Handwritten notes vs. emails

Published 12:01 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

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Dear Aunty Pam,


I’m hoping you can help me because I’m not sure what to do and feel pretty used!

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My lifelong friend’s daughter got married over a year ago and of course, I was thrilled for everyone involved, went to the wedding, and bought the bride quite an extravagant gift. I’m not saying that to brag, I’m just stating a fact. Well, it’s been over a year and I have yet to receive a thank you note. I know the couple is busy moving into their new house, but they weren’t doing that months ago. They were given a lavish wedding, a spectacular honeymoon, and…crickets.


I finally approached my friend and tactfully asked if her daughter indeed received my gift and she said, ‘Oh, yes, she loved it.’ When I said I hadn’t heard from her, my friend said, “You didn’t get her email? Maybe you should check your spam folder.”


I was really taken aback and said, “She’s sending emails instead of thank you notes?” I guess I sounded pretty shocked because my friend said, “It’s the 21st century and it’s just the way it is. Nobody sends notes anymore.” I told her that simply wasn’t true, that I had been to three weddings in the last three years and, besides her daughter, EVERY bride sent a lovely, personal card.


My friend got pretty defensive and said, ‘Well, you can’t expect everyone to act the same nowadays,’ and I said, ‘When it comes to weddings, I do, especially after I went to the trouble to stand in line in order to get the gift, not to mention that it wasn’t exactly cheap, and also had it beautifully wrapped. It seems very little to expect a sincere, handwritten thank you in return.’


Now my friend is giving me the cold shoulder and even said that if she had known what a big deal I was going to make about this, she should have thought twice about asking me to the wedding. I’m so angry that I don’t even know if I want to continue our friendship which would be sad as we’ve been best friends for 40 years.


Was I wrong?





Dear Annoyed,


Well done, YOU. Not only were you within your rights, but Aunty Pam feels you were spot-on. Sending an email instead of a handwritten note to thank guests for their wedding gifts is very poor form indeed, especially as this bride sounds as though she had her dream day with a ‘lavish wedding’ and ‘spectacular honeymoon.’ Perhaps that’s part of the problem: that she has been given far more than she’s ever been taught in basic etiquette.


I’m also thinking your friend might be slightly embarrassed and chose to brush the whole thing off in order to save face. Another disappointing response. However, it would be a sad thing to lose a BFF of 40 years: think very hard about that. You’ve said your peace, were able to vent your dismay, and sadly, your friend chose to defend her daughter instead of doing the right thing. But maybe give her some time. It’s never a good idea to make a rash decision where relationships are concerned. Besides, it’s Beaujolais season! Wait all this mess out and focus on finding the perfect little picnic wine instead.


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam