I woke up early this morning to have breakfast downtown with my friend and his girlfriend, who I haven’t seen since I can’t even remember. I catch up with this friend at least once a month, but I don’t often see his girlfriend because our schedules are so different. She’s been working on a nonprofit project in her spare time, and they’re doing a fundraiser to raise money to help young children stay fit and active, so I donated money to it. I’ve donated money a few times to a number of causes, but this was the first time I donated and someone actually bought and wrote me a thank you card for donating. She handed me this card, and I said, what’s this? I didn’t do anything. And she says, no, you did! Thanks so much for donating. She wrote some really kind things in the note that clearly showed she wrote this especially for me, so this wasn’t some canned response she gave to anyone who donated. I was really caught off guard.
Gratitude is one of those things that seems to be forgotten in today’s digital age. People rarely avidly express gratitude past a casual “thanks,” and a hand-written thank you note, even after formalities such as weddings or funerals, seems uncommon now. I love and appreciate these things, though, and try to make sure I do these things. Chris’s grandmother recently expressed to Chris’s brother that she had attended a wedding and of course gave a gift, but months after the wedding, she’d never received a thank-you note, and she was really disappointed and turned off. Maybe my etiquette expectations around gift giving and showing gratitude are from another era.