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Writing letters is good for relationships

A friend recently sent me the following excerpt from something she was reading:


First of all, I’m a writer. I always have been. Ask my parents. I’ve written short stories, essays, news stories, feature articles and even opinion pieces. I used to make my own newspapers, write letters to all of my friends and spend endless nights just writing out notes.

Writing has always helped me commit things to memory. I would write out my memory work for school. I would recopy notes in order to prepare for a test. I would jot down sections of books to etch it into the wrinkles of my brain. It’s way different than typing. In fact, I’ve typed most of this without looking at the keyboard. I’m barely looking at the screen. I’m watching Rachael Ray on TV (Helen Hunt is on) and watching some ground turkey brown on the stove. I barely have to give it attention other than to tell my fingers to press the keys according to the thoughts in my brain.

When I’m writing letters, I have to sit down, pick a pen, select a piece of paper or a note card. I have to think about what I’m going to jot down on the paper. It’s not like the computer where I can backspace-backspace-backspace over paragraphs and words that don’t make sense. I don’t want to waste that time or space. I want to fill it with the words and prose that will be delivered to my recipient. I think about the reader and what I’m trying to say. I craft everything carefully. Letters, for me, are more than just notes exchanged by mail.

I need to connect with the letter.

I hope that connection comes through to the reader. I honestly do this each time I write a letter, thank you card, note or just about anything else. The words in my letter can’t be conveyed properly through a text or an email. They can’t hold the same meaning if said over the phone. These are words that are meant to be written. Without saying it, I hope the reader knows the time, effort, mental capacity, love and attention I gave to that letter–all for them.

I understand it when I read a letter. Besides the writing letters, I realize that the person had to sit down and think about me. They had to take time out of their busy schedules to think about the message they wanted to convey to me. They had to sit down and focus all of their attention on the letter.

They had to go to the store to buy a stamp or hunt through their stationery to find the right paper (just me? okay, that’s why I love my mail from A Beautiful Mess). They have to dig out a stamp, which lots of people don’t necessarily keep in their house. They have to get my address. They have to put it in the mailbox.

All for me.

All for you.

Clearly, you wouldn’t do this for just anyone. There is a certain level of compassion and love that goes in to each letter. That connection is more than just what they did, it’s why they did it. They care for you! They care enough about you to do all of that work to send you a letter! The connection line is drawn. It’s up to you to reciprocate.

Some letters don’t require a response, like thank you cards, but if someone bothers to send you a note, consider all of the above before you just toss it to the side and forego writing them back. Send them a text, an email or a letter of your own to let them know that their letter (kindness, love, words, connection) has been received. It might make all the difference in the world.

4 thoughts on “Writing letters is good for relationships

  1. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

  2. Sitting down and writing a real, heartfelt letter is a practice that you don’t really hear about anymore. While doing research for a Relationship Essay assignment, I stumbled upon your post, and it was a welcome surprise. I am inspired to write a handwritten letter, just to make a special someone smile. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Someone I knew very little from high school reached out to me and wrote me a letter at a time when I was completely lost. I was 15 years old at that time. That time was very turbulent because I was taken out of the only home I knew due to physical abuse I had suffered at the hands of my father. The abusive event which sirened the police occurred embarrassingly on school grounds. His letter to me was a lifeline and provided me a platform for expression when my entire world had just died. We still continue to write to each other to this day. I’m now 45 years old and cannot express the gratitude in my heart for his reaching out to me and still continuing to do so throughout all these years.

  4. I once got a letter from a guy who I went to a homeschool coop with. He was a good guy, he would come visiting and get to know me and my family. He was a solid friend, but he wanted more and I didn’t, so in 2013, he left, and I haven’t seen him since.

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