How to Write a Heartfelt Thank You Letter to a Best Friend

Updated

You may have dozens of followers on Twitter and hundreds of friends on Facebook, but how many of those people do you consider real friends?

Jump ahead to these sections:

Out of that shorter list, how many people do you merely tolerate because you have a long history, shared proximity, or similar interests? Narrow down that list again, and who do you have left? You have your best friends.

Steps for Writing a Thank You Letter to Your Best Friend

Since life is short and unpredictable, let’s tell our best friends how important they are in our lives. Here are some hints to help you write a heartfelt thank you note to those special people in your life. 


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Step 1: Make a list of your friends

If you are truly blessed, you may have several people you consider great friends. 

Think back to your childhood and teen years. Are you in contact with any of your grade school or high school friends? Even if it has been months or years since you have physically been in their presence, would you be able to comfortably resume a relationship with them if you saw them now?

Perhaps you had supportive friends in college. Maybe they were your first roommates when you went out on your own. 

Do you have work colleagues who are as close as your family members? While work circumstances may have changed, you still may consider many of your former coworkers as friends. 

What about your past and present neighbors? The people who worship with you? The parents of your kids’ friends or your hairdresser?

Look at your list. It’s longer than you thought it would be, isn’t it? 

Step 2: Determine what makes each friend special

How would you feel if a friend tagged you (and a dozen other people) to a friendship poem on Facebook? You may “like” the post and comment with a kissy-face emoji, but you would probably forget about it in a week or two.

Imagine if that same friend took the time to write you a letter to thank you for your friendship. What if they took the time to list your virtues? What if the text included specific ways that you had helped or supported your friend? If you are like most people, you will keep that letter forever. You would tuck it away in a special box and re-read it periodically when you needed encouragement. 

The key to writing — whether you are drafting the text of a eulogy or writing a thank you note to your best friend — is to use specific examples rather than vague descriptive words. Instead of merely signing a quick note “with gratitude,” tell your friend what you specifically appreciate about the friendship.

Each person in your life gives you something different (though some friends can fulfill all of the following needs): 

  • You may have one friend who is a “doer” and is always looking for ways they can help in a situation. She brings you bottled water at your mom’s wake or volunteers to pick your kids up from school when you’re swamped at work.
  • Another friend may be a calming influence. You turn to this person when you feel overwhelmed and stressed. They help you put your problems in perspective so you can see the big picture. 
  • You may have fun friends as well. They’re the ones you call when you need a laugh or who are always ready to meet for a beer.

Step 3: Organize your thoughts

As you write each letter, think about the general format you want each note to take. For example, maybe you want to thank a friend for a few specific actions, or you have a laundry list of characteristics you would like to highlight. Regardless, group each thing you would like to say into categories and order those categories from the least to greatest importance.

Organizing your thoughts can be tricky when you have a blank sheet of paper and a pen in front of you. For that reason, you may consider composing the letter on your computer. That way, you can quickly move paragraphs (and do a quick grammar check) before writing your final copy.


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Step 4. Handwrite the letter

Your friend’s texts will eventually disappear or get lost in the never-ending scroll. Likewise, emails get lost in a massive inbox. But many people keep handwritten notes forever.

Handwritten notes are rarer and more memorable. Don’t worry about the quality of your handwriting. It’s only essential that the recipient can read it.

Step 5: End and sign your letter

As you complete the text of your letter, you may consider ending with an emotionally impactful statement. For example, don’t finish the letter thanking your friend for picking up orange juice for you when you were sick. Instead, end the note with, “I value your friendship more than you can even imagine,” or “I love you!”

As you sign your note, consider alternatives to the word “sincerely.” This term is still acceptable to use in a business setting, but it may be a little too formal for this purpose.

Thank You Letter to Best Friend Examples

Ikea knows that showing pictures of the assembly process is more helpful than just providing a list of written steps. Ikea’s our inspiration — here are some samples of text you could use in your thank you note to your best friend. 

For supporting you through sickness or death

“How can I ever thank you enough for being such a good friend to me over the last six months? You came without asking, provided when you thought I might be in need, and acted as my emotional crutch more times than I can count.

My life took a horrible turn four months ago with my sister’s diagnosis, but you have been an incredible friend during that time. It was nice to spend time with my sister at the hospital, knowing that you were there to pick up the kids from school and get them a snack.

I also appreciate the times when you fed them and helped them with their homework. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived without you. You have been such a blessing, and I love and value our friendship.”

For just being there

“You saw my depression for what it was. I don’t know where I would be today if you hadn’t forced me to get the medical help I needed. Thank you for being there for me when I needed it.

“I know I haven’t been a great friend to you in the last few months. I’m sorry I allowed my own sorrows to supersede your troubles. Thank you for being patient with me as I sorted out my issues. I feel as if I owe you for the hours of therapy you provided.”

For supporting you through a tragedy

“I thought you were simply a good friend, but when I saw you working tirelessly to help clean up after the flood, I realized you were a great friend. Thank you for working so hard when I needed help. I am eternally grateful.

“You were such a good friend to me when I was freaking out about the COVID-19 virus. Thank you for dropping off bags of groceries, picking up my prescriptions, and checking on my mom when I was unable to leave the house. I can’t wait until we are able to hang out again.”

Emotional thank you letter to your best friend

“Of all of the people who have come and gone throughout my life, you have remained my constant companion. Thank you for being my friend.”

“You were there for me when I was struggling with the relationship with my mom back in high school, and you were there for me when my marriage ended. You were my first call when I found out I had received my scholarship, and you helped me get through labor by being the calming force in the delivery room.”

“I am especially thankful for your help over the last few years – during Mom’s illness and death. Words can’t express how much I appreciated you during that horrible time. You truly went above and beyond the call of duty when you dropped off meals at my dad’s house and babysat Sammy and Charlie.”

“Even though our relationship has been rocky at times, you are my one true best friend. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without you.”

Thank you letter to your friend for helping out

“Even though other friends and neighbors helped us following the tornado, I appreciate your help most of all.”

“Thank you for coming immediately. You put yourself at risk as you drove through the roads cluttered with large branches and other debris. Thanks for immediately finding a safe home for the dogs. It was nice to focus on cleaning up without worrying about taking care of our pets.”

“You seemed to anticipate our needs. You showed up with boxes, packing tape, and Sharpies when I was still wandering around in a daze. You took control of the packing and gave instructions to the other helpers.”

“You shoved coffee and water bottles in my hand even before knowing that I was thirsty. You organized the meals and made sure everyone sat down periodically to eat and rest.”

“And, of course, you opened your home to my family when we had no place to stay. Words can’t express how grateful I am for your friendship and help during difficult times.

Thank you letter to your friend for a gift 

“I am overwhelmed. I don’t know how to thank you enough for the beautiful quilt that you made from my mom’s clothes. I had no idea what you had planned when you helped me clean out Mom’s closet. In fact, I didn’t even notice that you kept a few items aside when we donated the clothes to Goodwill.”

“The quilt is absolutely stunning. In fact, this is one of the best designs you have ever done. I have already placed it on my guest room bed, and I go in several times a day to admire it. Besides being beautiful, I know that it was a labor of love.”

“Thank you so much for this thoughtful gift. I will treasure this quilt for the rest of my life, and I will pass it down to my daughter. Every time I see it, I am reminded of my beautiful mother and my wonderful friend.”

Thank you letter to your friend for their birthday

“I couldn’t decide what to buy you for your birthday this year. I had quite a few ideas, but the scarf, purse, and necklace I considered didn’t seem special enough. I also thought about taking you to the symphony or surprising you with a limo wine tour, but I know you are a homebody and prefer quieter celebrations.”

“So, to help you celebrate your birthday, I have created this list of 40 things that are special about you – one thing for each year you have been alive. I laughed and cried as I wrote this list, and I hope it reminds you of all the special moments we have had together over the last 25 years we have known each other.”

Things I Love About You

  1. Your laugh. 

“I’ll never forget the first time we met. We met to plan the Valentine’s Party for the kids’ kindergarten class, and you snorted when that other Mom made a ridiculous suggestion. I knew I had found a friend when I heard that snort.”

Thank you letter to your friend for their wedding day

“It’s your wedding day! I can’t wait to celebrate your special day! Thank you for including me in your celebration. I am honored that you chose me as your bridesmaid.”

“I’m thankful that our friendship has grown and matured in the last six years. Of course, I have great memories of the beginning of our friendship, when we bonded during sorority recruitment and football games. But I treasure how much we have helped each other through difficult times – during breakups and fights with parents. And, of course, I’ll never forget how you encouraged me to get help for my bulimia.”

“Even though you will now be focusing on your life with Ryan and the children you will have together, I hope we can remain close friends. I value our relationship, and I hope we continue to be there for each other for the rest of our lives. I love you, friend!”

For hosting a party or get together

“It’s the Monday morning following my birthday party, and I can’t stop smiling. I am still overwhelmed by the birthday party you organized and lovingly planned for me. To say I was ‘surprised’ would be an understatement. I really thought we would be spending the evening together at the ballet.”

“Thank you so much for everything. It was a perfect event. You served all of my favorite foods, including the wine we discovered together on our trip to Napa Valley. The decorations were sublime. (I loved that you included my favorite flowers in the arrangements.) You invited all of my friends, even those you had never met. I can’t believe you flew in my sister for the party! That was the best surprise of all!”

“I am so lucky to have you as a best friend. I value your friendship more than you can imagine. So, again, dear friend, thank you for planning and hosting such a fantastic night.”

For giving advice

“I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the career advice. I feel like I have been drifting aimlessly since college and have stuck with my job because I wasn’t sure where else to apply. It was so helpful to talk with someone with a lot of experience in the industry.” 

“I also appreciate your advice on my resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. If you don’t mind, I would like to run them past you again when I make the changes you suggested.”

“Finally, I would like to thank you for sending out feelers to your friends who work for those companies in NYC. I heard back from your friend, Jack. He encouraged me to send him my portfolio.”

“You have been a great friend, and I appreciate having you as a mentor. As a result, I now feel focused and energized. I’m ready to take on the world!”

For making or treating you to dinner

“What a lovely evening! Thank you, dear friend, for dinner on Friday night. The gnocchi was incredible. (Please don’t forget to share your recipe with me!) And Jack appreciated that you prepared a meal that would work with his diet.”

“While the food and wine were delicious, your warm hospitality made the evening so special. We have always enjoyed our time together, but I think the guys finally bonded as well. Jack couldn’t stop talking about Brian’s hiking experiences. I think he’s inspired to take time off to complete the Appalachian Trail next summer! And I can’t wait to paint my bedroom the same striking green that you used in your dining room!”

“Thank you, once again, for a lovely evening. I’m looking forward to seeing you both again when we attend the play next month. Both Jack and I are looking forward to watching live theater under the stars. Thanks for suggesting it!”


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How to Start a Thank You Letter to Your Best Friend

We know what it feels like to stare at a blinking cursor because you aren’t sure how to begin a message. So here’s some inspiration for starting a thank you letter to a good friend or family member.

  • I don’t even know where to begin. How can I express my love and appreciation for you in one small note? 
  • Thank you, dear friend, for planning such a fantastic event!
  • Wow! To say I was surprised by my birthday party would be an understatement.
  • Thank you so much for the beautiful Hermes scarf! I’ve never owned such a high-end piece. I feel like I’m a member of the royal family when I wear it.
  • You are such a magnificent friend! I can’t imagine life without you.
  • I heard “our song” on the radio yesterday! It reminded me of you, and I just wanted to write this note to say that I miss you.
  • “True friends are never apart – maybe in distance but never in heart.” I saw this quote yesterday, and it reminded me of you! Thank you for being such a great friend!
  • It’s been a rough year. Thanks for helping me get through it! I’m not sure how I would have survived without all of your help and support.
  • I ran across that hilarious photo of us yesterday. You know the one – the one from our senior trip? It reminded me of what a great friend you have been for the last 23 years! I love you!
  • Since my cancer diagnosis, I have decided that I need to speak more honestly to the important people in my life. Because of that, I’m writing letters to my best friends. Your name was at the top of my list. 
  • Thank you for attending my mom’s funeral. I know you are busy at work, and it meant a lot to me that you took the day off to travel so far for the service.

How to End a Thank You Letter to Your Best Friend

Some people struggle with conclusions instead of introductions. So here are some words to consider as you wind up a letter to your best friend.

  • Please know that if you need anything – someone to talk to at two in the morning, a ride to chemotherapy, a person to pick up your kids, a shoulder to cry on – I am here for you!
  • Thank you, again, for your years of friendship. You mean the world to me!
  • Finally, I value our friendship because there’s never any drama. We know where we stand with each other – even if we disagree on occasion. Thank you for being my constant friend.
  • You have a kind soul and a gentle spirit. You make the world feel like a safe place. Thank you for being you!
  • Like Freddie Mercury wrote, “You’re my sunshine and I want you to know that my feelings are true. I really love you!”
  • When Betty White died, I heard the Golden Girls theme song many times on TV and the radio. Each time I listened to that song, I thought of you. Thank you for being a friend!
  • I know I can always count on you! Thank you!
  • I’m here for you!
  • Let’s catch up soon over a glass of wine!
  • I look forward to seeing you at the reunion!
  • I hope things are going well with you! Let’s reconnect soon!
  • I can’t wait to see you!
  • I miss your smile!
  • Thanks again for being my best friend!
  • I don’t say it enough, but I value your friendship.
  • We’ve been through a lot together. Thanks for always being by my side.
  • I can’t wait to see your smiling face!

Final Thoughts

Look back over your note. Have you followed the necessary thank you note etiquette? You may also check that you used proper grammar, even though your best friend probably doesn’t care whether you did or not. 

The most important part of writing a thank you letter to a best friend is that you speak from the heart. Be sincere and thank your friend for all the qualities that make them a special person.  

Kudos to you for taking the time to write a letter of appreciation to your best friend. These acts of kindness can create a ripple effect. They may encourage others to provide support when it is needed. Through this one simple act, you can make a difference in the world.

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