For almost as long as I can remember, I have been writing thank you cards to people who have done favors for me, given me presents/thought of me, and/or have done something that made me really appreciative of them.
Since the school year is quickly coming to an end, my friends and I recently came together to make a thank you card that fell in the latter category for our RA. Like all the other thank you cards that I write, my friends and I did not start making the card until a day or so before we were planning on giving it to our RA and we all completed our part of the card in one sitting while we had some free time in our rooms. Furthermore, as I was writing my part, I was feeling very reflective because I had to think about what exactly I wanted to thank my RA for. However, I did not feel that anything was particularly at stake with this particular card because it was not written as a direct response to something that someone else did for me. But I do recognize that in some other situations, a thank you card can have someone’s reputation at stake because many people feel that it is basic manners to write someone a thank you note if they do or give something specifically to you.
In terms of conventions when it comes to writing a thank you card, I feel like they can change slightly depending on how intimate of a relationship you have with them (such as the formality of the tone with which you write). However, I do feel that there are some very general conventions that most people follow, and these include addressing the card to the receiver(s) (because when you write a thank you card, it is almost always not written for yourself), signing your name, and of course, using language that conveys gratefulness such as “thank you,” “I’m so grateful,” etc. since the whole aim of this piece of writing is to let someone know you are thankful for them*. As with many other things, I only learned of these conventions through observing and getting advice from others. More specifically, I learned from watching what my older siblings would write when we would make a thank you card together and from asking my mom what I should and shouldn’t write in my cards.
Now in terms of a response to a thank you card, I feel that there typically isn’t one since the thank you card itself is usually a response to something the other person has done. However, for cards that fall into the same category as the one that my friends and I wrote (ie. a card that is just a somewhat random expression of appreciation), I could expect to get a response along the lines of something like, “Thank you, that’s so sweet of you!”
*While some may deem this as grammatically incorrect, the use of “them” here is intentional because it is a all-inclusive, gender-neutral term.