Guys, I don’t know about you… but sometimes the world seems like a cruel magnet that makes your friends spread far and wide. And honestly, the only perk to having your closest friends spread across the globe is having a bed to crash in if you happen to be visiting. Otherwise, distance is a cruel, cruel obstacle to tackle. In the age of information and technology, we’re told day in and day out that staying connected is “now easier than ever.” And yes, that’s true. Incredibly true. Hey look at me, I can press this button and I can see my best friends face within an instant! Yes, we’ve all seen the perks. But man, recently I’ve found myself wanting to bring back the intimacy of opening a letter and hearing the ebb and flow of my friend’s voice storytelling in their own, unique handwriting.
When I was in second grade, my mom set up a letter exchange with a friend I had from pre-school. Yes, pre-school. She and I were BFFLs and it just so happened that she moved over an hour or so away. Bye bye play dates! And so began my journey to pen paling. Flash forward a few years or so and somehow between the beginning of texting and Snapchat, I turned away from letters and snail mail. As an adult (…wait, ew), I find myself missing the act of note writing to catch up on the gossip. Which leads me to this… Remember the complete exhilaration of receiving a letter in the mail?
The US Mail system needs some loving guys. Here are 6 tips and tricks to bring back the joy of snail mail!
Make It A Pact
Simply put… pen pal-ing is a lot easier when two people agree to give it a darn good shot.
Write Like You Speak
Be yourself. Point blank. Don’t falsify yourself just because and pen is in your hand! You better believe that whoever you happen to be writing to wants to hear your voice while reading your letters, not a robot or like, a totally, air headed valley girl LOLz. Nope. Write like you’re in a real life conversation, it’s as easy as that!
Choose Personalized Paper Goods
This is one of the main reasons snail mail and I became good friends again. You see, I have a knack for collecting vintage postcards wherever I go. Finding pretty little paper goods makes me feel excited to share the goodness with my friends. Since you know that you’re about to spend a least a good twenty minutes taking a pen to a piece of paper, you might as well be super pumped to look at it right? Pick up colorful paper or personalize your pages with doodles and pictures. Whatever you do, have fun with it!
Ask The Hard Questions
Writing short notes allows us to get to the meat of what we really want to talk about. So instead of skirting around the “what’s new” and “how are you’s” like we have to do in real conversation, you can ask “how is your relationship with your family going” and “what are your recent goals.” Ask! Go there!
Add Thoughtful, Little Knick Knacks
Get creative with the little additions that can be put with your letters. Add a $5 iTunes gift card or a coin from your travels or a hand drawn portrait of your cat (I ain’t judging).
Keep It Going
The beginning of a beautiful journey in pen paling is easy. Maintaining that wonderful relationship? Not so much. But as most relationships go, the more time that is spent working on it, the deeper and more heartfelt the experience becomes. I promise that if one friend can commit to keeping your snail mail going, you’ll find yourselves feeling more connected than any Snapchat conversation could ever go. Why? Because it’s the idea that you both committed the time to actually meditate on your words and to write them thoughtfully and methodically onto paper.
So what do you think? Are you already thinking of a far away friend to pen pal with? Starting to imagine your dream stationary to use? Join me in bringing back the happiness in checking the mail! Let’s be sentimental and let’s be heartfelt in maintaining long distance friendships. Instead of texting, take a good few minutes writing down your thoughts and questions for your friends far and wide. If nothing else, you’ll be making their day when your sentiments arrive in their mailbox. And ain’t that reason enough?