Thanx 4 the Memories
By Thomas P. Farley, What Manners Most
Okay, it’s quiz time. You done a giant favor for a friend and you’ve just received his only expression of thanks-via text message. What do you think? Would any of the texts below satisfy you as adequate for the scenarios described?
a) We had a great week at your vacation house. You rock!
b) Thanks 4 helping with my move. : ) I never expected it to take all day!!
c) It meant the world that you flew in for my grammy’s funeral. Thanx again!
d) Hope Fido didn’t give you 2 much trouble while we were away. Neighbors like you are hard to find! LOL.
Wouldn’t you feel you deserved more than a fifty-nine-character missive after spending your Saturday helping a friend move? Or that letting cousins stay rent-free at your beachfront home on Maui merited more than an electronic Aloha? Let’s just put it this way….if I ever received a message like one of these and the sender figured his thank-you duties had been satisfied, I’d tell him not to come crying to me the next time he was in need of a place to stay in Hawaii/moving into a fifth-floor walk-up/saying goodbye to a loved one/seeking someone to mind his Great Dane.
There’s no contesting the fact that texting is convenient. And it’s become a lot quicker, too, as more of us buy phones with QWERTY or touch-screen keyboards, eliminating the need for arcane measures such as hitting the “7″ key four times to get an “s.” But just because texting is easy-and yes, let’s admit it, fun-does not make it an acceptable substitute for real thank-you’s. Texts are great for communicating a burst of detail. As a means for expressing heartfelt, long-term gratitude, however, they fall painfully short.
But before we throw texted thanks out with the bathwater, it should be noted that texting can have a place in the realm of thanksgiving. In the moment, a friendly text can provide a thoughtful touch. Here are some alternate ways that text-messaging could have been used in the situations described earlier:
a) We just arrived. Your place is gorgeous! We’ll give you a call tomorrow once we’re settled in.
b) Ordering pizza for my amazing moving crew. Do you like pepperoni?
c) I see you’ve just landed. Meet you at baggage claim!
d) What would I do without u? Don’t hesitate to call if Fido gives you any trouble.
In each case, the message is clear: The largesse is appreciated and acknowledged. But it can’t end there. After the fact, the text should be followed up with a hand-written note and, where appropriate, a thank-you gift. Follow these guidelines and your friends will happily do other favors for you down the road. And when they do, don’t forget to thank me, too. In which case a text message will be just fine.
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