June 21st 2013 | Comments

How to say “thank you” like a gentleman

A gentlewoman friend of ours recently attended a business function in which she shared a lunch table with a current and very well known Knight of the Realm.

The following day, she received a note from the good Sir Knight, thanking her for the pleasure of her company, a move that is distressingly rare in today’s society where good manners are often forgotten.

Like many things, the “Thank You” letter has all but disappeared, and to receive one these days is a colossal surprise, reminding us of days gone by and manners that have all but disappeared.

It is also an embarrassment to gentlemen and gentlewomen of Great Britain: While this custom has fallen out of use in our country, it is still the height of good etiquette amongst our colonial cousins in Australia.

You read that correctly. Not only are the Australians deliberately sending out dreadful cricket teams to help the Old Country re-assert its superiority over the colonies, they are teaching us how to conduct ourselves properly.

In Australia, not only is it the done thing to bring a gift to a dinner party or a gathering at somebody’s home, but it is also expected that you should write after the event to thank for their hospitality. Presumably, such letters will also contain a full and frank admission of any crimes committed on the premises, but we are not entirely clear on the concept.

Sadly, back on these shores, any enthusiasm for the “Thank You” letter is hammered out of young gentlemen and gentlewomen at an early age.

The weeks between Christmas and New Year of my youth was filled with increasingly angry parental directions to write letters to various aunts, uncles and family friends for the presents I was playing with and the chocolate I had scoffed. I grew to despise the writing pad, and this systematic avoidance of the forthcoming chore was made all the worse by forgetting which relative had given what.

how to say thank you

If only, I dreamed, there was some way that I could just write one letter, press a button and they’d all get thanked at the same time. Such a system, I fear, remains as impossible as flying cars and monkey butlers.

In this new age of good manners, now is the time to thank people properly. Forget emailing and texting. Break out a blank greetings card, scribble a few lines and post it in an actual post box. Preferably with a stamp.

If you’re thanking your boss, or a business contact, your stock has just risen tremendously. If it is a family or friend, they will see you in a whole new light. You are – young learner – another step down the road to gentlemanhood.

Saying “Thank You” – It’s the new “Not saying Thank You