Letter writing is perfect for introverts — it allows you to connect with loved ones without draining your social battery.
It’s no secret that we live in an age of technological convenience. Technology offers introverts some helpful tools: schedule-sending emails can help us manage our energy reserves; texting and messaging allow us to stay in contact with loved ones with relative ease; the world of work is gradually moving toward more flexible hybrid or work-from-home options; and online bill-pay, appointment scheduling, shopping, and meal ordering makes completing the tasks of daily introvert living much more manageable.
But despite the omnipresence of technology in our lives and the multitude of benefits we gain from it, it can also be highly intrusive. Feeling constantly connected or “available” is not always healthy for introvert functioning, so it’s important to disengage from time to time. Some choose to do this by adopting “digital detox” or “technology cleanse” habits, which can include putting electronics away, turning notifications off, snoozing social media presences, and more. But sometimes, that’s only half the battle won.
There are many activities, practices, and hobbies introverts can do that aren’t reliant upon technology in any way. During these periods of digital detoxing, one of the most rewarding activities to try is letter writing. Even though it may seem counterintuitive in an increasingly digital age to sit down at a desk and pen a letter to someone, there are many benefits to re-popularizing this “old-fashioned” mode of communication, especially for introverts.
6 Reasons Why Letter Writing Is an Ideal Introvert Hobby
1. Writing is therapeutic and personally fulfilling.
There’s something about pressing pen to paper that allows the mind to flow freely through thought, which is why many therapeutic approaches include some type of journaling or freewriting. Letter writing can have the same effect: It’s a way to physically move thoughts from your head to an entirely different space, where it’s easier to untangle them.
If you’ve had a rough day or a fraught interaction and have had trouble distancing yourself from it, try writing your thoughts out to either a real or fictional recipient. The act of doing so can help us process difficult ideas and feelings while also practicing self-care. It’s a great way to get to know yourself better, too, since it supports the development of a personal style.
2. It allows you to connect with loved ones without draining your social battery.
As introverts, we all experience the seemingly impossible conundrum of wanting to connect with those we care about, but not always having the energy needed to follow through with a chat in real time. Sometimes even picking up the phone to call, text, or video chat someone feels too overwhelming, and our intended sincerity gets lost in the mix.
So writing letters really is the perfect alternative: It allows you to feel connected to a person — to “talk” to them on paper — even when you’re apart. It’s a non-intrusive form of socialization that can be done completely on your own time and in your own way. Not only that, but recipients will appreciate the time and effort that went into the letter, and may even regard it as a gift or keepsake for years to come. This unimposing form of communication can offer the best of both worlds to both writer and recipient.
3. Handwritten letters can be a creative art form.
Written letters are not only a pleasure to read, but they can also be a highly sensory experience for senders and recipients. In many ways, a letter is an encapsulated piece of art: The marriage of handwriting, paper textures, ink colors, illustrations, and paper/envelope embellishments provide a veritable mini-museum of personal touches. And the variety of types, colors, and styles of paper might look, feel, or even smell different much in the same way that physical books do.
Choice of pen can also add to this sensory experience — pen ink can be different colors, thicknesses, or even boast a particular scent! Plus, there are plenty of resources that allow you to get really creative with your writing by offering unique stationery, calligraphy tools, embellishments, wax seals, and the like, to really make your letters stand out as more than just scribblings on scrap paper.
Next time you’re looking for a unique creative outlet you can do solo, see where letter writing takes you.
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4. It’s a convenient way to “disconnect to connect.”
While our phones and the plethora of other digital devices we have at our fingertips can be used as tools of connection, their omnipresence can be incredibly invasive. Putting the phone away, muting it, or disconnecting it for a while — in favor of writing a letter — allows us to explore a different method of connection that doesn’t involve scrolling through social media, answering phone calls and text messages, or responding to notifications.
And many introverts may find that this way of connecting is much more rewarding and intentional than sending a string of heart emojis over a phone screen. It can give us a much-needed break from the mentally taxing world of social media and allows us to focus only on ourselves and those closest to us.
5. It’s a low-commitment method of chronicling what’s important.
As much as we all hope to write bestselling memoirs someday, or even find a spare moment to work on the elusive family photo album/scrapbook project, sometimes life gets busy and we don’t have the resources to devote to such a daunting project. Enter letter writing, which is an easy, enjoyable, and accessible way of connecting to, and chronicling, someone’s life — whether that be your own or someone else’s.
Letter writing allows us to capture moments in time, memories, recipes, stories, and even just the mundane practices of daily living that would otherwise be forgotten. When you compile letters written over weeks, months, or even years, a picture of a life begins to emerge in no time at all, which is why you’ll find so many books featuring the “collected letters” or “correspondence” of famous individuals on the shelves. Best of all, this low-commitment undertaking can be done easily from the comfort of your own home! Why not try your hand at chronicling a life through letters?
6. It’s a great gift for introverts to give others.
Few people would be apathetic about receiving a personal letter amid the daily onslaught of bills, junk mail, and notices often sent through the mail. If you’re writing to someone for the first time or infrequently, a letter may come as a welcome surprise to a recipient who isn’t used to receiving something personal in the mail. If you’re writing to someone regularly, it gives the recipient something fun to look forward to, and is a wonderful way to appreciate the importance of time, effort, and patience in a society where most everything is instant (and therefore lacks the element of anticipation/suspense that can be so delightful to experience). Because of this, it’s also a great way for introverts, who often focus on what’s thoughtful/meaningful, to give gifts.
If someone you love is far away (or even nearby!), sending a letter for a special occasion is an excellent way to make their day, let them know you’re thinking of them, and give them a unique gift they can reread, cherish, and use to mark an important moment. Likewise, it’s a great reminder that gifting doesn’t have to be extravagant to be meaningful… focused time and attention are gifts, too!
“Snail mail” doesn’t have to be an activity of the past — in fact, it offers introverts many benefits that capitalize on their natural strengths and needs. So instead of jumping on yet another Zoom call or trying to elbow your way in on a chaotic family group chat, why not try your hand at writing your thoughts out, adding some personal touches, and sending it along to someone else? You never know — you may just end up gaining a pen-pal and developing a new introvert-friendly hobby!