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20-40-60 Etiquette: The write stuff

It’s always nice to receive a handwritten letter, columnist says.

It’s always nice to receive a handwritten letter, columnist says.

QUESTION: I have an internet-based etiquette question.

If I sent a question to an online lifestyle podcast blog that only receives contact by letter, and they respond to my letter answering my question, do I send them back another letter thanking them for the response?

Thank you for any suggestions.

CALLIE'S ANSWER: I think that would be very nice of you to send a thank-you. I am not sure that would be my top priority, but you are on the right track.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: If the only way you have to contact them is by letter, then a letter by mail is the only way you have to thank them. It's always nice to receive a handwritten (or handcrafted, if you type it) letter by mail anyway. It's interesting that an online blog/podcast only corresponds by snail mail instead of allowing input online by email or social media; communicating that way might make it tough for the creators to grow their audience. However, they're weeding out all but the most committed by asking for contact by mail. You won't ever go wrong with a thank-you.

HELEN'S ANSWER: A thank-you is always proper, and when people take the time to help you, please remember to thank them. Whether it is a short note or a formal letter, it will be appreciated. And you probably welcomed the answer, so my suggestion is that you thank them as soon as possible.

It is interesting to note that they take contact only by letter.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Joe Hight, University of Central Oklahoma journalism ethics chair, and president of Best of Books: A "thank you" in any form is an appropriate response.

And, a letter, or even better a handwritten note, is certainly the best way to do it. We should never hesitate to say or write "thank you" when we feel someone has done a service for us. I'm sure the person receiving it will appreciate your kind words.

I think we all appreciate a nice thank-you when we receive one.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email