Sending a card is a quick way to brighten someone’s day. Here’s how to make it great.
When you write a letter, postcard or thank you note to someone you know well, the words pour out of the pen. You know what sensitivities they have, what they love and the challenging parts of their life. It’s different when you’re writing to someone you’ve never met. It’s also exhilarating to know that the simple act of sending a letter can help lift a person’s spirits. With that in mind, here are five tips to keep in mind.
Acknowledge that the person is having a tough time. It might feel like you want to avoid the subject. After all, the letter is supposed to make them feel good, not remind them of what’s going wrong! Spoiler alert: you’re not reminding them of something they’ve forgotten. Instead, you’re honoring what they’re going through.
Avoid relating to what they’re going through. Everyone’s experience is unique, shaped by things like circumstances, geography, finances, family situation, and more. For instance, two people who were both diagnosed with the same disease are going to have very different experiences, and trying to relate can sometimes backfire. Put another way: it’s great to relay sympathy, meaning you’re expressing your care for that person, rather than empathy, which is saying that you understand what someone is going through.
Make it personal. What makes Letters of Love special is that there’s a real person penning each note. There’s nothing generic about it! It’s great to share a bit about yourself with the recipient. Relay something that’s going on in your life. Maybe it’s a book you’re reading, a television show you can’t help but binge, or an art exhibition that moved you.
Keep it light. You can write meaningful notes without them feeling heavy. Avoid downer topics like the COVID-19 pandemic or tough things going on in your life. And it goes without saying that politics is a no-go. And you might find that focusing on the things that make you happy…actually makes you happy.
Include a return address. Some recipients will want to reply to you, and it’s great if you allow them that courtesy. Do it on the corner of the envelope and below your name on the actual letter. (Some people toss envelopes right away.) Hey, it may be the start of a beautiful pen pal relationship!