There are hundreds of situations in life that require letter writing – from personalized thank you notes and condolence letters to resume introductions and novel queries. Sometimes writing a letter doesn’t require a particular event or circumstance, you may just feel like saying hello to an old friend or you want to take a moment to remind someone special that they’re important to you.
Informal letters to friends and family are one of the easiest, as well as most enjoyable, types of letters to write. Aside from a few basic parts that are shared by all types of letters, there aren’t really any rules to remember when you write a letter to a friend – just be yourself and share your feelings!
Before you write an informal letter, you need to decide on a method of delivery. You may want to consider digital delivery via email or maybe you prefer a traditional handwritten letter delivered by regular postal mail. You could even hand deliver your letter if you’re writing to someone you see on a regular basis.
Taking the time to write a letter with pen and paper is a thoughtful sentiment that is greatly appreciated in today’s age of computers and text messages. If you have chosen this option, you can make your letter even more meaningful with stationary that reflects your personality or interests.
Tips for the Perfect Informal Letter
Whether you’re writing a friendly letter to your grandmother, a romantic note to your spouse, or telling a good friend that you’re thinking about her, the thing that will make your letter a success it to write like you are having a conversation with the recipient. Use informal language, the same way you would if you were talking to the person, and include questions that you would ask in a conversation as well. Most importantly, make sure your feelings are expressed through your words.
- Heading: A properly formatted letter would include your address in the upper right hand corner of your page, followed by the date. If you’re writing to a close friend or an immediate family member, the date alone will suffice. Hand delivered letters don’t necessarily require an address either, but if you expect a response, you may want to include a proper heading.
- Greeting: “Dear Name,” is the most common greeting used in informal letters, but there are dozens of variations that are acceptable. A romantic letter, for example, may begin with “My sweetest love,” or a fun letter to a friend may start out with something as simple as “Hey girlfriend,”. The best greeting for your letter will depend on your relationship with the recipient, your personality, and the tone and purpose of the correspondence. Remember that the greeting is placed on the upper left side, below the heading, and ends with a comma.
- Body: Typically in spaced paragraph format with the beginning of each paragraph indented, the body of your letter is where you write whatever it is you want to say. Remember to write in a conversational style with correct spelling and grammar.
- Closing: After the final paragraph of the body of your letter, the closing is placed in line with the heading and expresses a sentiment to the letter’s recipient. Some common closings include “Sincerely”, “Yours truly”, “Love”, “Your friend”, and “All the best”. Like the greeting, the best closing will depend on the tone of the letter and your relationship with the reader. The closing is also followed by a comma.
- Signature: Finally, end your letter by signing your name directly below the closing. Because this is an informal letter to a friend or family member, your first name or nickname should be sufficient.
Informal Letter Sample – To an Old College Roommate
I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since we graduated! How have you been? Did you get the job at Microsoft that you were hoping for? Right after school, I got a position with a local software developer here in Charleston and worked with them for a couple of years. I’m doing freelance work now and trying my hand at creating a game idea I’ve had for awhile. Can you believe it?? Me trying to make my own program! It’s been a real challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun!
Do you remember David? He and I went out once or twice back in college. I think he may have been in your psych class. Well, we started dating regularly right after I left Tech Programs – he’s from Charleston too – and guess what?? We’re engaged!!!! I am so excited! The wedding is set for next summer and I’m really hoping you’ll be able to make it out! Maybe you can plan to visit for a week before the wedding so we can catch up.
What about you? Anyone special in your life right now? Any kids yet? I’m hoping to have a couple, but I want to wait until we enjoy some newlywed time first.
I hope to hear from you soon! Let me know if you think you may be able to get out to Charleston next summer.
Talk to you soon,
Informal letters to friends and family can be written any time, for any reason. Remember to use everyday language, to engage the recipient with questions, and to express the way you feel through your words and your letter is sure to be a success.
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