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How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

3 May

It’s a Tuesday afternoon and the mail arrives. A few bills, some junk mail and … oh, what’s this? A small handwritten note. You open the envelope and read what’s inside:

To my friend,

Today, I was reminded in conversation with a colleague at work about our friendship. This colleague was sharing some difficult news related to recent events in her life and said she had found she had no ‘true’ friends.

I count you among my blessings. You and I have been friends since we were in our teens and while we may not talk every day or see each other all that often, I am so grateful for our friendship. I know I can call you or reach out whenever I need to and you’ll always be there.

Thanks for being a part of my life,

In friendship,

Your Friend

Wow! Imagine getting something like that in the mail. What would that mean to you, to hear from a friend out of the blue. Especially when there was no real ‘reason’ for it; no gift had been given, no favor had been done.

A Personal Challenge

Friendship and Appreciation notes are a special kind of personal correspondence and are always treasured by the recipient. They can be a challenge to write because they require the expression of honest, heartfelt emotion and sentiment when we, at least Americans, don’t normally do that.

Culturally, Americans express honest emotion in times of grief: “I am so sorry for your loss. It made me cry when I heard the news. I love you so much and I’ll do whatever I can to help.”

And in times of happiness: “Congratulations on the job! I knew you’d get a position like this–you totally deserve it. I’m so happy for you! I’m so excited for you!”

But what about just in regular times; in day-to-day life? We don’t really do that kind of thing. Herein lays the reason why Friendship/Appreciation Notes are not so common.

Get Started:

  1. Think of a friend. Whoever comes to mind first is probably a great candidate. Or, think of someone that has been on your mind lately for whatever reason, even if you haven’t spoken to them recently.
  2. Answer the questions, “Why do I appreciate them?” and “What made me think of them specifically?”
  3. Draft your note on notebook or copy paper first. A basic written formula is:
    1. Greeting
    2. Why you are writing
    3. What you want to say
    4. Closing, positive statement
    5. Sign off
  4. Once it looks how you’d like it, slowly write the final words onto a nice card or stationery.
  5. Seal and send off.

Here’s a sample you could write to someone who has been a lifelong friend.

Break It Down:


Dear Name

Why You Are Writing:

You and I have been friends for about 20 years. I remember when we met and how quickly we became close! In these past 20 years, you’ve seen me get married, get fired from a job, find a new job, have a child, buy a house, move out-of-state, and a whole lot in between. You have truly been a constant in my life; in fact, we’ve been friends for more than ½ the time I’ve been alive.

What You Want To Say:

I just wanted to write to thank you for your friendship and for sticking by me the whole time. You are someone I not only enjoy spending time with, but someone I greatly admire.

Closing, Positive Statement

See you at the annual Turkey Bowl Game this Thanksgiving

Sign Off

Your Name

Friendship/Appreciation notes can be hard to write because we’re not used to thanking people for being your friend. In reality, what you’re doing is acknowledging the friendship and thereby, acknowledging the friend. Acknowledgement like this is a powerful thing. Write a note to a friend this week. They will cherish it, and feel happy knowing they have a friend like you that would take the time to write them.


Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.


Editor’s Note: This is the third article in the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes


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