Could something this simple revolutionise relationships? 59



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If there was one thing that I’ve learnt from my life, it is that the smallest gestures of human kindness and consideration go further than anything else when wanting to connect with another person. I didn’t think about this much until I sat down to write a thank you letter to a friend of mine this week after she had a few others and myself over for a spontaneous dinner party.

I’ve been aware that I’m the only one in my friendship circles that writes letters for quite a while. Yes, I receive Christmas cards at Christmas time and yes, my family mails me a post card while they’re enjoying life overseas but the art of taking time out of our busy lives to make a gesture in thanks is gone. The text message, the Facebook post and even worse – the lack of thanks have replaced it all.

The thing that worries me most about this is that whether we see it as a big issue or not, the change in our style of communication is having a profound effect on relationships.

Gone are the days when a girl would receive a handwritten letter from a young man – a true indicator of his feelings when he takes the time to neatly write to her. And instead, we have text messages with little emotion and little meaning that can be flicked away in just a few seconds.

Gone are the days when a handwritten letter of thanks is sent from one businessman to another, after an introduction, a deal or a function just to reach out and show true gratitude. Instead, an email is sent, often but a secretary or assistant and it is considered enough.

When I helped my parents to clear out their home before they moved into their retirement village, we spent days as a family clearing out and sorting out their old things, getting ready to downsize. Amongst the boxes of old trinkets and treasures, I found a box of letters that had been written to my mother before they became a relic.

There were letters saying thank you for things, letters just catching up, letters requesting help, letters to say I love you and letters quite simply gossiping. They were all indicative of the era my mother grew up in, but the interesting thing is that every letter I found and (with permission) read, was from someone I know my mother has had a friendship with. They were all from people who are around today.

Our disposable society of this century has gone far past our belongings, electronics and toys. These days, people look at friendships, spouses and relationships as disposable too. So could there be a link between the fact that our interactions with those who matter these days are limited, impersonal and brief, whereas once upon a time to communicate with someone, it took effort, time and consideration and our nonchalant approach to holding relationships together?

If society today begun taking the time and care to express our feelings in a personal and considerate way, we might find ourselves holding onto more friendships and more relationships. It simply makes us value each other more, feel appreciated and appreciate others.

I feel like if we live like our parents did, and communicate with heart and meaning once again, we can revolutionise relationships – of marriages, of friendships and of businesses and create a culture that cares once more.


Do you still write letters? Do you think we’ve lost meaning and care in our communication these days? Share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Oh so true! I still enjoy writing Thankyou notes and now that my grandchildren are beginning to read, I enjoy writing letters, sometimes on the computer so that I can insert a photo and then post it to them.

  2. You’re probably right to a certain extent however I’m quite happy with a text or email to wish me good luck Merry Xmas happy birthday etc particularly from people who lead such busy lives as we all seem to nowadays. I keep in contact with my 4 sisters thru our private FB group and it’s great to be such a close part of their extended lives . Same with other family members and friends. I have had 2 relationships in the last 10 years which was fantastic with the advent of IM/PM and texting as an icebreaker and also the fact that you can gain insight to personalities this way and get to know people more fully. I don’t have enough time in my life to be going to the post office lol

  3. When I was 17 I moved to NZ for an 18 month working holiday. While I was there – and since – I have kept a treasure box of cards and letters from family and friends. I’m so glad I did as my father, grandmother and aunt passed away while I was there and now I still have beautiful keepsakes from all of them, along with others who have since passed away, including my mother.
    Only last week I sent a card telling my daughter how much she means to me – it didn’t take much but hopefully it will be something she wants to keep so that when I’m gone she has a tangible reminder of how I feel.
    I think it’s sad that this habit has seemed to fade away as a heartfelt letter or card personalised by familiar handwriting means so much more than an informal cold email even if the words written are from the heart.

  4. I received a post card from my grand daughters yesterday telling me what they are doing in Queensland for their holidays. We always send postcards to,each other. Also must say that we email often to. And the email is written in letter form.

  5. Yes that was when we had time for each other, now its like a storm, every one is just busy and no time for communicating – very sad!!!

  6. I’m perfectly happy with a text or an email – at least they’re usually legible. And they’re affordable for the sender When thank you notes became something you had to write on an expensive cards that needed an excursion to buy and a second excursion to buy a stamp and post, the whole thing became too commercialised, like Christmas and Birthday cards.

    Saying thank you is important. How you do it is not.

  7. I think that by using the computer to email, can be just as good as sending a written letter, in some cases these days, but I still write and send birthday, Easter and christmas greetings and letters to family and friends , as well as emails and texts.

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  8. I know i am guilty on all counts and agree whole heartly that we should go back in time with all this technology

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