The Lost Art of Letter Writing

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It has been almost 2 months since I completely deleted my Facebook account, and I have absolutely no regrets. Not only have I had no desire to log in, scroll through a newsfeed, or create a new account, but also I am so much happier without Facebook. I do not feel that I am missing out on anything. I get the news, the weather, and am an informed citizen who gets my information through other formats. I am aiming to simplify all aspects of my life, and my technology use has been reduced to this blog, my email, and my cell phone.

There are some people with whom I communicated via Facebook, and I do miss those people. I will admit that I am disappointed in some of my so-called friends who cannot seem to pick up a phone to contact me without Facebook. Facebook is the modern day version of voyeurism. It is the lazy mans way of communication. Why put effort into talking to people when you can simply swipe through some “friends” on your phone? (Can you detect the sarcasm here?)

I have gone back to old-school basics of letter writing. You know, that paper and pen snail mail kind of communication that starts out “Dear Pen Pal,” or whomever.

This has enriched my relationships. I have to consciously take the time to sit down to compose a letter or card to an individual, and I personalize my message for the person to whom I am writing. It is so much more engaging than posting some vague status update and waiting for notifications or “likes.”

There is some excitement in getting return letters as well. Admit it – as an adult, mail service sucks. No one likes the mail because it tends to contain either bills or junk mail. Most people nowadays pay their bills online. When we open the box and there is a lovely handwritten envelope from a loved one or friend, there is a certain amount of glee that happens. We may even skip back to the house from the mailbox. Maybe not. I could be going overboard.

When writing a handwritten letter, we can send a whimsical card or notepaper. Who doesn’t like school supplies? Why use an impersonal emoji when you can use stationary to exhibit our own personal flair? We can even draw our own designs instead of using some computer-generated graphic.

There is so much more feeling and so much more meaning when we take time out of our busy days and busy lives to send someone a birthday card or a get-well card. It is a personal, thoughtful touch that will be remembered more than an impersonal post on someone’s wall. In fact, many people post on other people’s walls as a public display of some type of behavior – the same gesture done privately would mean so much more. Facebook puts relationships on display that should remain between individuals and not necessarily subject to public view and comment.

Handwritten cards and letters can be kept and read again when we are feeling down or need a reminder of how someone feels about us. Do you get that same feeling when scrolling through a newsfeed? Research has shown that Facebook has a tendency to make people depressed more than it brings people up. I have yet to see any research that proclaims positive aspects of Facebook. Yes, I understand that people have their reasons for using Facebook, and that there are positives to the platform that people find individually. Yet there is no research showing widespread positivity, only negative outcomes and influences. For example, more divorces than ever are listing Facebook as a reason for the divorce. Should we really be putting our personal relationships on view for the world?

The lost art of letter writing allows personal relationships to remain personal. Often, when we write a letter or card to someone, it is for that person only. It is not like we take out the letter and read it around the break room at work or stand on a street corner reading it for everyone to hear. We may sometimes share snippets of letters with others who know the same individual. Yet it is rare that we will read the entire volume to everyone else in our life.

What would happen if you randomly sent a handwritten letter or card to one of your close friends or family members? Would they be shocked? Surprised? Would it make them smile? Joy is the point of rediscovering the lost art of letter writing. Yes, it may be an antiquated method of communication, but can you tell me that you do not smile when you receive a letter or card in the mail?

Slowing down our lives for quality human connection is essential. Today’s breakneck pace of life takes away from our relationships. There are more divorces, more single people, more people alone than at any point in human history. Yet we are more “connected” than ever before. The Internet is a great tool, but the connections are often superfluous.

Increase the quality of human connection by discovering the lost art of letter writing. See who we can make smile by doing so.

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