Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

I used to send out lots of cards over the holiday season. Yes, it costs a bit for postage and also takes time to address each card and write a message. But it was also nice to send people good wishes. I also love to receive the mailed cards as they make my apartment look more festive. I have a perfect space to hang them. But over the years my festive cards have dwindled. Why? E-cards!

I don’t like them because for me, they depersonalize the wishes behind a card. One year I actually got an email from a good friend directing me to a site where she’d chosen 3 cards that I could choose from! That one email was sent to dozens of people on her mailing list. Impersonal doesn’t even do justice to how I felt. It was addressed to “my friends and colleagues.” I know she’s busy but this seemed the height of cutting corners.

I could even see her sending a group card to people she worked with and acquaintances. But I do feel that close friends deserve at least an individual card instead of lumping everyone she knows together for one big wish and giving us a choice of cards. And what can you do with an e-card after you read it on the site it’s on? I can’t put it with my other cards as it’s in my computer. Plus, getting an e-card means I have to go to the site and follow instructions, which takes time.

I remember the first time I got an e-card from a guy I’ve worked with for years. We always exchanged real cards, with a little note. I was disappointed to receive an email telling me where to go for the card he sent me. It just had his name on it. No personal wishes. I know he didn’t mean to slight me. He was just trying to save time. After 2 years of getting e-cards from him I stopped sending him mailed ones. And since I don’t send e-cards, that was the end of our holiday exchange.

I’ve considered printing them out to hang up but it’s not the same as hanging a card so I don’t.

In this age of fast paced electronic communication, I’m saddened by how people are taking the easy route for sending good wishes. I have a friend who I often don’t speak to for months, but every year since I’ve known him he’s called me on my birthday. He’s super busy but he always made time to make the call and it meant a lot to me. Two years ago he sent an e-card instead. I felt disappointed not to get his usual call. Since then the e-cards continue and I feel disconnected from him.

I do think there’s a place for electronic wishes. I’ve gotten them from people who don’t normally send cards but found out it’s my birthday and quickly sent an e-card. That felt like a nice gesture. But if you want to make a good impression or show people you care, send a real card. As I said in my post on Thank You Notes, personal notes stand out more in this day of electronic communication and will help strengthen connections to people you want to feel good about you. I’m not angry or negative toward people who send e-cards. I know folks are busy. But I really appreciate the real cards I get even more!

Sending a real card in the mail tells the person you think they were worth buying a card, writing something inside and mailing it to them. That can solidify your relationships, both personal and professional.
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Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge –a pledge to start your year by doing something kind for yourself for the first 31 days of January–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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