The power of email

Here’s a really weird thing I’ve noticed about social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc. are supposed to bring people, information and opinions closer to you. But this is also completely generic. There is no way we can be emotionally intimate with 1014 people all over the world, some of whom we have met only once, some we have added only because they are friends of friends and so on. We mirror this behavior in the real world by having circles of friends, and then even smaller circles of “closer” friends.

I’ve decided to send an email to two friends whom I haven’t seen for three months, and who are close to me. One was an extremely dear friend from back home who decided to keep her email account alive only because I refused to join Facebook until way into freshman year of college. We speak to each other very frequently and the emotional support that she provides me with makes me feel truly blessed to have her in my life. The other person is one of the most positive people I’ve met at college. She is so gentle, kind, positive, enthusiastic and artistic that I find it a sheer joy to be with her. She never fails to spread love to everyone and even though I realize that her medical sabbatical is necessary, I miss her. I always wondered what people thought about me when I wasn’t around, and now that these people weren’t around, I wanted to let them know that they matter to me.

I was a bit afraid to send out the emails, actually. I wanted to talk about my life and how things were going, but most of the words seemed to be related to stress and pain and worry, and I did not want to bring negativity to a person’s inbox. I ended up writing about absolutely random things in an incoherent mash of questions about them, opinions about improving the weather and unnecessarily detailed discourses about food. I didn’t want to seem superficial by telling them that “everything’s fine”, so I told them how despite everything I was trying to stay happy.

If I had my way I would have sent a hand-written letter, because nothing could be more intimate than that. But killing a tree, searching for varying addresses and delays in arrival made me stick to a digital medium. An email is the most private message that I could think of.  Obviously, I’m not talking about the kind of emails that arrive with 1000000 people in CC/BCC or carry the “FWD:” tag in subject lines. But I hoped to convey a lot more in the private audience that an email affords, than something that could be lost in the crowd, like a Facebook message.

I got back replies instantly. It makes my day to know that I have made two people feel special.The distance between us has somewhat affected our emotional proximity, but I also try to think of it as a way to provide more content to talk about. I hope they know that they are dearly loved and missed, and I will try my best to keep them in my noisy, busy occupied mind.


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