Etiquette-filter: sending thank-you notes late (like, ridiculously, months-to-years late)? Specific questions within.
So, I've got a chronic procrastination problem where thank-you notes are concerned. I think
I'm a grateful person, but I hate to write and suck at putting feelings into words-- with the result that I tend to postpone necessary thank-yous until so much time has passed that it seems impossibly awkward and embarrassing to send any note at all. (To give some idea of the scale we're talking about here, a few of the items in my current "debit" column include notes:
- to three close friends, including a bridesmaid, for wedding gifts 16 months ago (all the "form" notes were easy, but the heartfelt ones... not so much so)
- to an old prof for good advice and mentoring 6 years ago (he gave me a decidedly cold shoulder at a conference recently, so I'm guessing this one's dead in the water)
- to a good friend re: travel souvenirs given back in September
- to my academic advisor for rush-mailing a rec in November
and so forth.) I think if I could think of things as fixable (as opposed to being Forever Spoilt By My Rudeness), then I might occasionally be able to sack up and write the belated note, instead of spiralling down into endless guilt and avoidance. But assuming I'm facing a thank-you note that's been put off months or years past when it should have been sent,
1. How profusely and grovellingly should I apologize for not writing sooner? Should the apology be made in the note itself, or in a separate communication, like a cover note?
2. Does the thank-you itself need to be extra-effusive and/or accompanied by some sort of gift, to "make it up" to the recipient?
3. Is there ever a time limit past which it simply *is* just too late to send a thank-you at all, particularly for relatively small items? Or is some acknowledgment always better than nothing, even years after the fact?
Some helpful suggestions here
, but everything seems to be specifically wedding-related; I'm wondering how all this works when applied to thank-yous for professional assistance, or more casual gestures and gifts.