Being the age that I am I get a lot of invitations to weddings and baby showers. I was thinking about etiquette recently regarding topics like registries, the proper throwing of showers, & RSVPs.
Something that really makes me upset, is the fact that brides have to include a pre-printed RSVP card with a stamp! Seriously people? We can even spring for a stamp anymore? What happened to the days when people had lovely penmanship and took five minutes to send best wishes to the bride and have the courtesy of letting her know whether they will be attending for the free food and booze. Really? We can’t write a note for free booze? What is this world coming to?
Many of you may not know that I was homeschooled. Part of my education, actually a large part, was home economics. I was a homemaker in training. We watched Martha Stewart, Katie Brown, and read Emily Post. Not only did I learn to sew, cook and take care of a home, but I learned how to be gracious and hospitable. I learned some niceties that it seems girls these days have no interest in. I learned southern charm. When someone comes over, offer them a glass of iced tea. If a gentleman opens a door say thank you and walk through it. When a person wants to bless you, don’t refuse, say thank you and allow them the opportunity to be charming too!
One thing my mother taught me was the art of thank you notes. My sister has perfected this skill. She makes the most lovely hand made and hand written notes, and you can bet on receiving one after every birthday, holiday, or event. I can’t remember the last time I received a store bought card from her.
While I’m not as into card making as she is, I am definitely into card writing. I have a serious note card collection and even used a Vista Groupon to have personalized note cards made that say “From the Desk of Noelle Talley…” I feel so victorian when I pull them out. I’ve always wanted my own writing desk with lovely pens and gorgeous cards! I’m a third of the way there.
N for Natural: Write as though you’re speaking to the recipient. What would you say to them if they were sitting across the table from you?
O for Open: Before you write, open your heart and mind to inner guidance. You’ll be more receptive to what you should say and how to say it.
T for Tell: Tell them why you’re writing near the beginning of your note. If it’s a sympathy note, you can say words are totally inadequate but you wanted to reach out to them. In a thank you note, tell them how much you appreciate their gift or what they did for you. In a congratulations note, tell them how pleased and proud you were to learn of their accomplishment.
E for Empathize: Put yourself in their situation as best you can, and in your mind’s eye, visualize them reading your note and think what your desired outcome is. When you identify this, the words will come more easily.
S for Share, as in a memory or example: Be as specific as you can. If you’re writing a sympathy note, share a memory of the deceased or something you admired about them. If you can’t imagine what they’re going through, just say that, and don’t try to pretend that you can:
If you’re writing a thank you note, be very specific about what you received and how you are using it or enjoying it.
Personal notes can be powerful connection tools. This simple way of making someone’s life brighter is a privilege, not an obligation. You know the pleasure of finding a personal note in your mailbox. Take time today to write someone!