When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? Perhaps it was on your birthday or around a holiday. Regardless of when it was, you can probably remember the last time because letters come so rarely. Even though it may not be a big deal to some people, when I see a letter in my mailbox I’m absolutely elated. Just knowing that someone took the time to physically write me a note makes my day.

What is it about letters that makes them so special? To me, seeing someone’s handwriting makes all the difference. Yes, we can customize font via email or add emojis to a text message, but thanks to the backspace key we never see the mistakes that the writer makes along the way. The scribbles and eraser marks that often come with a letter remind us that no one is perfect in communication and that reminder simply does not translate through technology.

Letters are a fantastic way to make sure to stay in touch with those who you do not have a chance to see very often in manner that is much more personal than writing on a Facebook wall. My best friend from middle school goes to school in Massachusetts and spends most of the year there, so we hardly see each other. Every once in a while we send each other surprise letters to keep each
other updated on our classes, our friends, and our lives in general. Seeing her handwriting makes me feel like we’re still close, even though we’re eight hours away from each other.

As a Communication major, I’ve learned that there is so much more to communicating than the actual words that we say. There are facial expressions, nonverbal messages, and body language cues that are conveyed each time we talk to someone face-to-face. While we certainly cannot replicate these additions to communication in letter writing, I like to think that handwriting comes with its own “body language”, from the curve of a “y” to the loop of a cursive “L” to the angle of a “k”. To me, handwritten letters tell a lot about the writer beyond the words without the writer even realizing it.

Texts and emails are deleted with the click of a button, but letters are a tangible reminder of how much someone cares. The next time you’re thinking of someone, sit down and write them a note. All it takes is a piece of paper, an envelope, and a stamp to make someone’s day so much brighter.

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