New Post Office research has revealed that one in two Brits has never sent a love letter. However, the study does include some hope; seventy-seven per cent of people felt that love letters are making a comeback.
When I was a boy, in the days before the internet, writing a love letter was a big deal, it took courage, effort and a steady hand. One wrong word or a spelling mistake would result in a scrunched-up piece of paper, a deep breath and a complete restart. But that was what made writing a love letter special, it showed the person you were sending it to that you cared and your effort was there for them to see and hold.
To this day, after twenty years of marriage, my wife and I treasure the ones we sent to each other, and even today, we still write them. Love letters were once the staple currency of every romance; now, in an age of tech and instant response messaging, the simple art of writing one seems to have been lost.
To help bring back the ‘passion’ for writing love letters, the Post Office has teamed up with poet Elvis McGonagall and shared their top tips to help pen the perfect love letter. Before we get to the tips, let’s look at the results of the research:
What the research uncovered
Just one in two Brits (50 per cent) have written and sent a love missive in the post, while a third (31 per cent) of young Brits (aged 18 to 29) feel it is old-fashioned. The Post Office research also found that a third (33 per cent) would be embarrassed to send a note, while one in three (31 per cent) think it is easier to send a text.
However, the Post Office research did uncover some more positive trends, and that is three-quarters (77 per cent) of those polled agreed that love letters are making a comeback.
With research showing that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of Brits wouldn’t know what to write and one in six (19 per cent) unsure of how to express their feelings well enough, some help is needed and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, here are some simple tips on how to write the perfect letter of love.
Be yourself – Write in your own everyday voice. Be extravagant or be mundane – it doesn’t matter as long as it means something to you or is special to your loved one.
Take your time – Slow down and give the letter your full attention. That doesn’t mean you need to write volume after volume, less is always more, but it takes time to be concise. Give it some thought, write a draft and read it out loud, then get down to the Post Office!
Be bold – A third of us admit we’d be too embarrassed to send a love letter. We fear rejection; we feel self-conscious and full of doubt. Throw any embarrassment out the window and show your feelings.
Don’t be twee – Try to avoid moonlight, roses and fluffy bunny rabbits etc. Lose the clichés and speak from the heart.
Be sincere – Write from your heart, think of it as just talking, and say the things you might be too tongue-tied to say in person. Don’t be tempted to get your friend who fancies themselves as a wordsmith to write it for you; it won’t ring true.
Gifting in place of writing
When it comes to expressing their love, the nation is more comfortable sending gifts, with four in ten (40 per cent) planning to lavish their loved one with a present this Valentine’s Day, spending an average of £35.
One in six (15 per cent) will buy something in person and then add a personal note before sending it to their love, while 13 per cent will get something online before adding a personal note and then sending it in the post.
Half (49 per cent) of Brits admit they are reluctant to send a gift this year due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Of those who have received a love letter (50 per cent), half (55 per cent) felt happy, loved (47 per cent), delighted (36 per cent) and surprised (32 per cent). A third (30 per cent) admitted they were giddy with excitement, while one in ten (12 per cent) were left shocked.
Half (51 per cent) of the 2,000 polled by the Post Office agreed that a handwritten letter is more personal and thoughtful, while 41 per cent believe it shows that the person has taken the time to think about their loved one.
For a third (37 per cent), love letters are the most romantic gesture, while a fifth (19 per cent) think it is the ultimate declaration of love.
Laura Joseph, Post Office Customer Experience Director, commented, “Our research has shown that the art of the love letters is dying out across the UK, with many of us too embarrassed or unsure about how to show our feelings to loved ones on paper.”
“Valentine’s Day is a busy time in branches as Brits post parcels and letters to loved ones. Whilst they might not be able to help pen the perfect note, our Postmasters are on hand to help meaningful gifts and romantic love letters get to their destination.”
“For any last-minute romantics, Royal Mail’s Special Delivery Guaranteed service with next day delivery will ensure gifts and love letters arrive in time.”
Elvis McGonagall said, “Research from the Post Office has shown that half of the British public have never sent a love letter. I’d guess that a similar number have never known the thrill of receiving one in amongst the bills and brown envelopes on the doormat.
“This is such a shame because a love letter is a beautiful thing. A permanent expression of feelings in a transient, digital world, a wonderful gift.”
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