During my lifetime I have found that long-term friendships are among the most important aspects of life. One critical part of maintaining a long lasting friendship is making sure that you properly and appropriately thank your friends or colleagues after you have spent time with them, especially if they were hosting you.
I’m sorry folks, but even in this age of 24/7 texting, a text is NOT the appropriate or meaningful way to thank someone for anything. That’s because texts are so transient and are largely short blasts of random thoughts that have no long-term meaning or impact, and they disappear into the ether just as soon as they are sent. On the other hand, a properly written, brief thank you note in letter form (or even as an e-mail) will tell your friends that you really do care and appreciate your time with them.
A friendly thank you letter (or note) does not have to be long-winded at all. Two or three short paragraphs and less than one page will do. Just make sure it is sincere and heartfelt.
I recently visited a friend in another city and we had a great time doing things together for a few days. He was at work when I left to return home, so I took the opportunity to jot down a few lines, thanking him for his efforts as a host and guide as we explored his city together. I simply left the note on his kitchen counter when I departed. Two days later when I was back home I received a very nice e-mail from him, thanking me for my note and telling me how much he enjoyed our time together and how much he valued our friendship.
That simple gesture of writing a brief thank you note to my buddy is what lasting long-term friendships are made of, folks. It shows that you care, are truly grateful, and are willing to make a bit of an effort to say thanks. For important things in life you sometimes have to make a tiny bit more effort than simply thumb-typing a text as you wait in line at the airport for your mocha latte. In my opinion, a short friendly thank you letter or note is the only way to treat your true friends with the respect they deserve after they have put themselves out for you.
Bonus tip: Hand written or hard copy notes and letters to people who have done you favours at work, at school, or in any other social interaction are always appreciated. It’s true what they say: people may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel.