When Should I Send a Handwritten Note, As Opposed to an Email or Text?

by Jenna Homen

While some life occasions call for a quick text or email to follow-up, there are other moments that deserve a handwritten note—but in this day and age, how do you choose?

We tapped on our friends over at Mr. Boddington’s for some tips from their book Mr. Boddington’s EtiquetteRead on for some useful (with a touch of cheeky) advice on how to navigate modern correspondence!

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Although it’s tempting to send a note electronically, a handwritten note will always carry more significance and make its recipient feel honored.

The following instances call for old-fashioned pen and paper:

1) Condolence or Sympathy Notes

2) Congratulatory Notes

For happy grads, new mummies and daddies, ladies with diamonds on their fingers, and individuals celebrating other happy occasions.

3) Notes or Letters to Grandparents or Other Elders

They may not be familiar with electronic communication (impeccable penmanship, please!).

4) Thank You Notes (Unless You Are Thanking Someone for a Very Casual Favor)

Etiquette experts differ on the form for thank-you notes sent after a job interview, however. On the one hand, while sending a handwritten note may make you stand out from the crowd, it can easily be recycled or misplaced, while an emailed thank-you leaves a digital paper trail and also arrives more quickly than a posted card. Choose the most prudent option given your understanding of the time constraints.

Letter Writing Etiquette

For tips, tricks, and general etiquette pointers for the modern day, be sure to check out Mr. Boddington’s Etiquette: Charm and Civility for Every Occasion by Mr. Boddington’s Studio, published by Chronicle Books.