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Love Letters

People are often hesitant to write or send love letters. The myths of love letters prevent most of us from every sending them. Nearly anyone can create a compelling love letter. The hints below aim to demystify love letter writing and offer suggestions for writing more interesting and unique love letters.

Be Short.  There is a common myth that love letters have to be long and deep.  Most relationships and romances are better served by a more regular diet of short love letters than by the occasional epic communique. The best love letter is one that gets sent, not the one that languishes on your desk because it is too brief.
Reference Shared History. Reference a funny or significant aspect of a recent exchange, be it a trip to Europe, watching a movie together, or, a phone call. Adding a shared history element to a love letter gives it a longer "shelf life,” when read weeks or months later it will have some context and more meaning. It is also an indication that you are paying attention to times of significance in the connection.
Use Word Play. You don't have to be a poet to write a good love letter, but some common poetic devices are easy to learn. Alliteration is the repetition of the same letter or sound to create a sense of flow and emphasis. Smiles, Strange, Silly, Strong could easily be the text of an entire love letter. Similes and metaphors, the comparison of two seemingly unlike objects, can be either beautifully romantic or delightfully silly, and sometimes both.

Offer Compliments and Appreciations. Avoid routine compliments in favor of more specific and unique phrases. A beautiful woman is often told she's beautiful- be the person who tells her you enjoy debating politics with her, or enjoy her writing style, or love singing aloud to cheesy country songs with her. Instead of or in addition to compliments, consider conveying the things that you appreciate about him: his kind manner, dedication to activism, attention to his kids.

Respond in Kind. If the person you are interested in sends you a love letter, your response should correspond with theirs.  Use the topics they bring up as invitations to discuss these more. Respond in the same length and style: if they go long feel encouraged to be lengthy, if they are light and quick then keep it in this style and tone, if they are cryptic then be mysterious.  One place you can always upgrade is legibility.  If they have terrible handwriting, do not follow with scrawl.
Make an Offer or Request.  Think about what you are asking for from your note and include it in a fairly direct way.  It is often a request to get together again, with some specific suggestion. “Let's play kickball together” is a much more interesting and exciting request than “Let's hang out sometime.”

Be Daring.  Romance is a fundamentally risky business: you risk getting hurt or hurting someone you care for. Love letters (though not necessarily the first couple) are great formats for being a bit daring. Check assumptions, make a guess, challenge your partner and yourself.

Check out our Resources page for dozens of examples of love letters, classic sonnets and blog entries, joyous and angry, brief and long.
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