I'm reminded of the elegant power of a snail-mailed "thank you."
I'm very lucky to have wonderful friends. And, probably like you, I sometimes take them for granted. In the past month or so, Randy and I have been super busy with work projects, dealing with one of our dogs in chemotherapy, household repair issues and moving my mom from an independent apartment into assisted care.
During all of this turmoil, several friends – and even the "Visiting Angel" we hired to look in on my mother as she was making the transition – made wonderful gestures of support. Minty hemmed new curtains for mom's room. Diane worked her carpentry magic on a computer desk that needed to be re-sized for the tiny space. Maryellen fixed my broken tooth in a pinch. (Yes, she is a dentist!) The caretaker wrote us a note re-assuring us that we had made the right decision.
When the dust settled, I took some time to write each of them a little note expressing my thanks. They were the old-fashioned kind, with ink and paper and a stamp. I can't describe how moved I was by several of their reactions. They seemed surprised and, well, grateful. We had reconnected, remembered why we value our friendships so much.
When I give lectures at universities and luncheons, I often caution that we professional communicators frequently fall into the trap of "writing it down, printing it up and passing it out," failing to connect individually and meaningfully with members of our target audiences by relying on mass-mailings, mass advertising, mass E-mailings and such.
For my part, I'm going to invest in a big box of thank-you cards and a shiny new pen.