards, and the ever famous e-mail, that we as a culture have become so accustomed to communicating via the world wide web that we've forgotten what it means to pick up the phone to respond to an invitation, write a thank you note, or even send a card through "snail mail." Now, I often utilize the aforementioned methods, so I'm not saying they are bad, I'm just saying that the good old fashioned methods of communication are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Example: Almost two years ago, I sang in a wedding as a gift for somebody, but I also gave them a separate wedding gift that they could open as well. I never received a thank you. Over a year ago, we sent a baby gift to good friends who'd just had their first baby. It went quite a distance, and over time I began to wonder if they'd gotten it. It was such a cute gift, I thought sure I'd hear something. Nothing. A year later my husband called about a different matter but happened to ask, "hey...did you ever get our gift?" to which the recipient replied, "uh yeah, thanks!" I mean, there's such a thing as a grace period of a few months, especially if you're new parents, but come on. A year or two??? How hard is it to write out a thank you card and throw it in the mail???

Now, let me just say that I don't need a thank you card everytime I do something nice for somebody. I really don't. But if I've gone to the effort to get a gift, wrap a gift, and mail a gift, it would at least be nice to know that they received it...or even just a phone call to say "thanks!"

Cody's teacher wrote us the most beautiful thank you note for the gift we gave her for Christmas. We made a donation to Samaritan's Purse in her name that benefits children in impoverished countries. A gift as small as $15 can educate one child for a year! Well, she was so touched by the gesture, and she shared from her heart what it meant to her in the note. Her response to the gift meant so much to us as a family. Jerry read the note to us over dinner and we all said, "wow." As the giver, it made me want to go out and do that for ten more people!

And then there's the matter of RSVPs. Actually, I'm not even going to go there. You've probably already experienced this for yourselves. I'll just simply say this: If I send out an invitation, it's almost guaranteed that I'm going to have to pick up the phone and call most of the guests because they failed to reply.

I hope that I am the kind of mom that encourages gratitude in my kids. I hope, when they are out on their own, that they will take the initiative and send along a note of thanks when somebody blesses them in some way. Ultimately, we can thank the Lord for those that have blessed us...but it sure is nice to be told personally that what you did and what you gave was appreciated.

And that wraps up this rant for the day. If you got to the end, thanks for sticking with me! And if you've experienced this for yourselves, please share in the comments. I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the matter. Just call this Etiquette Thursday!


Adventures In Babywearing said...

I still love writing letters and cards and pretty much ALWAYS send thank yous- even for Christmas presents and always for b-day presents, and unless something crazy comes up they are sent promptly. Occasionally I'll thank someone by email if it seems appropriate. But I love getting mail and so I enjoy blessing others (as they should be) with thanks!


Just T said...

I'm 100% with you on this one, Happi. I think in general, today the world lack's simple courtesy and manners.

I still LOVE to receive birthday cards, Christmas cards etc in the post. And without thinking will ALWAYS either call, email or text message the person who sent me the card to say a simple "thank you". (actually just received a card yesterday)

As for RSVP .. wow, that is a pet dislike of mine. Especially now my kids are into bday parties. It's common courtesy for the party planner, so they know who to expect etc.

Kari Lynn said...

I was going to write this huge rant about thank you cards and then I got one in the mail today, how nice. It was from a friend that never sends cards thanking me for my friendship and for sending him things in the mail.
I am on the wagon with RSVP's. Hello people, I'm trying to make sure we have enough food for you and make sure your kid gets a treat bag!

Sheryl said...

Guilty. Totally guilty. I'm TERRIBLE at writing thank you's. I always try to thank the person in person because the chances of me going to the store, getting a card, sitting down and writing out the card, then finding the address and a stamp and put it in the mail box- slim to none. Even though I REALLY appreciate the gifts. With the last tea we had I thanked people in a blog post. Mostly because some of them I only knew via internet. Does that count? When we moved to a new home 1 1/2 yr. after we got married I found a box with a ton of thank you's from our wedding that never got sent out. I have gotten much better since we've moved out of state from family and loved ones.

I do always rsvp. I know that people are trying to make their plans based on who's coming.

mom on a mission said...

I honestly love to send hand written cards of encouragement/appreciation. I think is a majorly lost art! It shows love and thoughtfulness (in my opinion) on the behalf of the sender. I am so with you on this one! Well said, my friend.

Glass Half Full said...

Isn't it true that email help this problem more? I still like receiving an actually handwritten note from time to time!