Should I send a card or not?
April 16, 2009 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Should I send a card or not?

So, I just recently accepted admissions to a graduate program in cognitive psychology with a future advisor that I really like (not in the UK, though, in case you remember my previous question). Not only do our research interests match, he is also an extremely kind person that cares a lot about students. I'm very much looking forward to working with him, and I think we will get along quite well.

Well, I just found out that his wife gave birth to a bouncing baby boy just last weekend. I'm very excited for him and his family, and would like to send them a note of congratulations. Would it be appropriate for me to send him a congratulations card, or would that be overdoing it a little bit? If he were my current advisor, I would be sending a card, no question. But as I have never worked for him before, I don't know if it would be weird for him to receive a card from somebody who is technically not yet his student. And, as you can probably appreciate, I would prefer not to start my graduate life on the wrong foot, having made a weird impression on the advisor.

I've already sent him an e-mail. Is this enough? Should I send a card or not?
posted by tickingclock to Human Relations (10 answers total)
If you've already sent an email — which was lovely of you, by the way — I think the card is overkill.
posted by adiabat at 11:40 AM on April 16, 2009

If you already sent an email, then I think sending a card as well would be overkill and weird. In this case I'd suggest "either or." Either an email OR a card - not both.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:41 AM on April 16, 2009

Yeah, no card if you've already sent an email.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:53 AM on April 16, 2009

I think sending an email is better than sending a card in this case and since you've already done that, I vote for no card.
posted by Maisie at 11:55 AM on April 16, 2009

Response by poster: OK, thanks for the answers so far!

Re-reading the original post, I realised that I made it sound as though I found out about the baby from someone else, and e-mailed him first, unprompted -- which is not the case (I guess this is what happens when I edit something multiple times). Actually, I e-mailed him a week ago regarding an unrelated topic, and then he e-mailed today saying that he is sorry he hasn't replied yet, but that it was because his wife gave birth to a baby. So, I replied to this e-mail saying congratulations.

Does this change things?
posted by tickingclock at 12:15 PM on April 16, 2009

I for one would send a card, and don't think its overkill. This was my thought before your response, and is still what I think.

It doesn't have to be a greatly decorated card with a long message; just a cute little "Congrats!" card. I think cards are a nice touch, nicer than an email; you can put them up on a fridge or on a windowsill, etc.

Remember that he just had a kid. He is probably (a) getting a million cards congratualting him from everyone else he vaguely knows (b) probably ignoring them all anyway because he hasn't slept in 72 hours and is too busy babyproofing the house to enjoy the cards. He probably doesn't have the time and effort to critically examine whether or not it was improper to recieve a card from you. But even if it goes unnoticed, I still think it's a nice gesture!
posted by HabeasCorpus at 12:33 PM on April 16, 2009

A card still seems like overkill to me; you don't really have a relationship that merits card-sending. I doubt he'd think less of you for sending it, though, so go ahead if you really want to.
posted by Polychrome at 12:33 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

No card, but when you see him next, ask thoughtful questions.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:56 PM on April 16, 2009

Card or no card, they've got way more important things to worry about than who did or didn't send a card or who sent a card that shouldn't. If they have a large social circle, they've probably already got lots of cards anyway and the presence of one more or less wont make any difference to them.

IMO a card is unnecessary (but I think that most of the time - so a little biased here, I think the greetings card companies want you to feel obliged to buy cards for everything). You've said your congratulations and you don't really know them that well so the card wont have deep sentimental value for them.
posted by missmagenta at 3:17 PM on April 16, 2009

Response by poster: OK, no card it is, then. Thanks for all your input!
posted by tickingclock at 4:06 PM on April 16, 2009

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