“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.” -- G.B. Stern

If it is true that you should try to get even only with those who have helped you, then use a thank-you note to get even with everyone who does something nice for you, including that relative stranger or remote acquaintance. A thank-you note elegantly expresses your appreciation, and you don’t have to be a writing whiz to compose it well. So go ahead; send a gracious thank-you note for that interview, order, lunch, favor or gift. Regardless of how well you know the kind person, you will both enjoy a warm surge of goodwill afterward.

Hand-write your thank-you message on any note card or stationery that you may have; the simpler, the better. Alternatively, purchase a thank-you card from a local retailer or on-line, preferably one that is blank on the inside so the entire message will come from you.

Write the date and then scribble your salutation. If you do not know the person well enough to be on a first-name basis with her, then write, “Dear Mrs. Murphy.” Use a comma after the salutation.

Open with the words, “Thank you for,” and then complete the sentence with the name of the item or description of the kind gesture you received. You may then add another short statement that explains how your acquaintance’s generosity has made a difference. For example, “Thank you for the game tickets. They were a triple treat! I watched my favorite team win on my birthday, and experienced our wonderful new arena for the first time.”

Express your appreciation again for your recipient’s kindness and thoughtfulness. You may add that you hope you will see each other again soon.

Close with “Best wishes,” “Kind regards” or “Gratefully." Then sign your full name.


  • Business thank-you notes may be typed instead of handwritten. In any event, keep the letter short and opt for a professional rather than casual tone.

    It’s never too late to say thank you, but do try to express your thanks sooner rather than later.


  • Don’t include a request in your thank-you note.

    Avoid sending thank-you notes via e-mail, unless time is of the essence or the gift was a matter of routine and distributed to many others.