Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Friendship and mail (a link-up)
My friend Callie is hosting a friendship linkup over on her blog, and she mentioned maintaining friendships through mail. Well, I think I know a little something about that, so I decided I would add my two cents over here.
(Will we have to change that saying to a nickel or something, since the penny is being phased out in Canada?)
Well, here's my nickel anyway.
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you will know that I love snail mail! It's one of my joys in life and I love to share that joy with others! I think it's a great way to reach out to someone you treasure even if you see them all the time. It's also great to keep in contact with someone far away, and it's so much more personal than Facebook, am I right? I have friends that I have on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, email... yet at the end of the day I'd much rather send them a letter. So here are some suggestions for keeping your friendship alive via postal service!
Keep her updated.
We all have friends that have moved away, either temporarily or permanently, that we don't get to see very often. It's awesome to keep them updated with a nice long letter. I prefer a letter to an email or Facebook message because, I don't know about you, but for me I lose track of emails and messages and forget to reply! With a letter, it's tangible, and I can put it somewhere where I remember to reply!
Another reason a letter is better than a tweet or status update is that you can personalize it. You can share something with a friend that you wouldn't necessarily want a co-worker or that person from high school that you never talk to anymore to see. For example, Callie recently sent me a letter to let me know her big news, instead of just letting me find out on her blog like everyone else. I really appreciated that!
Deepen your friendship.
I am a very chatty letter writer, and I think that people might get to know me better through letters for the simple fact that I basically have no filter when I write! I also love to ask tons of questions that you might not have a chance to ask in a face-to-face conversation, and I like to ask the most random questions in letters to find out more about people that I might not otherwise never know! And honestly, writing a letter is more fun when you have more to write about! If you have a lot of questions to answer, that makes for a more entertaining letter than just the basic life goings-on (although those are obviously fantastic as well).
Send a random card.
Isn't there something incredibly fun and special about getting a card from someone you see a lot? YES.
When I'm out looking at cards and I see one that I know a friend would like, I'll buy it and send it to her. Does it matter that I saw her yesterday and she lives 2 blocks away? NO. Come one, what's 61 cents to make someone you love smile?
Of course, I think we all have a way or two to do this without postage. Primary example: Church mail box. If you are a member of a church you get a mail box/file, and if you are like me, 50 out of 52 Sundays that thing is empty. Why not put something in your friend's box to make her smile? When I was in college my friends and I used to write each other notes and put them in our "disappointment boxes." It certainly made trips to the mail room more worthwhile!
Don't know what to write in the card? Bring up a funny memory you two share. Tell her some things you appreciate about her. Tell her why she's a great friend. Encourage her if she's going through a hard time. Invite her over to your house/out for coffee. Or just write an inside joke and send it on it's way!
Make it personal.
It's nice to get a letter - it's even nicer when there's something else in the envelope! Now, I fully admit that I don't always do this, but I wish I did! It doesn't have to be the most amazingest, perfectest (woah, perfectest is apparently a word!) thing ever. In fact, here's a tip for you: dollar store. Don't judge me, it's great! You can find stickers, postcards, ribbon, glitter, little notebooks, candies and chocolates, and even little trinkets that will fit in an envelope no problem! Even if they don't look super, you can always jazz it up at home yourself, no? I recently bought some little notebooks that look really boring, but I have some plans for them (washi tape and glitter glue).
Don't want to spend any money? Well, you could always make something. Origami is cool, and it fits real nice in an envelope! Make a little bookmark out of some colourful scraps of paper. Friendship bracelets are totally back in style - go back in your memory for those patterns you used to know. Find some free printables and add those. You probably have some tea bags lying around your kitchen somewhere. (Packets of hot chocolate are nice too!) Something I like to do is make mix cds. I usually make a mix or two every summer, and I send those out to people I think would enjoy it. You just need a bigger/stiffer envelope, and an extra stamp, and you're good to go.
Once in a while, bulk it up.
I keep a mail log, of all the mail I receive and send out. It has helped me a lot in this past year, knowing who I haven't heard from in a while, and who should go on my list to write to. I also keep track of what I get and send out with those letters. I have a dear friend Jasmine who spoils me quite often, and when I can afford it, I like to spoil her back. For example, she eats gluten-free, so I sent her some Skittles, which are not gluten-free in Australia but they are in North America. Yeah, a few big bags of Skittles costs a little more in postage, but it's worth it every once in a while. Letter sets, pens, nail polish, even things like coffee mugs in bubble wrap and a box can be sent. No, you shouldn't send stuff like this out all the time if you can't afford it. I sure can't. But when you have an extra 15 or 20 bucks, go ahead. Maybe plan ahead throughout the year and buy one thing here and one thing there, stock up, and send it out as a birthday gift.
In the end...
Don't worry about having the best present ever, or being more extravagant than her other friends/pen pals (which is something I personally get caught up in, to be honest). It's about being thoughtful. It's about showing your friend that you're thinking about her. Maybe in the end, all you can do is send out a heartfelt letter with love. Then go for it! If she's a true friend, she will treasure it no matter what.
Don't worry about how much time has passed! If it's been 6 months or a year, even more reason to get that pen and paper out, girl! Tell them what's made you so busy that you haven't been able to write! True friendship will last if a while passes. But don't let it fall through altogether!! Take the initiative and get back in contact with someone you miss. Just reach out. Usually someone will reach back.