012914_Correspondence_HED

Consider it an unintended side effect of the digital age: today, mailing someone a handwritten note is as important as it’s ever been.

See, instead of deeming the handwritten note obsolete, the modern conveniences of email, Twitter and Snapchat have made the mere act of putting pen to pad, licking an envelope and searching for the nearest mailbox a truly monumental event. It conveys the communiqué’s higher level of import to both the sender and receiver. And you ought to know how to do it right—from the card stock to the stamp…

Herewith, a modern man’s guide to correspondence.

The Occasion: Here’s where it all begins—something has happened and you’re searching for the right way to respond. For the most part, you’ll know when it’s time to break out the stationery. Usually a major life event has occurred, like a wedding, a death or a move to a region with no Internet connection. (If it’s something they’re okay with sharing on Facebook, a “like” will probably suffice.) Another good rule of thumb is to always send a thank-you when you’ve received a gift and not opened it in the presence of the giver.

The Card: This is key. It’s the physical manifestation of your sentiments—what your friend will be holding and squinting at to read your endearing and heartfelt pigeon scratch. A solid, plain card stock is never wrong. A monogram or letter-pressed elk’s head is always a nice touch. Glitter is acceptable, but only for very joyous occasions.

The Address: Don’t forget, you’re going to need this person’s IRL address. If there’s an “@” in there, you’re doing it wrong. Use the one with numbers and words like “Way” and “Commonwealth” and a five-digit zip code at the end. #Protip

The Stamp: Usually a nonissue, but it does feel somewhat weird sending your condolences emblazoned with a bright green peace stamp. So try and have a variety at your disposal—or visit the post office (yes, there are still such things).

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar