September 9, 2000
Today I'd like to offer assistance to those who complain about not knowing how to answer e-mail from people who make some attempt to offer moral support.
I'm providing you with a form letter. Copy and modify at will!
Thank you for your note/letter/e-card. I appreciate your taking the time and effort to send it.
Sincerely/Regards/Yours/ you get the idea,
Your Name Here
That's all that's necessary. Just acknowledge that someone took time to do something nice for you. Don't agonize over saying the absolute right thing. The person to whom you're responding probably knows you are still working through the situation that prompted the message you got. If your correspondent offered some piece of advice you consider lame, let it rest. It was meant well.
If you really want to respond more fully, but aren't up to it at the moment, you're always welcome to write again!
Of course, if you have your own website, a comment about how much you appreciate all the support will buy you some time on personal responses...but unless you've just given birth or suffered a life-changing trauma, a general thanks doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to answer.
Not responding, especially to people who don't know you very well, is a good way to hurt people's feelings, and an excellent way to be added to the don't-bother list! A brief response is always better than none.
Hope this helps those who need it!