The Few Occasions You Can Text a Thank You

Thank you text etiquette

Recently I sent a thank you text and received one. It seemed perfectly appropriate to me in these particular instances — but it isn’t always.

Here are the instances where texting a thank you works:

  • When a texted thank you would honestly be more appreciated. The thank you and photos above comes from my uncle. I like it so much better than a handwritten note because his photos enabled me to see him enjoy the gift. If you text a thank you, go to the trouble to include a photo of the gift in use.
  • The gift is small, and the sender is close to you and really, truly doesn’t expect a handwritten note. For example, my mother sends me books all the time. I take a photo when they arrive and text her a thank you. However, if someone were to send me a book who doesn’t normally, I’d write them a proper thank you note, not a text.
  • As a stopgap. I got married last year, and there were times that my husband and I would arrive home to boxes and boxes of gifts. Sometimes we couldn’t get to the thank yous as swiftly as we liked. So we’d send a text or email as a stopgap. In one instance, I sent an aunt a photo of a braised chicken in the pot she gifted us and mentioned that a written thank you was to come. You don’t want your recipient to think a text is the only thank you they’re going to get if a handwritten one will be coming their way.

Here’s when it’s not OK to text a thank you:

  • If the gift comes from someone who doesn’t normally send you gifts. It’s a very special person who sends you a gift when there’s no obligation felt at all. It warrants an actual handwritten thank you — or at the very least, a full-on email.
  • If the gift was very expensive. The least you can do is pay for some stationery and a stamp and devote a little time to tell them how much you appreciated the gift.
  • When gifts are received during major life events. It doesn’t matter if the gift is tiny and from someone who doesn’t expect a thank you. If it’s sent in celebration of your graduation/wedding/shower, everyone gets a written thank you.
  • If it’s sent on behalf of a child with their knowledge. Texting thank yous is a slippery slope, and I’d avoid giving your little one the impression that it’s the norm. Get children comfortable with handwritten thank yous first. Once they get older, you can introduce texting thank yous as an occasional exception.

If you have rules for yourself about texting thank yous, by all means, share them!

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