Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

Etiquette 101:Put it in (hand)writing, restoring the art of correspondence.

LOL, LMBO, TTYL? This is the type of communication that we are now subjected to. No one takes the time to really communicate anymore. We receive “bytes” of conversation, there are no real connections being established. We are generous on our social media pages with words about nothing; “I am at McDonalds getting chicken mcnuggets,” “Just had my 3rd diet coke,” “why won’t Jason call me back?” ad nauseaum On the other hand, we are stingy with real communication with each other; we spit out a “LOL” at someone’s funny joke instead of savoring the richness of the humor and giving a complete response and now it seems to be a bother to even utilize a two-letter word! If someone say texts us and says “ I am going to be 10 minutes late”, do we say “Ok”? No, we just send back a “k”. I understand that there are times when we have to give a brief response, given the situation, but really, are we THAT busy all of the time?

Although technology has made it easier to communicate with people, I believe it has detached us from really connecting with people on a healthy level. I used to love getting letters in the mail, there was something so refreshing about receiving written correspondence from friends, family, and a few loves of mine. Though this was just before email, it was still a nice surprise nonetheless and I have a feeling that some people today would enjoy receiving a written note or letter on occasion. I want to offer a few suggestions to encourage us to look for opportunities when we can apart from verbal communication utilize handwritten correspondence with those important to us. I know it is easier and faster to email, but I just ask you to consider this as another option.

Regular Correspondence

If it is something that does not need an immediate response, why not break out that lovely cursive you had to suffer in 3rd grade to master? Drop a letter in the mail to a friend or family member. I know, I can hear some people saying to you, “ why didn’t you just email me?” just tell them you needed the practice and to enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Love Letters

Ah, yes, the cream of correspondence if you ask me. One of my favorite moments involving a love letter was from the movie, Little Women starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale. Laurie is pursuing Amy March , but another man is courting her. Laurie sends a letter to Amy stating his intentions:

“Amy, it is you that I want…I have gone to London to work for my uncle to make myself worthy of you. Don’t so anything we will both regret.”

Since the movie is set in the late 1800’s the letter was hand delivered to her Aunt’s residence in Paris where she was living. I swoon every time I watch the scene and it is so much better than being e-maintained ( My suggestion is to mail a letter of love to your sweetheart or slip it in a place you know they are sure to find it if you are married or live together. For the ladies a dab of your most expensive perfume is always a nice touch. One of my male friends is deep into the Victorian Era so we love to exchange notes in the tone of that era, it is such a delight!

Thank You Note

Somewhere in life, you are going to receive gifts or invitations to weddings and other events and depending how relaxed your circle of friends and family is, it is easy to shoot a text or a brief email thanking people for their generosity and that is ok sometimes, but it says a lot when people receive a handwritten note of thanks in the mail from you, it sends the message (especially in this day and time) that you took the time to think of them. A well-written thank you note has 6 components:

Step 1 — Greeting
Step 2 — Express your gratitude for the gift, invitation, job interview, etc.
Step 3 — Elaborate (if you say something specific about the act or gift, your sentiments are much more heart felt..”)
Step 4 — Compliment and look ahead (“I enjoyed your company for lunch and you looked wonderful! I can’t wait to start reading this book you gave me.”)
Step 5 — Restate your gratitude (a simple, “thank you or thanks again” is sufficient)
Step 6 — Close and give your regards (love, sincerely, warm regards, etc.)

If you are still attached to e-correspondence because like fast food it is quick and easy, a nice motivation might be to order for yourself some nice stationery with your monogram or your name in your complimentary colors. I love to melt sealing wax and press a stamped image on the back of my letters and notes like they did with parchments in ancient times, but whatever you chose to express your thoughts, just put your pen to paper once in a while and write, and when you are done, say “good-bye” or give your “Warm regards” and give the TTYL a rest!

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