Occasionally with periods I think a lot about friendship and social contacts. Lately, I’ve only had contact with people I know through Facebook. But actually very minimal. I regularly wrote what I was doing and then got a few likes or sometimes a short response.
No one calls me to ask how I’m doing. Nobody comes by. No one spontaneously sends an email. My mailbox is almost always empty. Even on my birthday and Christmas. Nobody actively invests in contact with me. When I send a card at Christmas, most of the time I don’t get a response, sometimes I get a card back. Because I sent a card, I also get a card back. If I didn’t send a card, I wouldn’t have gotten a card.
It didn’t feel right. I felt like I had lost touch with people at all. I had the feeling that no one is really interested. (And sometimes you just don’t have the right people around you.) I’ve thought a lot about it and I recently decided to stop using my private facebook. Not because I no longer want contact with these people, but because I want better contact with them (and other people).
I realized that I now can show that I know someone’s birthday because I send a card or e-mail with the birthday. I immediately got excited to make a birthday calendar. E-mail or a letter forces you also to tell something about yourself, about how you are doing, about what you are doing and to ask the other how it is going or to respond to what the other wrote. It goes a bit further than the short, general communication on social media. Some people regularly comment on social media, but don’t share how they are doing or what is happening in their lives.
Now that I think about it a lot, I realize even more the value and meaning of cards and letters, because it brings together all kinds of elements that are important for a good relationship (regardless of the type of relationship, friendship, good neighbors, family etc).
That you invest in the relationship, (time, effort, money), that you are involved (you send a birthday card, you ask how someone is doing, you ask how things are going), that you open yourself up (that you tell something about yourself or your experiences or opinion about a subject) and that you also think about the other person. There are probably more that I won’t mention right now.
My grandmother used to send me postcards. With Easter, on my birthday, at Christmas, when she was going somewhere for a day, or when she was on vacation. I really liked that. It was so nice that she always thought of me. She wished me a happy Easter, a merry Christmas, a nice birthday and much more and also shared what she experienced when she went somewhere for a day or was on vacation. She passed away years ago. But I still think about it often.
I am very happy with postcrossing and a penpal I recently met here on the forum. Otherwise my mailbox would remain empty almost all year round. I hope it changes in the future. That we will send more letters and cards in our private lives again, with friends and family, just like in the past.
What value do postcards and letters have in your social life, in your private life with friends and family?
Do you send postcards/letters to friends and family? How often and on what occasions?
Do you regularly receive postcards/letters from friends and family and how important is that to you?
Do postcards and letters have a social value for you in your private life?
Added 18-07 / 23:08:
What can we do to encourage family and friends to send mail now and then?