We need to have a chat about something that has been plaguing me for a couple of months now. The first time, it was kind of cute and I said, “Aww, these college women are so adorable. I love all the same things about my Big Sis/Mom/High School Best Friend!” It got less cute over time. I don’t love your open letters.
Technically, we are part of the same generation but we are still quite different. You don’t remember what it was like to grow up without a computer in your house, let alone without the Internet or the presence of cell phones. I do. I didn’t get a computer in my house until I was seven, and I didn’t get Internet until I was 11. My first cell phone was a Nokia and I didn’t receive that until I was 15 and under no circumstances was I allowed to text. We didn’t have social media, we didn’t get to see our selfies until they got developed at the drug store, and if we weren’t communicating face to face, we at least communicated over long landline phone calls or instant messages. You all didn’t get to experience that. Communication has been oversimplified for you to the point that you address people in sweeping generalizations by simply clicking “share.”
I’m not sorry to launch this tirade, because I need all of you to understand how unacceptable this trend is. The open letter is the most noncommittal, informal, cheap and ghastly way to express oneself. Sharing that open letter because it speaks to you on some level is even worse.
If you feel a certain way toward someone, yes, by all means you should tell them what they mean to you. However, doing so in the form of an open letter is not at all genuine. It’s not personal. It essentially means nothing. In order to express how you feel about someone, it’s best to express it in a more private manner. The person you’re addressing will know in no uncertain terms that the message is meant for them, and they will feel more connected to you (and you will feel more connected to them). It’s best done face to face, but a text or DM will suffice if you must. The ultimate way to relay your intended message is by sending a handwritten letter via snail mail. THAT will make your boyfriend’s mom feel far more special than tagging her in the comment section of an open letter. THAT will get the attention of the guy who broke your heart, because I guarantee he didn’t see that you shared an open letter on your timeline (and if he did, he scrolled past it without ever realizing you were attempting to get his attention because it never occurred to him that you were referring to him. Or he’s just as sick as I am of these incessant open letters, but I digress).
You’re probably thinking, but Meaghan, why are YOU sending US an open letter? Because I don’t know you personally. That’s the purpose of a true open letter; to address someone you do not know personally because you do not have any other legitimate means to reach them. The people you all are addressing are people that have touched your lives in some way, for better or worse. They deserve a lot more effort than you’ve given them. If you feel strongly enough about them to write or share an open letter on a public forum, you feel strongly enough about them to address them without an audience.
Not to mention that the rest of us simply do not care. Say it to them or keep it to yourself, but ffs leave the public out of it.