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What You Never Realized When You Read a Postcard

What You Never Realized When You Read a Postcard

Thomas Aquinas wrote,

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

Nowadays, it’s all too easy to become a slave to convenience. We look to technology to make our lives simpler, but don’t seem to have more time for the things that we say are most important to us, like our friends.

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Previous generations used to communicate by letter, and it seems to have become a lost art. Sending an email or picking up the phone to make a call may get the message across, but it doesn’t have the same intimacy as picking up a pen and committing words to paper. Writing postcards may seem like an old-fashioned choice, but it can teach us some wonderful lessons about friendship.

I’ll Make Time for You

Sending someone a postcard is not the same thing as firing off an email or a text message. For one thing, you have to take the time to go to a store and select a postcard. What type of design will you choose to send to your friend? Will it be something whimsical or will you share an image from someplace you have visited on holiday? You have a number of options available to you.

You may even want to pick up several postcards at once so that you have a supply on hand in case you want to write a note and put it in the post. It’s a good idea to have a supply of stamps on hand as well so that you aren’t left looking for supplies in that instance.

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Once you have made your selection, you’ll need to think about what you want to say. Even though the space on a postcard is limited, you still have to think about what you want to convey to your friend. In these minutes (or however long it takes you to compose your message), your thoughts are focused on that other person. Your friend is at the top of your list then. Everyone should have someone who will take time out of their busy schedule, however briefly, to focus on them exclusively for just a little while.

I Care About You

Never, ever discount how much it means to someone to know that someone cares enough to send a personal message. Speaking by phone does have the advantage of being an immediate form of communication, but once the conversation is over, your friend will have to rely on his or her memory to relive it. With a postcard, the message can be read (and enjoyed) many times.

Your friend can even choose to show your postcard to his or her friends and family. Another option would be to display it on his or her desk or a bulletin board. The postcard is small enough that it can be carried in a purse or a briefcase, where it can be removed and read often.

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Email messages can be printed and kept, but they don’t have the same ambiance that a postcard does. It would be very easy to mistake this correspondence for a bill, a receipt or another ordinary piece of paper. It could easily be discarded with the rubbish, and you would be left with no memory of your friend’s thoughtfulness.

A postcard is a distinctive piece of correspondence that is unlikely to be mistaken for anything else. It is tangible proof that you can hold in your hand that someone cared enough about you to write a few words and send them to you. They are precious and should be preserved.

I’m Not Afraid to Stand Out from the Rest

Letter and postcard writing is becoming a lost art. Very few people take the time to pick up a pen and write anything anymore. Choosing to write to a friend in this manner shows him or her that you are a steady, rock-solid person who appreciates traditional values.

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If your friend had any doubts that you were the type of person who would stand out from the crowd, choosing to send a postcard is one way to make a definitive statement. What do you say on your postcard? You can share anything you wish. If you would put it in an email (and people share all kinds of intimate information electronically, despite the possibility that their email account could be hacked), you can write it on a postcard.

You Are Important to Me

We live in the digital age, and getting rid of something we don’t like or want to see anymore can come down to a few clicks or pressing a button. Writing a postcard sends the signal that you think more of your friend than that. You are saying quite clearly that they are an important part of your life.

You took time out of your day, evening or night to write something down and make a permanent record of it. You sent it to your friend in a form that they could keep and refer to as often as they wish. This is not something you would do for a person who meant nothing to you. The space on a postcard is limited, which means you don’t have to feel pressured to write a huge amount of text to get your point across.

The best messages can be very simple. Tell your friend something about what you’re doing, where you are going, or simply that you are thinking of him or her. You can tell you friend that you miss him or her, are having a great time visiting [x], wish he or she was here, will be coming to visit on [x] or whatever makes sense for the situation. Write a joke or say, “I love you.” As long as you are sharing something positive and uplifting, why not tell your friend what’s on your mind?

Small Gestures Can Make a Huge Impact

No one would accuse you of buying someone’s friendship by sending a simple postcard, but this simple gesture of reaching out in friendship by writing a few words on a card can certainly make an excellent impression on a friend. It’s an easy way to let someone you care for know that they are special to you. Just about everyone likes receiving personal mail, and very few people take the time to send anything in this manner anymore. If you want to make a positive impression on your friend and let him or her know you care, take some time out of your day and send a personal greeting. You’ll be glad you did.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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