You are here

Why Letter Writing Deserves a Comeback

June 4, 2014

Main Image

When I walk into my apartment building every night, I check my mailbox and hope there’s something with my name on it. Every night there is! There are plenty of stamped envelopes for me.  I’ve been preapproved for the latest and greatest credit card—0% APR!  The grocery store wants me to shop their latest sale and Banana Republic is offering me yet another 40% off coupon!

This wasn’t exactly what I was had in mind.

The reality is, we live in a digital age where our phones are essentially glued to our hands. Emails and text messages have become our primary mode of communication, and we can reach our loved ones instantaneously. We can say whatever is on our mind to whomever we want, whenever we want.  As a result, snail mail has become unnecessary. And simply stated, this makes me really sad.

As someone who loves writing birthday cards and thank you notes as much as, if not more than, I love receiving them, I lament that our society has lost touch with this art.  Fifteen years ago when I moved across the country, I didn’t have email at my fingertips. I couldn’t see what my now long-distance friends were up to on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.  This left me wondering, imagining, and daydreaming.  Rather than shooting texts back and forth, I exchanged letters once a month with a friend I deeply missed.  I anxiously anticipated the arrival of these heartfelt sentiments in my mailbox, and got great joy from reading them when they did come. As our use of technology increased and more time passed, the letters decreased, and eventually ended, but I’ll never forget the exchange of these letters while it lasted.

I do believe that social media, the Internet, and quick, efficient communication have their place. Still, I hope that snail mail can inch its way back into our lives. Let’s be honest: When it comes to a hand-written love letter vs. a “love text”, there’s really no contest.  

Here are my top 5 reasons for my undying love for snail mail:

  1. It is personal. Your words are only seen by you and the recipient. The world is unable to like, share, or comment.  It is a judgment-free zone.
  2. You can make it extra personal and stylish. Look at these adorable cards from Amy Ruth Designs or these bright pink thank you notes.  I think that fun cards make it even more exciting to put pen to paper. While you’re at it, get some colored pens!
  3. Handwritten sentiments take time and thought. Unlike a text message or an email, which take a few minutes to write and even less time to send, your written words have been thought out and maybe even rewritten a couple of times. This process makes the result more honest and from the heart.
  4. Sitting down with your stationary and pen in hand can be a very calming experience. Playing some music, lighting a candle, and sharing your thoughts with a loved one is surprisingly serene.
  5. Give and you shall receive. How much do you love receiving a note in the mail? Whether it’s to say thank you or just because you’re awesome, it feels really nice. The more you share the written words with your friends and loved ones, the more you’ll find your name on envelopes that aren’t credit card statements.

To this day, my mom and I exchange cards on a regular basis, and if I see a card that reminds me of a friend, I pick it up, write a quick note, and drop it in the mail—even if they just live across town. I hope to never stop this practice, no matter how much technology advances.

So now I challenge you to put pen to paper and write one note this week. Who will you write to?