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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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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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