It is a fact that politeness in our culture has taken a steep nosedive. In an era when guests at baby showers are filling out their own return envelopes for thank you cards simply because it’s more convenient for the mother-to-be, we can rest assured that expressions of thanks and gratitude are going down in other areas as well. It used to be the case that interviewees sent a thank you note after an interview, and that practice is also on the decline. Even a simple thank you note for Christmas presents or thoughtful birthday gifts has gotten lost in the push to simply collect gifts.
Of course, simply sending a greeting cards like a Thank You is a good idea in the first place! But there are ways to go beyond a thank you note and really express how grateful you are for someone’s help.
Consider spending a little quality time with the person. If someone really lent you a hand, gave you a hot tip that led to your next great job or spent time working on an important project with you, why not thank them by taking them to brunch or out for a happy hour drink? Take a few minutes to relax together, express your gratitude and deepen that relationship.
Think about ways you may be able to repay the favor they have done for you. Would you frazzled best friend really like a night out with her husband and someone to watch the kids? Would your mother like a home-cooked meal and a night of reminiscing about family memories? Perhaps you could find other ways to lend your professional expertise to someone who has recently helped you as well. For example, could you offer to help your coworker’s teenager with his first real resume in exchange for all the work his mother put in to help you with a key project in the office? Find a good fit by observing the people in your life. What would they appreciate most?
Finally, don’t forget to send the initial greeting card in the first place. You can’t go beyond it until you’ve actually tackled that first step.