Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Long vs short

Which are better - long or short letters? I've found this being a controversial subject in penpalling world. And I'm not going to write about it because to each their own, we all have different preferences and definitions of what's long what's not. That's not my point. But I've always in such discussions seen the argument "long letters can be boring too". And I'm always astonished with that assumption. I have a feeling that people have in mind "diary entries" that some confuse with letters. But that can be both in case of long as well as short letters. However if a letter is a letter - that is discussion, in which people refer to the points made by the other party, how can long be boring? I have never ever got a boring long letter maybe that's why it's difficult for me to understand. I had discussions on so many subjects with my penpals: books, history, travels, feelings, vegetarianism, beliefs, death, psychological things, views on any possible topics plus daily life as well. It takes a lot of space on paper. But how much information about someone is that! Not only what they read but why they do or don't like the book, not only where they've been but all details about the place and trip, not only what they believe in but why, not only what they've done but also how they felt about it. Details, reasons, feelings. Tonnes of words, sheets and sheets of paper, new questions and new ideas. Long. Boring? No way! I refuse to accept "long letters can be boring too" argument. In case someone who prefers short letters gets angry with this post, I'll say it's not a post against short letters, everyone knows best from their own experience if they make good friends with someone and have interesting conversations regardless the lenght of their letters. It's just to underline the fact that long letters aren't day descriptions and those who are only interested in long letters are not some arrogant people that set rules about the lenght of letters. They are not the people who write what they ate for dinner and what shoes they bought last Saturday but discuss this and that. In this case can it be boring to know as much as possible about a friend?


  1. I thought "long" letters were about 4 pages typewritten, which many of my letters are, until I got a THIRTY page (typewritten) letter from someone who told me her complete medical and relationship history, her feuds with relatives and an incredible outpouring of just about everything about her life from birth to present.

    I'm sorry, but THAT was boring.

  2. Bev I think its worth keeping in mind that with type letters a lot of people just copy and paste huge chunks of it which is when it is boring. I've received such letters and in some cases they've answered so of my letter but majority of it doesn't make sense to me because they've acted like they've told me those things in the past.

    I used to only want long letters but now I have some mediumish letters and enjoy those too as it depends on the way a person writes things and how much they tell you about a topic. I write a mixture of letters myself as it depends on how much I have to reply to... I love the 2 way conversation type.

  3. ^true that. Whenever the "letter" is one sided with no relation to what other person sais is boring or senceless. But if it's the normal way - as in conversation, then the two people talk about what interests them and however much they write can't boring... I think.

    I have medium lenght penpals too and I love them dearly!!!^^

    I don't want to prove anything here or provoke a short letters vs long letters argument regardless the title:P I just don't understand why long letter could be wrong?

  4. I don't think the length of the letters have anything to do with whether they are boring or not. Honestly, I think it has more to do with the content.

    Personally, I have a lot of medium length penpals. I love it. Its like learning about them in little snippets. I like to think of it like a movie learn a draws you in and then...CLIFF HANGER! Haha. Though I will admit, I have a few people that I write to who write long letters and those are nice too. Even when there is no mystery to them. =)

    This was an awesome idea for a post. Very thought provoking.

  5. This has been quite an eye-opener. No more long letters for me. There are times when answering directly from someone's letter makes the reply longer.

    I think I am going to call it quits after December. Your post and some of the comments have removed the scales from my eyes. :I Many thanks.

  6. I agree that long letters are never boring, because I have pen pals I know only since this spring or summer, but it already feels as if it been years and we met countless times. And all thanks to letters, because we are talking about everything. Most of them love tea, all of them loves books, some love anime, horses-we share many hobbies and talk, talk, talk and I can't wait for their next replies. Of course, I even have more philosophic discussions about life, e.g. ''why people give up on their dreams'' :)
    Somehow it feels like your effort wasn't noticed if you write and receive a short reply. It doesn't make me happy...
    And I don't even want to hear about typed letters. To put it blunt, it's just copy-paste.
    Also, I want to thank you for this post, it even opened a discussion :)