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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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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