My resolution this year is to connect with some of my long-distance friends who I haven’t talked with in a while. I plan to do that through snail mail! 

I can text and call a few of my friends, but sometimes we like to communicate through hand-written letters. This is just one example letter I wrote to a friend.

Dear Megan,

Hey! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been meaning to send letters to you more often, but I’ve been busy and… well, I forgot. I was hoping we could start this up again since it’s been a while and you’re one of my best friends. 

I’ve been doing well, and I hope you have too. Quarantine has been hard and I hope that you haven’t been affected by COVID too badly. It’s been hard not being able to see all of my friends down here in Colorado. How are your pets, Sprinkles and Summer? I’m sure they love the fact that you’re home most of the time. I hope B and A are doing well too. B’s in 6th grade now right? And A’s in 7th?

Anyway, how’s your leg doing? It’s probably healed up by now, but I remember you said you would have to do therapy. Did they let you keep the cast? I broke my wrist in 5th grade and they didn’t let me keep the cast. 

I’ve been busy with school this year. All of my teachers are amazing—except for one of my teachers, who treated us like kindergarteners—and I’ve started getting ready for high school. I don’t think I’m ready yet. It’s going to be a big change. Our main high school here is huge compared to the middle school I go to now. I tried to do competitive piano this year (I tried last year too, but our recital was canceled because of COVID), but I decided not to since it was just going to be over Zoom. Are you still taking piano lessons with Mrs. L? She was the greatest piano teacher ever, and I loved how she taught! And it was also awesome that her piano studio was right next to the beach and the cute little library! 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently, you know I love my books! I’ve also been playing a lot of soccer during the quarantine. Our soccer team is going to play in a tournament!! I’m so excited since I get to go with one of my closest teammates! I haven’t been out rock climbing since I would have to be really careful with touching hand-holds and being in a gym. Throughout all of this, I’ve still found time to do art-I remember going to painting lessons with you on weekends! I got acrylic paints and new canvases for Christmas, so I decided to paint my dog, A (he loved to play with Sprinkles and Summer), and the newest member of my family, a grey kitten named Nutmeg! She’s so adorable and I hope you can come to visit sometime to meet her! We fostered her from the shelter after she got her front leg amputated, and then we decided to keep her. A doesn’t like her that much, but he sometimes lets her snuggle with him in her bed! My heart always melts when they cuddle together. 

One thing that I’ve been dying to tell you is I finally got my braces off!!! It felt super slimy and weird for a while, but I’ve gotten used to it. I hope you’ve been doing well and had a wonderful holiday season with lots of skiing and snowboarding up at the mountain! 

Sincerely, 

♡Amelia 

p.s. I really miss you and hope you get a letter back to me as soon as you can!!

This is only an example letter, but here are some tips on how to stay in touch or strengthen connections with new or old friends through letters (yes, actual mail!), texts, or emails:

Talk about things you both are interested in and things you both like so that one person isn’t feeling left out of the conversation.

My friend in the letter, Megan, is based on a real person who I am friends with now. We both really like art and enjoy painting, so in my letter, I talked about how I got new paints and canvases for Christmas. 

One thing I have tried with one of my soccer teammates is writing letters and asking each other fun questions.

We ask things like, ‘What is your dream job?’ and ‘What are your least favorite and favorite seasons and why?’ Through these questions, we’ve learned more about each other. Like she hates whipped cream and I hate asparagus! We’ve created a much stronger relationship as a result of this letter exchange. Plus, it’s fun to think of and answer the questions!

Ask your friends questions about things you don’t really know, but always make sure it’s something they would be comfortable answering.

In the letter I ask my friend Megan about her pets and her siblings, her piano teacher, and how her leg was doing after she broke it. It’s just small talk. Small talk can seem awkward sometimes, but I’ve found that over time it can strengthen a relationship!

Questions like, ‘How’s the weather out at your house?’ or ‘How was your bike ride earlier?’ can lead to engaging conversations on both ends!

Try to be as engaged in the conversation as possible by asking questions and focusing your attention.

Your friends or family members will listen to you more if you are engaged. Being a good listener will also make them feel like what they’re saying is valuable, because it is!

Even if your conversation is long distance or through your phone, be kind and give your friends compliments!

Tell them that you’ve always thought their rainbow socks were awesome or that you love how patiently they listen to you while you ramble on about something.

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