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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Concordia CA chapter.

When I first moved to Montreal to begin my studies at Concordia, I came from the other side of the continent. I had to leave behind many people I loved – people I had grown up with, who I had built relationships with entirely through the circumstance of school and our proximity to one another. Naively, I expected those friendships to remain unchanged by our new environments and the extensive distance between us. I had faith in this digital world that we live in; after all, this isn’t the 1980s. We have Skype and FaceTime, and social media for goodness sake! But throughout that first year, I realized my relationships would change regardless of how much we took advantage of online communication. Some friendships don’t translate online as well as others. For the first time in my life, I had to look for new and innovative ways to keep those friendships from drifting; so, I turned to letter-writing!

When I started writing letters to my friends, I was in a difficult transition in my life; I lived alone for the first time, and I was missing my high school friends who had faded from my life since moving. I can no longer remember if my friend or I first suggested that we start up a letter correspondence, but ever since it has entirely revived our friendship. Sometimes it just takes reviving an outdated form of communication to rekindle an old friendship!

Black woman writing at computer desk writing in journal notebook write natural work corporate african
Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

I’ve now been writing letters to my friends in the states for about two years, and I’ve got a thick stack of meticulously decorated envelopes sitting on my bookshelf to prove it. Now you might be thinking, ‘but letters aren’t a very efficient form of communication’, and I would argue that the very things that make them inefficient are precisely what makes letter-writing so charming. Letters are sentimental; they are physical manifestations of care. But most importantly, they give you the space to engage with your feelings in a way that is often discouraged by the fast-paced, instant gratification environment of social media. Letter-writing instead forces you to think through how you feel before committing it to paper. It encourages you to consider what you want to share with each of your friends. It’s so much more personal to write your thoughts down in individual letters, rather than say, post your innermost feelings on your “Close Friends” Instagram story (though I’m guilty of that too).  

I’m not saying you should delete your entire online presence and revert to Victorian methods of communication (not a terrible idea, but that would be inconvenient, to say the least). Instead, I think letter-writing is a great supplement to our online communication. The process of writing, sending, and receiving letters might initially seem like a hassle for its lengthiness (and let’s be real, for its cost). Still, there’s something so endearing about getting a letter in the mail from a faraway friend. You know they could have sent you a quick text, but instead, you’ve received a thoughtful, hand-written note that’s crossed counties or perhaps countries to end up on your doorstep.

Love letter with flowers
Pezibear on Pixabay

So if I’ve sold you on the charms of letter-writing and you’re thinking of giving it a shot, I suggest considering the type of things you might want to add in your letters to make it worth your while!

Because letter-writing is such a long-form type of communication, it’s worth it to get creative with your letters. If you’re an artist (and even if you’re not), include drawings wherever you can; make the outside of the envelope your masterpiece, or cover it in cutesy stickers. I doodle a bit on the envelope and then adorn it with stickers and washi tape. Find cute cards or stationery to write on, and consider what kind of flat things you might be able to fit in the envelope without exceeding 30g-50g (depending on how much you’re willing to pay). The kinds of things you can include are endless – music playlists, recipes, poems, hand-drawn bookmarks, tea bags, pressed flowers, etc. 

Most importantly, have fun with it! Don’t be afraid to show your friends how much they mean to you. Everyone loves getting letters in the mail, and they will appreciate all the love and effort you’ve put into it. After all, it’ll be worth it when you are surprised by a hand-written letter on your doorstep!

Marie Stow

Concordia CA '21

Marie is a fourth year student studying Film and English Literature, who enjoys reading YA novels and video editing in her spare time. Marie is passionate about queer issues, book-to-film adaptations, and overalls.
Kheyra King

Concordia CA '21

Kheyra King is a Montreal-born city girl studying English Literature at Concordia University. She is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Concordia and the Vice President of Recruitment of Delta Phi Epsilon. She loves coffee dates, traveling and pasta. You will definitely catch her studying at the local Starbucks or Webster Library.