Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pen Friends, Where Are They Now?

Yesterday I found myself thinking about the pen friends I used to correspond with via good old 'snail mail'. I wrote to friends who lived only 20 minutes away and then there were friends who lived far away and, I loved writing to each one of them. At what point did I stop sending and receiving letters? What happened? Was there a letter lost in the post, did someone move address, did we lose interest in writing, did busy lives, study and jobs get in the way or, was it technology?
When I moved to Darwin I remember writing to my nanna but sadly she has since passed away. Grandparents are great people to write letters to. Its what they know and its what they did in their day. But I've entered a stage in my life where close relatives are slowly quickly passing away. I've already lost two grandparents in 12 months - but that's for another post. Like our elderly, handwritten letters are fading too. The only other person I currently write to is our sponsor child. 

There's an element of mystery when you write to a friend who you may have only met in the flesh once or twice, and the reason you met was because you were both at the same place for a common reason or interest, a mutual friend even. You know that you both have at least one thing in common. Through each letter received and written there's an unfolding of a special friendship and you're learning about that person with anticipation. 
Today, we seem to stalk for friends on Facebook and hit the 'add friend' button in hope you'll be granted 'instant' friendship. You then scour their profile in attempt discover who they are, photo by photo, status by status, you 'instantly' make up you're own judgement of that person and, who you think they are based on what they have posted. Obviously I do believe a profile says a lot about a person but its all surface knowledge, it's not a close friendship its an acquaintance who we met once and then proceeded to add them on Facebook... to never have another proper conversation with! 
Okay, so maybe some of you use Facebook chat but how often do you chat online with someone you only met once with? Do you get what I'm saying? Friendship on Facebook just isn't deep or intimate enough if you're really wanting to get to know someone and form a close friendship with. 
Social media is merely a stepping stone to close friendship. Other efforts need to be made. That's right, I just said 'effort'. It's too easy to be a Facebook friend, its clicking buttons at your fingertips every so often. A 'like' here and a 'like' there, maybe a comment even.
If there's one thing I've learnt its that friendships require building on and effort (effort you want to put in). Its taking initiative, its making a call, arranging a coffee date, its a meal at your home (which I fail miserably to do) and maybe its a personal handwritten letter. It's making sure you water the seed that was planted so that it grows beautiful and strong. 

I'm feeling like this post is starting to sway from 'writing letters' and turning into a rant about Facebook (which you can read here) but what I'm trying to get across is this:

I miss taking the time to write a letter to a friend. I miss building a friendship through letters and than eagerly looking forward to the day we meet again in person. I miss writing a letter to someone who lives in the same city but who I don't see often. The 21st century is in great need of quality time!



Post a Comment